Everywhere on radio, TV or Facebook, there are stories and links about Fred Meijer. Maybe you’ve seen or heard the stories. Maybe you’ve shopped in one his many stores. Maybe both.

And maybe hearing the stories has made you think “wow, he was a normal person that I probably would’ve gotten along with.”  Such was the case for my wife and I.  (We also are interested in his business background and stories of innovation, growth and treating people well, but that’s secondary.)

So we attended the public visitation today at Meijer Gardens.

Even if you had no first-hand knowledge of Fred Meijer, you can’t help but feel you know him after all the media coverage.  If the stories aren’t enough, seeing the pictures and video lining the way to his casket inevitably will make you feel as though you’re saying goodbye to a family member. You may even have a lump in your throat or even have to hold back tears at the visitation (which I did!).

Since Fred Meijer and my now-deceased grandpa were born just 4 years apart, I imagine Mr. Meijer is astounded at the number of people making a fuss about his death.  He just wanted to “leave the world in a little better shape then when I entered it.”

I think it’s safe to say that you have, Fred.  Raising a cone of Purple Cow Ice Cream in your honor…

We’ll miss you.