How Meijer Inspired The Creation Of Walmart

Frederick Meijer left a legacy of inspiration for everybody who knew him, including Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. While capitalistic ventures thrive on growth and expansion, some favor relationships and community above all. The Meijer brand was built on the latter, sacrificing the mega wealth that comes with proliferation for philanthropy, per Ozy. This is a testimony that big accomplishments need not always be arrogant, and vast wealth is not always ugly.

Meijer, the founding father of America's — and possibly the world's — first "supercenter” concept, dreamed it up with his father, Hendrik Meijer, planting the first seed in 1934 in the form of a little grocery store in Greenville, Michigan.

In 1949, two stores opened in Grand Rapids, and by 2021, the company had grown to 248 branches, accomplishing an outstanding exemplary status: 100% on the Corporate Equality Index as per the Human Rights Foundation's metric (via Meijer).

How Walmart was inspired by Meijer

Sam Walton started his empire differently; his original endeavor in this area was a Ben Franklin outlet in Arkansas in 1945, per WHO MI. Walton opened his first Walmart in 1962, and his original vision was to bring economically-priced products to small towns, according to Public Broadcasting Service.

Five years later, Walmart was still just a family endeavor but owned 24 outlets which was phenomenal growth for such a short period. By 1970, Sam Walton's brainchild deviated from the Meijer brand format significantly. It became a publicly tradable company, per Walmart. By 1972, the company had 38 stores and entered the New York Stock Exchange, says The Public Broadcasting Service. The second thing that happened in that decade was Sam Walton's historical attempt to acquire Meijer. Somehow Frederick Meijer knew the agenda of the call and snubbed it.

We cannot ignore the irony: Walton admitted looking to Meijer's "everything under one roof" template for inspiration, per WHO MI. In the words of executive chairman Hank Meyer for the company in 1962: " ... [It was] an opportunity to serve their customers better, by offering a great variety of merchandise all under one roof ... ." (via The Produce News).