STOW — The Meijer grocery and retail store on Route 59 in Stow will open for business at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

"We expect a big crowd," says Joseph Hirschmugl, Meijer’s public relations manager.

Company leadership and local dignitaries will mark the store’s first day of business with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. As part of the celebration for the store’s opening, the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer will make donations to local organizations. Hirschmugl promises more details about the donations on Tuesday.

The new store, located at 4303 Kent Road, will be the 40th Meijer has opened in Ohio since 1981. The retailer operates more than 240 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

Company officials have said the 192,000-square-foot outlet, located in the Stow-Kent Shopping Center, will employ about 250 workers. The space was formerly home to a Stambaugh store and other smaller retail outlets.

The store will feature fresh produce, meat and dairy delivered seven days a week, and a bakery offering bread and other items baked four times daily. It also will feature a pharmacy offering the company’s free prescription program. This includes leading oral generic antibiotics with a special focus on prescriptions most often filled for children, as well as prenatal vitamins and medications for those with diabetes and high cholesterol.

The retailer is also opening stores in Avon and Mentor on the same day.

"The city of Stow is looking forward to welcoming Meijer to our great city," Mayor John Pribonic says. "Meijer is known as a great community partner and we are looking forward to working with them in future endeavors."

BACKGROUND

Both Stow’s planning commission and City Council approved a site plan in November 2014 for a 193,000-square-foot Meijer store at the plaza’s rear west side, as well as a 10-pump service station with a 2,500-square-foot convenience store in front, by Route 59, on the site of a Wendy’s restaurant.

Meijer completed the purchase of its portion of the plaza from Stow-Kent Associates for nearly $3.79 million in December 2016, according to Summit County property records.

In early May 2017, Stow City Council approved Meijer’s site plan and then later that month a revised plan reducing the size of the store from 192,940 square feet that was approved in 2014 to 159,253 square feet.

The revised plan also eliminated a Meijer service station that had been proposed on the on the site of a Wendy’s restaurant by state Route 59. Wendy’s restaurant exercised lease options that allowed it to remain in the site for up to another 10 years, according to Rob Risman, a principal with Stow-Kent Associates.

During 2017, Meijer completed various utility coordination projects related to the relocation or upgrade of water, sewer, gas and storm water lines which are all located underground. In April 2018, a 55,000-square-foot portion of the plaza which was occupied by a Big Lots store and four small vacant shops was demolished to make way for additional parking space for Meijer. About 89,500 square feet of vacant space at the rear of the plaza had been demolished previously.

Stow-Kent Associates still owns a portion of the plaza closest to the road, the Wendy’s restaurant and the Macy’s department store property just east of the Meijer site.