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Meijer Super-Center opens in Stark County, but what does it mean for smaller stores?

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Posted at 10:18 PM, Apr 27, 2022

STARK COUNTY, Ohio — The shelves are stocked and the doors are almost open at Meijer Super Center in Jackson Township.

Wednesday evening the Michigan-based retailer had a soft opening of the store, located at 4866 Fulton Drive, for friends and family.

“All of the team members get to bring their families in and while we aren’t open they can really get around and take a look at the store,” said Marco Gomez, the store’s director.

He said it’s really a one-stop shop with everything you need from groceries to electronics, pet supplies, pharmaceuticals, plants, home goods and clothing.

“We are another option for the community. We just want to be a really good partner in the community and give Jackson Township another opportunity to shop,” he said.

Michael Goldberg is an associate professor of business at Case Western Reserve University. He said a new grocery store or super-center is a good thing for consumers in the North Canton area.

“A very good thing,” he said. “When the mega-stores, the Wal-Mart, the Target Super-centers come in, they’re able to buy products and distribute at such quantities and really drive prices lower.”

But the low price comes with a cost: smaller stores don’t fare well.

“The smaller the store that you are and the less buying power you have, the more challenging it is to pass on savings to customers,” he said. “Smaller kind of mom and pop grocery stores. I mean, those folks have had the most difficult time competing, particularly, the supply chain is brutal for them.”

And with the new Meijer opening its doors at 6 a.m. Thursday, competing retailers in the area are focusing their attention on the old K-Mart location in North Canton. North Canton leaders and Meijer are in negotiations for Meijer to buy that spot.

At North Canton’s City Council meeting on April 25, Acme’s president Nick Albrecht expressed his concerns about the deal. The old K-Mart is located on N. Main Street, right across the way from the Acme store.

“If the city of North Canton allows Meijer to construct a store, it will be detrimental to Acme as well as many other retailers including other Northeast Ohio retailers like Marc’s, Discount Drug Mart,” he said. “We will suffer the largest loss in sales because of our proximity to Meijer.”

According to the Stark County Auditor’s website, the land is owned by North Canton Community Improvement Corp.

Goldberg said there may be room for all of the competition in the North Canton area, but normally, the bigger stores with more resources and buying power sit at the top of the food chain.

“This is sort of the way the American economy works. I mean, people see an opportunity and come in with a new product or service and compete,” said Goldberg.