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Monday, March 18,2013

Meijer free publication controversy

Racks will stay another two weeks, sources say

by City Pulse Staff

Meijer will delay removing its free publication racks from the Lansing market until March 15, sources have told City Pulse.

The racks were scheduled to be removed next week from all 199 Meijer stores in five states. But Dominion Distribution, which owns the racks and rents space in Meijer stores, received word from Meijer on Wednesday to delay picking them up in the Lansing and Detroit areas, the sources said. Dominion, a Virginia company, said numerous complaints about terminating the racks in Lansing led to the decision, according to sources.

Meijer’s vice president for public affairs, Stacie Behler, was not immediately available for comment. “Meijer has made a corporate decision to remove all of the racks in order to maintain a clean, consistent look in the front of our stores, which was not currently the case in most of our stores. Our decision is no reflection on City Pulse or any other specific publication and was not based upon labor issues,” Behler said in a statement last week.

City Pulse, a free distribution weekly newspaper that is in all eight Meijer stores in the Lansing area, has led an effort to convince Meijer not to remove the racks. City Pulse is one of at least a half-dozen publications that pay for space on them. Some 3,000 readers a week pick up copies of City Pulse at Meijer, according to the newspaper.

“My guess is the hundreds of readers and public officials who have contacted Meijer are beginning to get across their message that the stores are truly important hubs of community information,” Schwartz said.

The Lansing City Council passed a resolution asking Meijer to reconsider. The Ingham County Board of Commission is considering a similar resolution. Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope, Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing and Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann have written letters. City Pulse carries most of the public notices for the cities of Lansing and East Lansing and for county government.

“I hope this means Meijer is reconsidering its decision and that it will leave the racks there,” he added. “It remains very important that the public continue to let Meijer know how it feels.”

The public can email Meijer at Stacie.behler@meijer.com or call store managers. The current issue of City Pulse contains a flier with more detailed information. The flier itself can be signed and given to store managers. There is also an online petition at www.lansingcitypulse.com and www.change.org.

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