McCORDSVILLE — It’s a development more than a decade in the making.

After delays from economic downturn and negotiations with residents and officials dating back some 10 years, the 192,000-square-foot Meijer superstore employing more than 300 people opened Tuesday to the fanfare of a local marching band and plenty of excited residents.

When store director Tim Snyder cracked the doors at 7 a.m., he was thrilled to see a line of curious citizens forming outside. Shoppers from Hancock County and nearby communities said they look forward to having another nearby option for groceries and other items. The superstore features a Starbucks and a Great Clips within its walls, in addition to a pharmacy, deli, bakery and a homegoods section with everything from automotive goods to pet supplies.

The Meijer gas station on the property opened April 6.

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Snyder said after eight weeks of preparations with the new staff members, everyone was excited to show off the new store to customers for Tuesday’s soft opening. Staffers handed out samples of muffins and coffee and offered prize drawings to customers streaming in the doors.

“This week is our chance for customers to see how fresh and full the store is,” Snyder said, adding the community is invited to events starting with Thursday’s grand opening and continuing through the following weeks, including an in-store picnic with free hotdogs and snacks Saturday and drawings for $500 shopping spree giveaways.

The soft opening on Tuesday brought plenty of prospective customers to the new store. Nancy Tanner, a Fortville resident, came to check out the supermarket’s offerings on her lunch break from the McCordsville Greenfield Banking Co., where she said her fellow employees are excited to have a Meijer so close by.

While some people were browsing, others were ready to shop.

Bonita Peterson of Oaklandon chose Tuesday to purchase fish from the new store’s pet section for her fish tank.

“I am happy to have another store besides the Wal-Mart down the street from me,” she said. “I’ll be coming here more; this is such a nice store.”

Peterson said she liked the setup of the store and that the clothing department offered garments in a variety of sizes.

Meijer, a privately owned company, operates more than 230 stores and employs some 65,000 people in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky, according to its website.

Locally, it’s been a long road to opening the superstore’s doors, officials said.

Developers from the Michigan-based business first met with the McCordsville Town Council in 2006 to pitch the plan, which was subsequently tailored to adhere to the town’s codes for development and make the big-box store appear smaller and fit into the surrounding community.

Town council members at the time expressed concerns about loading docks and loud truck noises disrupting the peace of adjacent neighborhoods, with residents saying they purchased homes in the area thinking they’d live next to a golf course, not a noisy supermarket. The town’s planning and zoning commission negotiated details to make the store less disruptive, including adding walls, berms and landscaping separating the superstore from neighborhoods.

The company purchased the 35-acre property at Broadway Street and Carroll Road, which formerly held a golf course and driving range, in 2006 but pulled plans to build the new store in 2007 during the economic downturn.

In 2015, officials announced plans to break ground on the 192,000-square foot store and gas station. The store received approval from the McCordsville Board of Zoning Appeals in November 2015 to operate 24 hours a day, marking the final go-ahead from officials.

The recently-completed construction also features three outlots available for lease to other companies. A nearby church, Living Streams Community Church, last year negotiated a $245,000 deal with the business in order to remain in its site on the property.

Residents shopping the aisles Tuesday looked forward to the future of the site.

Dave Beatson of Fortville said he’s glad to have a more local option for grocery shopping, adding that his family usually travels to Indianapolis or even Anderson for groceries.

He appreciated the friendliness of staff members in the new store and the cleanliness of the shelves in the brand-new business.

“They have just about everything,” he said.

Janet Carroll of Oaklandon usually shops at other Meijer locations, but this store is right around the corner for her, she said.

“I’ve been waiting and watching the construction a long time,” she said. “I like Meijer, and now, I don’t have to go so far.”

History of Meijer in Indiana

  • 1934: Hendrik Meijer opens the first Meijer store out of his barber shop in Greenville, Michigan
  • 1962: Meijer opens its first “Thrifty Acres,” the first one-stop-shop of its kind
  • 1994: Meijer opens its first store in Indiana
  • 2006: Developers announce plans to build a Meijer store on the 35-acre property at the McCordsville intersection of Broadway Street and Carroll Road, a former golf course
  • 2007: Plans are delayed with the economic downturn
  • 2015: Officials announce plans to break ground on the 192,000-square-foot store and gas station
  • 2017: In February, the company begins hiring and training new employees, announcing it expects to hire 300 people for the superstore and service station.
  • 2017: The McCordsville store opens May 2, the same day another superstore opens in Franklin, bringing the total of Meijer stores in Indiana to 38.

By the numbers

220: Meijer stores open in the United States

6: States have Meijer grocery stores

65,000: People employed by Meijer stores

38: Meijer stores in Indiana to date

300: People employed by the McCordsville Meijer location

 

If you go

As part of the grand opening celebration, Meijer will feature a variety of events on Thursday and in the coming week at the store, 6391 W. Broadway St., McCordsville.

May 4

  • Enter to win one of 10 $500 shopping sprees

  • 6 a.m. Thursday: First 200 customers will receive a gift card with a value of $5, $10 or $20

  • 6 a.m. May 5-11: First 500 customers will receive a free Meijer brand product

  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday: In-store community picnic with hot dogs, snacks, beverages and cookies

  • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday: First 500 customers will receive a free serving of Purple Cow ice cream and a coupon

  • 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday: Meijer Grand Taste food truck will serve samples in the parking lot

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.