Retailer counts down to ‘Force Friday’


"Chewbacca" stands alongside "Han Solo" in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Photo via

“The Force” will be strong with a retailer this fall.

We all have “that friend” who still dresses up for the theatrical release of their favorite fantasy or sci-fi film. And that level of dedication will now be behind Meijer’s new “Star Wars” makeover.

The Grand Rapids-based retail empire has big plans on how to both celebrate and profit from the Dec. 18 theatrical release of the hotly anticipated film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

In anticipation of Disney’s seventh installment in the epic space saga — no, the Ewok movies don’t count — Meijer will be offering a wide variety of grocery and merchandise items in honor of “Star Wars.”

At 12:01 a.m. this Friday, or "Force Friday," shoppers will find a large variety of new "Star Wars"-themed items in all of Meijer's 222 stores.

Meijer will also be hosting regional "Star Wars" Midnight Mania events at 12 of its stores in the region, including its Knapp’s Corner location in Grand Rapids and Jenison location. The day will also feature Taste of the Galaxy food stations that will offer “Star Wars”-themed recipes and samplings.

“We are thrilled our stores will help fans be among the first to get their hands on the all new assortment of 'Star Wars' merchandise,” said Peter Whitsett, EVP of merchandising and marketing, Meijer.

“’The Force’ is strong in our customers, so we’ll feature everything from toys and collectibles to apparel and houseware items.”

Whitsett also said “Star Wars” Blu-Rays, DVDs, books, gaming items, wall plaques and posters from the original film series will be available.

The new film, helmed by “Star Trek: Into The Darkness” director J.J. Abrams, will feature returning stars and fan favorites, Harrison Ford as “Han Solo,” Carrie Fisher as “Princess Leia” and Mark Hamill as “Luke Skywalker.”

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