Meijer Teams With Rockwell Group

    GRAND RAPIDS — Meijer is getting a makeover.

    The corporation announced last week that it has hired renowned New York City architect David Rockwell — known for his design of the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, the Cirque du Soleil theater in Walt Disney World and work on Comerica Park in Detroit —to give its newest stores a fresh look.

    Conceptual plans for the new design began nearly a year ago and plans are still in the development stages, but John Zimmerman, director of community relations for Meijer, said one thing is certain: The aim is to make the new stores easier to shop in.

    “The whole concept is to make it easier to find items within our store,” said Zimmerman. “We are working on the interior and the exterior. We know who our core shopper is and what we want to do is make it easier for our core shopper to shop there. And if she typically hasn’t been to our fashion area, how do we get her across that aisle from groceries to fashion? We evaluate the shopping process on a day-to-day basis and see what we can do to improve.”

    All existing Meijer stores will stay the same, said Zimmerman, but the new look will debut in Southfield at the Tel/12 development, which is located on Telegraph and 12 Mile Road.

    The former Kmart store on the site is being demolished, and once that is completed, the Meijer construction will begin with a target opening date of 2005.

    Zimmerman said the redesign is a natural progression for Meijer as it re-evaluates the shopping process and tries to simplify it. He pointed to examples such as the Starbucks at the Knapp’s Corner Meijer store and shopping carts with cup holders as enhancing the shopping experience.

    He added that he is looking forward to the creative work from Rockwell’s company, Rockwell Architecture, Planning and Design Group PC.

    In the new Southfield store, Zimmerman said attention will be paid to shelving, signage, lighting and layout of the store, and how it can have a better “flow.”

    “The new design of the Rockwell Group we hope will (result in) a lower cost on construction of the store and that is one of the things that attracted us to them, and that is one of the goals that we set forth with them in the beginning,” said Zimmerman. “With the increase of competition, how can we be as cost-efficient as possible while still providing everything that a Meijer store wants to provide? That is what we will be looking at.”           

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