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Emeritus co-authors book on retailer Fred Meijer

April 13, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University emeritus Dr. Larry ten Harmsel has co-authored a book recounting the life of pioneer retailer Fred Meijer, including anecdotes from a broad list of contributors ranging form former presidents and ambassadors to clerks at the checkout.

"Fred Meijer: Stories of His Life" is a collection of photos and anecdotes about the 89-year-old grocery entrepreneur who, with his father, Hendrik, turned one store in Greenville, Mich., into a chain of nearly 200 supercenters across the Midwest.

"I've always said it's all about the journey, not the destination," Meijer says. "This book does a great job describing my journey so far."

WMU's ten Harmsel, former dean of the Lee Honors College and now historian for the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, along with co-author Bill Smith, a retired Meijer vice president of marketing and advertising, spent several years talking with more than 150 people to capture anecdotes about Meijer, many told for the first time.

"Fred's innovation and creation of the supercenter concept was revolutionary," ten Harmsel says. "As a businessman and a community leader, he provides the ultimate example of tenacity and philanthropy, and our book tells the stories that reflect this man's life's work."

The book will be sold at all Meijer locations and online through Meijer.com for $7.99 for paperback and $11.99 for a hardcover edition that is only available in West Michigan.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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