All posts by Michelle Walma

Meijer Celebrates 80+ Successful Years

Meijer in Greenville, Michigan

One-Stop Shopping

Meijer is a pioneer of one-stop shop retail stores. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Meijer stores include large fresh produce and meat departments, general grocery departments, a bakery, deli, and pharmacy, apparel departments, home goods, a garden center, hardware and automotive departments, toys, sporting goods, pet supplies, electronics, and more. In addition, Meijer has a “Made in Michigan” section, carries a large selection of Michigan made wines and craft beers, and focuses on carrying higher quality items at affordable prices. All of these unique offerings have made Meijer a staple to consumers in the Midwest.

Innovative History

Meijer has a history of innovation. Some of the important milestones in the company’s long history include:


Hendrik Meijer along with his 14 year old son Fred Meijer, opened the first Meijer’s Grocery in the front of his barber shop in Greenville, Michigan to provide his customers with affordable groceries during the Great Depression. By 1936 the store had doubled in size.


Meijer is among the first stores to offer shopping carts, making the shopping process faster, easier, and more convenient for customers.


Meijer opened its 2nd store in downtown Cedar Springs, MI­­, which later closed in the 1960’s.  However, four decades later, Meijer returned to Cedar Springs in 2009 with the debut of a new, more efficient, one-stop shop store layout which carries groceries and a smaller selection of general merchandise.


Meijer introduces automated conveyor belts to checkout lanes to provide faster and better customer service.


On June 6, 1962 Meijer opened the nation’s first retail supercenter on 28th Street in Grand Rapids, MI called Meijer “Thrifty Acres”. The birth of this supercenter concept would later become a retail phenomenon.


Meijer celebrates its 50th anniversary as the original supercenter with a customer appreciation picnic in June 2012 at the 28th Street Meijer store.

Today Meijer is established in 6 states in the Midwest including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, with a total of over 200 retail locations.

Commitment to Family and Community

Excellent customer service and respect for team members are values that guided Hendrik Meijer more than 80 years ago when he opened the first Meijer store, and they remain a large part of the company’s core values throughout the years as it has evolved; from son Fred Meijer, to grandsons and co-chairmen Hank Meijer and Doug Meijer. Meijer’s core values are driven by:

  • Meeting customer needs and exceeding their expectations
  • Continuous innovation and improving to be better than the competition
  • Creating a family atmosphere and strengthening local communities
  • A focus on fresh food
  • Creating a safe and healthy environment for team members and offering healthy lifestyle products for customers

These values are demonstrated through excellent customer service, low prices, quality foods and large selections of local, national, and Meijer brand items. Meijer also supports many community events, and donates more than 6 percent of its profit to charities each year.

Meijer is more than just a supercenter. Meijer is a family-owned Michigan company that understands the importance of supporting local communities, and is committed to making the communities they serve better places to live, work and play. Join us in congratulating Meijer on a successful 80+ years!

Pyramid Scheme Bar Celebrates A Rockin’ 5 Years!

The Pyramid Scheme is a popular neighborhood bar, alternative music venue, and pinball arcade, located in Grand Rapids’ downtown Heartside district. It was born out of the realization that there was a need for a mid-size concert venue in the downtown area. The idea was to create a unique atmosphere, mixing art and music, capitalizing on the ideal ­location of the venue. The Pyramid Scheme is situated on Commerce Street, near Division Avenue (The Avenue for the Arts) which is known for its art venues, and is also near Ionia and the Van Andel Arena, so it is able to draw both crowds. It has become a place for the artists, musicians, and locals. The key to the Pyramids Scheme’s success, in addition to bringing in top alternative music acts 2-3 nights a week, has been developing a loyal crowd that will visit the bar even when there’s no live band playing.

In order to get a better understanding of The Pyramid Scheme, it’s important to take a moment to mention the co-owners and their positive involvement in local community. The venue is co-owned by successful local entrepreneurs Mark Sellers, Jeff VandenBerg, and Tami VandenBerg. Each brings a unique blend of talents to the popular bar and music venue. Sellers owns two other immensely popular Grand Rapids bars: HopCat and Stella’s Lounge. The VandenBerg siblings are co-owners of the Meanwhile Bar, also in downtown Grand Rapids, which emphasizes local brews and is known for its positive involvement in the local community. Jeff VandenBerg is also an artist and music promoter who founded Friction Records and is a founding member of the Division Avenue Arts Collective (DAAC). The DAAC is a non-profit that hosts music, art exhibitions, creative workshops, lectures, film screenings, and other performances – all entirely programmed and run by volunteers and the help of the community. Tami VandenBerg also runs the Well House, a nonprofit that provides housing for people who are homeless.

Anniversary Celebration

The Pyramid Scheme is celebrating their anniversary with a weekend of special shows in April. The Pyramid Scheme’s 5 Year Anniversary Show Pt. 1 is on Friday April 22nd and features the bands: Heavier Than Air Flying Machines, Lady Ace Boogie, Man At Arms, and Coffin Problem. Tickets are $10 in advance.

The Pyramid Scheme’s 5 Year Anniversary Show Pt. 2 is on Saturday April 23rd and features the bands Shiner, Mutoid Man, and Child Bite. The band Shiner is re-uniting for this show. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show- get your tickets early because this performance is certain to sell out! As always, shows are 21 and up. For more information, please visit the Pyramid Scheme Bar’s website.

Please join us in congratulating the Pyramid Scheme on a rockin’ 5 years!

Frederick Meijer Gardens Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a world renowned horticulture and sculpture park located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The original concept of the park was created by the West Michigan Horticulture Society. However, the society needed financial backing to make the dream become a reality. Fred and Lena Meijer embraced the idea, and after 13 years of planning, the Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened to the public in 1995. Today, Meijer Gardens hosts more than 600,000 visitors annually, and has been ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by the Art Newspaper.

Throughout the years, Frederick Meijer Gardens has grown exponentially to include the following areas:
• Sculpture Park
• Featured Art Exhibitions
• Horticulture Gardens
o Carnivorous Plants
o Arid Garden
o Woodland Shade Garden
o Perennial and Bulb Garden
• Tropical Conservatory
• Japanese Garden
• Children’s Garden
• Michigan Farm Garden
• Butterflies Are Blooming
• Amphitheater
• Holiday Exhibitions

The Sculpture Park contains more than 50 sculptures from artists worldwide, and is one of the largest collections of outdoor sculptures in the nation. Follow the pathways along the manicured lawns, grassy meadows, and tranquil ponds while viewing the sculptures. The current featured art exhibition showcases five large-scale steel sculptures by Bernar Venet, and can be viewed through October.

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The Horticulture Gardens feature plants from around the world and represent various regions and climates such as arid deserts, woodlands, and tropical rain forests. Plants are selected for year-round interest and each garden is unique, educational, and a natural work of art. The Tropical Conservatory also features the Butterflies Are Blooming Exhibit each spring from March 1 to April 30. It features tropical butterflies from around the world. There are 7000 butterflies and 50 species throughout the exhibition. It’s the largest temporary butterfly exhibit in the nation.


The Childrens Garden is both fun and educational. It encourages interaction and invites children to learn and explore. There are numerous activities including digging for fossils in the Rock Quarry, climbing around in the Treehouse Village, listening to a story or watching a puppet show in the Storytelling Garden, navigating and solving the Butterfly Maze, and more. There’s plenty of family friendly fun for everyone.

Newly opened this summer is the Japanese Gardens. These beautiful gardens were crafted to capture the essence of a traditional Japanese garden, and were designed with tranquility in mind. The gardens feature an authentic Japanese teahouse, a Zen garden, ponds and waterfalls, sculptures, a bonsai tree display, and beautiful plants such as bamboo, Japanese maples, and Japanese flowering cherry trees.

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In addition to gardens and sculptures, Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park features an outdoor amphitheater and hosts a summer concert series featuring both local and world renowned musicians and bands.

In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park has a calendar of spectacular events planned throughout the year. They also held a special 20th anniversary concert featuring 17-time Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett.

The Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is always growing and always changing. Whether it be with new plants and flowers in bloom, the addition of art or displays, annual displays such as Art Prize, Butterflies are Blooming, or Christmas Traditions Around the World, there is always something new and exciting to experience. For more information, please visit their website at

Please join us in congratulating Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on their 20th anniversary!

Mac Wood’s Dune Rides Celebrates 85 Years!

Mac Woods Dune Rides 85th yearThe Mac Wood’s Dune Rides were started by Mac Woods in 1930, as a way to entertain guests staying at his lodge. Soon, neighbors and visitors alike were encouraging him to make it a business.  Mac Wood’s Dune Rides have been providing safe, fun-filled, educational dune rides to the public ever since. Today, they are one of Michigan’s leading tourist attractions, with thousands of visitors experiencing the dune rides each year.

Growing up in West Michigan, I had always heard about Silver Lake and the dunes. However, until recently, I had never been.  I thought the only way to access the dunes was to have your own 4×4 vehicle.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the Mac Wood’s Dune Rides. I highly recommend taking this tour.  It really is the best way to see and experience the dunes.  They have access to areas of the sand dunes that aren’t accessible any other way- other than hiking.  This allows visitors to experience the dunes natural beauty.

Visitors climb aboard a 20-passenger “dune scooter” which is modified with aircraft tires, allowing for precise control out on the dunes. Be sure to buckle your seatbelt and hold on to your hat! The tour itself is about 7 miles long and lasts about 40 minutes. Our guide was very knowledgeable and good at mixing history and information with humor, making for a very entertaining ride. During the tour you’ll see the diverse eco-culture of the dunes, with breathtaking views of Silver Lake and Lake Michigan, all while experiencing a thrilling dune ride.

So, the next time you’re up for a day trip or find yourself visiting the Silver Lake area, I highly recommend experiencing the Mac Wood’s Dune Rides. Please visit their website for more information.

Please join us in congratulating Mac Wood’s Dune Rides on a successful 85 years!

Dairy Queen Celebrates 75 Years

dairy-queen-signThe history of Dairy Queen® began with a unique soft serve recipe whose popularity created an industry. John Fremont McCullough and his son Bradley created the unique soft serve recipe in 1938 and convinced family friend Sheb Noble to try it out in his ice cream shop. The first day, he dished out more than 1,600 servings of the dairy delight, and they knew they had a hit.  Two years later, the first Dairy Queen® opened in Joliet, Illinois on June 22, 1940. Sadly, the original restaurant closed in the 1950’s but by then Dairy Queen’s popularity was exploding, franchising was becoming popular, and there were already well over 1,500 locations nationwide. Today, Dairy Queen® continues to grow, has over 6000 locations worldwide, and is standing strong as one of the most popular fast food restaurants. Their new slogan is: “We make Fan Food. Not fast food”.

Dairy Queen® is perhaps most well known for their signature soft serve vanilla ice cream, which is used in many of their ice cream treats including the iconic Blizzard®. Additional DQ® favorites include the Dilly® Bar, Buster Bar®, DQ® Sandwich, Orange Julius® fruit smoothies, and more recently the MooLatte® Frozen Coffee drinks.

However, Dairy Queen® is so much more than just a restaurant.  They have become a symbol of small town America.  They are often a pillar of social life in small towns- where you will find kids’ birthday parties, families spending time together, teens to hanging out, and couples on a date night.

DQ BlizzardIn honor of their 75th Anniversary, Dairy Queen® announced the Birthday Cake Oreo Blizzard® treat as the Blizzard of the Month flavor for January.

Also in celebration of their 75th anniversary, on March 16, 2015 which is the 75th day of the calendar year, participating Dairy Queen® and DQ Grill & Chill® locations served customers a free small vanilla soft-serve cone with the signature curl on top. Dairy Queen® will be accepting donations for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®

For information on upcoming Anniversary events and delicious innovative treats this year, we recommend following Dairy Queen® on Facebook, or by visiting their website at

Please join us in congratulating Dairy Queen® on a successful 75 years!

50 Years Fresh: Tim Hortons Celebrates Golden Anniversary

It was a scene straight from the 1960s, with all the trappings: jazz, vintage cars, and a classic donut shop. In fact, if you had been in downtown Toronto last spring, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped back in time:

Tim Hortons, 1964
Tim Hortons, 1964

Tim Hortons 50th Anniversary, Toronto
Tim Hortons 50th Anniversary, Toronto







And that was exactly the intent, as iconic restaurant chain Tim Hortons celebrated 50 years of success (or, more appropriately, “donut domination”). Employees dressed in 60’s era clothing and the original uniforms, handing out complimentary birthday donuts to passerby.

Luck…and Donuts

How did a humble donut shop in Hamilton, Ontario become a household name, with over 4,000 locations across Canada and the U.S.? Well, it helps to have a famous co-founder. Named after Toronto Maple Leafs hockey great Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton, the restaurant opened  just a few weeks after Horton and the Maple Leafs won the coveted 1964 Stanley Cup.

But an auspicious start was just part of the story. Tim Hortons earned staying power by being the best at the basics. Its coffee, always served within 20 minutes of brewing, has become the stuff of legend. And its signature Timbits (otherwise known as donut holes), became instant crowd pleasers after their mid-1970s debut.

The Taste Test

Clearly, this chain warranted a taste test, and I felt up for the challenge (spoiler alert: Tim Hortons’ passed with flying colors). I visited the Greenville, Michigan location and was pleasantly surprised to discover that beyond just donuts, they offered classic sandwiches and paninis.

I ordered a lunch combo that included a panini sandwich, drink, and choice of chips or fresh bakery item. Rather than getting chips with the combo, I indulged in a pumpkin spice muffin.  And of course, I had to try a small order of assorted Timbits. The verdict? I have to say that Tim Hortons wins my vote for “fast food”, and being able to pair a fresh bakery item with a sandwich (rather than other fast food restaurants’ greasy fries) is brilliant.

Celebrating All Year

In addition to the celebration in Toronto, Tim Hortons extended its birthday celebration to all of its 4,000+ stores. Customers savored free birthday cake donuts, and loyal fans were able to purchase one-of-a-kind 50th anniversary travel mugs and reusable beverage cups. All year long, Tim Hortons beverages were served in cups featuring the 50th anniversary logo, along with the take-out boxes and bags.

Tim Hortons also held a “Dueling Donuts” challenge, encouraging customers to create and enter their own donut into a contest to win $10,000 and have their donut added to the Tim Hortons menu. The winning donut? Love REESE’S® To Pieces, featuring chocolate frosting and pieces of REESE’s candy sprinkled on top.

Please join us in congratulating Tim Hortons on a successful 50 years of donut domination!

House of Flavors Celebrates 66 Years

House of Flavors HistoryHouse of Flavors Sign

Park Dairy’s House of Flavors is one of Michigan’s original ice cream manufacturers, as well as an ice cream parlor and restaurant. They are independently owned and operated by the Neal family. Bob Neal Sr. purchased 50% of Miller Dairy in Ludington, MI in 1948. Miller Dairy was then renamed Park Dairy.  Today, the company is run by Bob Neal Jr. and his son Barry Neal.

House of Flavors Today

Park Dairy’s House of Flavors is Michigan’s largest ice cream manufacturer under one roof, as well as Michigan’s biggest private label ice cream manufacturer.  House of Flavors produces over 2 million gallons of ice cream per month, and creates over 3400 different ice cream recipes for customers world-wide.

Claim to Fame

House of Flavors’ claim to ice cream fame is creating the Midwest favorite:  Blue Moon ice cream. They began making this signature flavor in 1935, when House of Flavors was then Miller Dairy. Today, the Blue Moon ice cream ingredients remain a secret, but the flavor is deliciously distinct and iconic.

Ice Cream Parlors / RestaurantsHouse of Flavors Decor

House of Flavors also has 2 ice cream parlor / restaurant locations. The original location is in Ludington, MI, right in front of the ice cream factory; the second location is in Manistee, MI along the Riverwalk.  The parlors have a 50’s diner theme, and the décor includes a jukebox, retro bar stools, and record albums covering the walls and ceiling.  Their goal is to “bring back family style dining the way it was intended, by providing quality meals and desserts, a fun family style environment, and superior service”.  They specialize in roast turkey, specialty sandwiches, and homemade soups, in addition to their delicious ice cream.


House of Flavors is commemorating their 66th anniversary with a banner hanging in their restaurant as well as with staff t-shirts marking this important milestone.  And, starting in mid-October and running for a limited time, they will be giving diners a free scoop of ice cream with a meal purchase as a way to say “thank you”.

Join us in congratulating House of Flavors on a deliciously successful 66 years, and be sure to stop by on your next visit to Ludington or Manistee, Michigan!

Beltline Bar Celebrates 60 Years

Beltline Bar


The original Beltline Bar was founded by George Wilkinson in 1953. In the beginning, the restaurant served popcorn, beverages, and chili dogs, which were the house specialty at the time.  Then, in 1964, Tony Rutkowski acquired the restaurant, and his son Jerry developed many of the secret recipes for today’s Mexican specialties.  As a result, the Beltline Bar became the Beltline Bar Famous Mexican Café.



Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan the Beltline Beltline Bar LunchBar is likely the most well-known Mexican restaurant in all of West Michigan. It has become famous for its wet burritos and margaritas, winning multiple awards throughout the years. In addition to burritos, the Beltline Bar carries an array of delicious appetizers, salads, sizzling fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, chimichangas, house favorites, burgers and wraps, and desserts.


This summer the Beltline Bar is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday you can get a “Famous Wet Burrito” and draft beer for only $7.99.

In addition, the Beltline Bar is participating in the 4GR8 Beltline Bar Drink2014 Passport – Eat Local Challenge. The Passport Challenge features restaurants which are locally based, Michigan owned and operated, and strive to support local suppliers and local food growers. The challenge is simply to dine at the local restaurants and receive a stamp in your passport when you spend at least $10. You can then redeem the stamped passport for gift certificates.

  • $10 gift certificate for redeeming 3 stamps
  • $25 gift certificate for redeeming 6 stamps
  • $50 gift certificate for redeeming 9 stamps.

You can double the value of your gift certificate by redeeming a catering stamp which is earned by having one of the participating restaurants cater your event.

Beltline Bar Chimi Cheesecake DessertLastly, this summer the Beltline Bar is partnering with WOOD Radio for “Burrito Tuesday”; to nominate a friend or co-worker to be a “Beltline Bar Burrito Buddy of the Week”.  Winners are announced every Tuesday morning between 5am-9am, and will receive a $25 gift certificate to the Beltline Bar.

Please join us in congratulating the Beltline Bar on a deliciously successful 60 years!