Meijer unveils advertising even though no stores open here yet

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- When the first pitch is thrown next Monday, March 31st at Miller Park and the Brewers begin their 2014 season, a new business will be making its first big pitch for customers. Meijer is sponsoring the team in 2014, even though it has yet to open any stores in Wisconsin. That's because Meijer has big plans here.

Meijer has taken out an ad in Miller Park's outfield even though the company hasn't opened a store in Wisconsin -- yet.

For those unfamiliar with Meijer, it is a mega store with a large grocery section that also sells furniture, clothing and other home goods. It has several stores in the Midwest -- in states like Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.

Alderman Jeff Roznowski showed a FOX6 News crew the Burleigh location in Wauwatosa on Tuesday, March 25th.

"This will be, as I understand, one of their first three stores in the Milwaukee metro area," Roznowski said.

Meijer has plans for a 150,000 square foot store in Wauwatosa.

"I think the Meijer name throughout Wisconsin is going to have the recognition that perhaps a Sendik's has and Pick n' Save has," Roznowski said.

Construction is well underway on a Meijer distribution center in Pleasant Prairie.

Next year, stores will open in Grafton, Oak Creek and Wauwatosa.

Meijer stores are also in the works for Sussex, Waukesha, Greenfield and Janesville.

Milwaukee Business Journal reporter Sean Ryan says Meijer is planning a big roll-out in Wisconsin that includes a lot of advertising.

"For more than a year, Meijer has been laying a lot of the ground work for multiple locations. They've said they can probably fit up to a dozen in the market. As a new retailer in the area, they have to get their name out there," Ryan said.

Sponsoring the Milwaukee Brewers does just that.

Meijer's Senior Director of Communications Frank Guglielmi issued the following statement to FOX6 News:

“Although our first Wisconsin store won’t be opening its doors until 2015, we feel it’s never too soon to be a good neighbor. In addition to our philanthropic efforts, such as the support of local food banks, Meijer is also an active supporter of sports teams in many of the cities where we have stores. We’re happy to continue that support here in Milwaukee and are pleased to announce our sponsorship of the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2014 season.

We’ve been learning a lot about Wisconsin, and we’ve come to understand that the Brewers are part of the fabric of the Milwaukee community and that the team’s fan base is extremely loyal. We’re excited to be involved with the Milwaukee community and hope to make its citizens loyal fans of Meijer as well.”