Frederik Gerhard Hendrik Meijer was born in Greenville MIchigan on December 7, 1919. The son of Dutch immigrants Frederik worked with his father Hendrik and founded Meijer Grocery in Greenville Michigan in the year 1934 at the age of 14. Along with his father, he launched Meijer Thrifty Acres in 1962. He inherited the company in 1964 after his father’s death. Handing over the company to his sons, Frederick remained chairman of the board until his death in 2011.
Approached by the West Michigan Horticultural Society in 1990 about donating a portion of land owned by Meijer, Inc. 70.7 acres of land in Grand Rapids Township was donated in 1991 for the Gardens site. At the same time, Meijer and his wife donated their entire sculpture collection to the Project. “The Michigan Botanic Garden” as it was called was renamed Frederik Meijer Gardens after it’s major benefactor. Meijer Gardens is currently the second most-popular cultural destination in Michigan.
The 158 acre botanical gardens and sculpture park is located in Grand Rapids township which is part of Kent County in western Michigan. In May of 2009 it was listed as one of the top 30 “must see museums” in the world. Main attractions include a new 22 million dollar Japanese Garden.
Meijer Gardens is just a very cool place to visit and one that should be part of everyone’s bucket list of places to see while in Michigan.