MARQUETTE — “Superior Shores, Meijer Yours.”

Marquette’s Meijer opened this morning after months of preparation. The 195,000 square foot supercenter welcomed its first customers with over 300,000 items – from produce to clothes – proving that they can be more than just a retailer.

For employees and patrons alike, it’s been a long time coming.

“We started opening stores in the U.P., and probably the biggest question we were getting in the Sault and Escanaba was when we are coming to Marquette,” said Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes. “So we knew this was going to be a homerun when we came to the Marquette area.”

“I’ve had a lot of questions over the last several weeks or months: ‘when are you going to open?’ Well today’s that day,” said Store Director John Spaulding.

“I think it’s really going to go over well. It’s huge, lots of options. It’s something Marquette’s needed for a long time,” said Julie Green, one of Meijer’s first customers.

The grand opening was celebrated with a ribbon cutting, where Meijer continued to demonstrate their commitment to the community. A $25,000 donation to The Beacon House was their latest act of generosity.

“We’re a family-run company,” said Keyes. “Being part of the community, being a good neighbor is just part of who we are.”

“We want to give back to our community,” said Spaulding. “We want to make the places that we operate in better places.”

For Meijer, the competition, with Wal-Mart and Target both a stones-throw away, is something the organization can thrive on.

“It keeps you alive, it keeps you excited, it keeps you moving,” said Spaulding. “We embrace it. We’re not afraid to put our buildings across from anybody, because we know we can do it, and do it right.”

All in all, things seem bright for the Michigan-based company. And maybe the Queen City isn’t the last stop in Meijer’s expansion.

“Hopefully we’re bringing something to Marquette that adds to the quality of life in the U.P., so we couldn’t be happier to come to Marquette,” said Keyes.