When Marlea Schumacher joined Meijer as a party store clerk at the Pierson Road store in Flint on Dec. 1, 1973, little did she know she had started a journey to a fulfilling career. She soon moved to working as a health and beauty clerk, and then as a back-up bookkeeper and cashier. In 1985, she then transferred to Waterford, Mich. in the West Detroit market.
Today, Marlea remains in the cashier role in Waterford, which she loves. She looks back on her 50 years with Meijer, sharing some special memories of her career, even a brush with Meijer fame:
When Fred Meijer visited the Waterford store decades ago, handing out his signature Purple Cow cards to team members, her colleagues were surprisingly more excited about the free ice cream than meeting the retail icon behind the cards.
“Do you know WHO that was?” she asked them, explaining they just met the company’s co-founder.
She chuckled at the memory.
Another special memory is when members of the leadership team came to her store in 2022 for a visit. The group included Executive Chairman Hank Meijer, current President & CEO Rick Keyes and former Presidents Paul Boyer and Earl Holton.
“It was a really engaging visit. They were very personable and took the time to talk to many team members that day,” remembered Marlea, who was congratulated for her nearly half century of service at the time. “I was very appreciative of the opportunity to spend time with them.”
Another highlight was experiencing the Ruby Ceremony for her 45-year anniversary. She cherishes the way she felt at that event and really appreciated the recognition. To this day, talking about the event still makes her emotional.
“Working with the customers is by far my favorite part, as well as the friendships I’ve built with customers and employees and the recognition I receive from both customers and Meijer,” Marlea said.
She credits her 50-year milestone to her work ethic of going the extra mile, being conscientious and always trying to be helpful.
Her biggest lesson 50 years later? “Be yourself. It's important to reflect on who you are in order to perform better every day.”
Congratulations, Marlea, for all that you’ve done at Meijer. We applaud your dedication and service over the last 50 years. What an incredible milestone.