GRAND RAPIDS, MI-Meijer plans to open five new stores by the end of this year and seven more by the end of 2008. In addition, the majority of the 178-store grocery chain will be renovated and two locations reconstructed.

To date this year, stores have opened Oswego, IL; DeWitt, MI and Allen Park, MI. In August, openings will be in Lennox Twp., MI and Colerain, OH. The 2008 openings are Birch Run, Clinton Twp. and Davison, MI; Grove City, Canal Winchester and Huber Heights, OH; and Urbana, IL.

The new stores are about 210,000 sf. The Allen Park store, which opened last month, is the first LEED-certified Meijer store, says a company spokeswoman. The building has a white roof to reflect heat and landscaping with indigenous plants and minimal grass. Construction included recycled and local building materials.

Meijer does not have any immediate plan to construct another LEED-certified store, but “all of our new stores have green or sustainable building practices,” the spokeswoman says.

Also next year, two new stores will be constructed beside existing ones that eventually will be razed in Grand Rapids and Battle Creek, MI. Meijer also is renovating all stores that are more than five years old, according to the spokeswoman. The cost of the portfolio’s repositioning and expansion isn’t being made public.

The company plans to continue to grow at a “reasonable” pace, the spokeswoman says, adding, “We want to provide additional opportunities to new customers or existing customers.”

Like other retailers, Meijer weighs many factors before deciding where to build, including if there has been a show of demand and demographics. “We see value in slow, steady and thoughtful growth,” she says.

Meijer opened its first store in Michigan in 1934. It presently has 178 stores in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.

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