Woodward Corner Market, one of three small-format concepts for Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer, opened Jan. 29, 2020, in the Royal Oak community of metro Detroit—just a few short weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the nation.
“When we opened our doors a year ago, we promised to meet the community’s needs. We just didn’t realize the challenges 2020 would bring at the time,” Woodward Corner Market Store Manager Natalie Rubino said in a release.
Those challenges included making grocery shopping convenient for customers avoiding stores for safety reasons, as well as keeping shelves stocked amid heightened demand for supply.
Woodward acted fast and offered grocery delivery through Shipt for those who didn’t want to shop in-store. Meanwhile, it increased its assortment of locally-made or sourced products by 60% over the past year, adding Mr. Leslie’s Cheesecakes, Metamora Greens, Riker’s Dog Treats, Mab’s Atomic Mustard and more to its lineup.
Other ways Woodward served the community during this trying time, include:
- Hosting a food truck at Beaumont Hospital every weekday in April, where hospital employees could receive free drinks and snacks.
- Launching the Meijer mPerks savings program in April to help customers save. To date, mPerks digital coupons are applied to 30% of the store’s transactions, the retailer said.
- Establishing a partnership with local restaurants, including Zeoli’s Italian, Bobcat Bonnies and Garden State Chef, in the summer to offer ready-made meals through the Woodward To Go program. The Woodward store also supported the struggling restaurant industry by frequently purchasing meals from local establishments for the store’s team members during their shifts.
- Launching the Flashfood program in October, which allows customers to purchase food nearing its sell-by date, such as meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products, at up to 50% off on the Flashfood app for pickup in-store.
“I am so incredibly proud of my team for banding together to overcome them to support our community the way we did,” Rubino said. “In the words of Fred Meijer, ‘Our customers don’t need us, we need them,’ and 2020 marked a year where we all needed to work together to weather the storm. These efforts were just a small way to say ‘thank you.’ ”
Woodward Corner Market is focused on bringing customers a mix of fresh, local and convenient food at low prices. It was the first store Meijer opened without using single-use plastic or paper bags at checkout. Meijer’s other small-format concepts include Bridge Street Market, located in its hometown of Grand Rapids.
Woodward Corner Market opened Jan. 29 in the Woodward Corners by Beaumont commercial development in Royal Oak, Mich., marking the first small-format store opened by Meijer in metropolitan Detroit. The Michigan-based chain also operates the small-format Bridge Street Market.
The 41,000-square-foot store offers a wide assortment of fresh and prepared foods as well as open-air elements, with 25-foot ceilings and a pedestrian-friendly design, near the Beaumont Hospital campus.
The market is focused on bringing customers a mix of fresh, local and convenient food at low prices, store manager Natalie Rubino said. The selection includes an estimated 2,000 local artisan items, including Daily Dozen Doughnuts, New York Bagel and Bath Savvy Soaps.
“We’ve been looking forward to offering our new, local grocery store for quite some time,” Rubino said. “Woodward Corner Market is unique, and our team has been hard at work to ensure we have the best products on our shelves to meet the community’s needs.”
The store is focused on sustainability and does not offer single-use plastic or paper bags at checkout, instead offering only sustainable bag alternatives that are made to be reused up to 125 times.
“Meijer is committed to lessening our impact on the environment, and we saw an opportunity to reinforce that commitment by not offering traditional single-use plastic bags from day one at Woodward Corner Market,” Rubino said when the move to sustainable bags was announced. “We understand this is not a common practice, but we believe this is the right move for this community and our customers.”
The market’s first day of business featured a ribbon-cutting event with comments from Rubino, Executive Chairman Hank Meijer, Royal Oak City Commissioner Patricia Paruch and Beaumont Health Chief Operating Officer Carolyn Wilson. The market also demonstrated its commitment to the community by awarding $5,000 donations to three community organizations: Yad Ezra, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the Royal Oak Youth Assistance.
“At Meijer, we are committed to being a good neighbor,” Hank Meijer said. “We are excited to join the innovative Woodward Corners by Beaumont commercial development and share our newest fresh market with the community.”
Woodward Corners focuses on fresh with offerings that include bakery items, fresh meat and deli offerings, plus Meijer and national brand products. It hosts a Great Lakes Coffee coffee shop that specializes in nitro brews; an extensive beer, wine and liquor counter; and an expansive international food aisle with eight ethnic backgrounds, including Middle Eastern, kosher, Hispanic, European and Asian foods.