Sandy, The Meijer Penny Pony
Sandy, The Meijer Penny Pony
Sandy, The Meijer Penny Pony


Comments and Tags

Customers leave pennies on the stand for children to ride it, just as they once did. My children rode Sandy, just as my grandchildren ride Sandy after the shopping at the Meijer stores. Randall Kooyers, 6/3/2021


Collection Tier:
Tier 3

Sandy, The Meijer Penny Pony

Identifier:
2011.11.2
Description:
Mechanical horse, brown with black leather saddle, bridle, stirrups, and reins. Attached coin box for pennies to operate horse.;Sandy the penny pony has been giving rides to children at Meijer stores since 1962. The beloved mechanical horse is just one example of how the Grand Rapids-based retailer has forged important connections with its customers and within its community. The Grand Rapids Public Museum collected this modern version of Sandy (an older model from c. 1980 is currently on loan to the Museum) in 2011 in order to preserve this important piece of local history for generations to come. Artifacts like Sandy represent a crucial part of the shared experience that helps create a sense of community here in West Michigan. Instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever visited a Meijer store, Sandy will continue to gallop through the halls of her hometown Museum, and will help tell the story of the little grocery store from Greenville, Michigan that became a multi-billion dollar business.

For many kids in Michigan and the Midwest, riding the penny pony at Meijer is a shopping tradition.  For adults, these rides exist in childhood memories.  Penny pony rides were introduced into Meijer stores around 1962, at the same time the company pioneered another concept at the Fuller Avenue and 28th Street location: “Thrifty Acres,” the combination of supermarket and discount store under one roof.  While other chains offered rides for a dime or even a quarter, rides on Sandy cost just a penny, making them affordable for all families. Although their appearance underwent a change in 2008, more than 500 mechanical pony rides operate today at Meijer stores in five states.
Date:
circa 2008
Materials:
Metal, Plastic, Leather
Dimensions:
5" h 67" w 28" d
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Source:
Gift Of Meijer Inc.
Rights:

Makers/Donors
Meijer Inc.
Hendrik Meijer emigrated from the Netherlands to the U.S. in 1907 to start a new life.  Five years later he settled in Greenville, Michigan, with his wife Gezina.  Children Johanna and Fred were born in 1916 and 1919.  In 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, 50-year old Hendrik took the risk of transitioning from barber to grocer. The Meijers built their family-owned enterprise on values that allowed them to grow in a competitive industry: putting customers first, offering quality food at an affordable price, and driving innovation.  The “North Side Grocery” was changed to “Thrift Market” in 1935, to reflect the family’s emphasis on offering their customers the best value for their money. When they opened a second store in Cedar Springs, Michigan in 1942, they used the name “Meijer’s Super Market” to reflect the emerging retail trend toward larger grocery stores and to brand the store with their family’s identity.

By the 1950s, one grocery had become a chain of 10 supermarkets across West Michigan. The Meijers changed the company name and logo again, to “Meijer Supermarkets”. But their greatest achievement was yet to come.  They transformed the landscape of retail marketing in 1962 with the unique combination of food and general merchandise in one discount department store. The pioneering “supercenter” (a term applied in later years), Thrifty Acres, was born, establishing the lasting legacy of Meijer Inc. as one of the nation’s most progressive grocers.

Thrifty Acres uniquely combined singular ownership with extensive offerings of food and non-food merchandise alike, an emphasis on customer self-service, and highly competitive pricing. When interviewed in December 1961 by Supermarket Merchandising magazine on expansive plans for Thrifty Acres, Hendrik would tell the reporter, “Our move in this direction was strengthened during the past year by the public’s overwhelming acceptance of no-stamp, low-overhead style of merchandising. You might say that our first step was to become a discount house for groceries.”  Mens’, womens’ and childrens’ clothing represented some of the new departments at Thrifty Acres in 1962 along with jewelry, sporting goods, shoes, small appliances, hardware, records, toys, pet care, and a full-fledged pharmacy.  Sandy the Pony, the popular 1-penny, coin-operated ride still found in Meijer stores today, was also introduced in 1962. The Meijer centered revolution in retail had begun – soon to be added to the growing chain.  

Meijer opened three Thrifty Acres in 1962, in Grand Rapids, Holland, and Muskegon, Michigan. The company added three more in 1964, and a seventh in 1966. By this time the brand had proven itself to be a financial success and the company combined Meijer Super Markets and Thrifty Acres into one brand, Meijer, Inc. From that time on, to the present day, customers have referred to the stores variously as “Thrifty Acres”, “Meijer’s Thrifty Acres”, and “Meijer’s”. The company has subsequently changed its logo in 1984 and in 2004 (on the occasions of its 50th and 70th anniversaries, respectively) but its name has remained the same.

Meijer tested other retail developments at its stores, including adding gas stations in 1967, beauty salons in (check date), and specialty fashion shops, Copper Rivet, Sagebrush and Tansy between the mid-seventies and 1980s. Meijer also has a history of introducing new retail technologies to Michigan. These have included shopping baskets and carts (late 1930s), automatic doors (1950s), checklane conveyor belts (1950s), electronic scanners (1977), store debit cards (1989), 24-hour service (1988), and home delivery (2016).

The company expanded from West and Central Michigan to the Detroit metropolitan area in 1974, and to Ohio in 1981. Between 1994 and 1996, Meijer added three additional states to its footprint, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. In 2015 the company opened its first Distribution Facility and stores in the state of Wisconsin. 

Source: Lisa VanArragon, Curator of Education and Programming, Meijer Heritage Center, Meijer, Inc.


Meijer Inc.
Hendrik Meijer emigrated from the Netherlands to the U.S. in 1907 to start a new life.  Five years later he settled in Greenville, Michigan, with his wife Gezina.  Children Johanna and Fred were born in 1916 and 1919.  In 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, 50-year old Hendrik took the risk of transitioning from barber to grocer. The Meijers built their family-owned enterprise on values that allowed them to grow in a competitive industry: putting customers first, offering quality food at an affordable price, and driving innovation.  The “North Side Grocery” was changed to “Thrift Market” in 1935, to reflect the family’s emphasis on offering their customers the best value for their money. When they opened a second store in Cedar Springs, Michigan in 1942, they used the name “Meijer’s Super Market” to reflect the emerging retail trend toward larger grocery stores and to brand the store with their family’s identity.

By the 1950s, one grocery had become a chain of 10 supermarkets across West Michigan. The Meijers changed the company name and logo again, to “Meijer Supermarkets”. But their greatest achievement was yet to come.  They transformed the landscape of retail marketing in 1962 with the unique combination of food and general merchandise in one discount department store. The pioneering “supercenter” (a term applied in later years), Thrifty Acres, was born, establishing the lasting legacy of Meijer Inc. as one of the nation’s most progressive grocers.

Thrifty Acres uniquely combined singular ownership with extensive offerings of food and non-food merchandise alike, an emphasis on customer self-service, and highly competitive pricing. When interviewed in December 1961 by Supermarket Merchandising magazine on expansive plans for Thrifty Acres, Hendrik would tell the reporter, “Our move in this direction was strengthened during the past year by the public’s overwhelming acceptance of no-stamp, low-overhead style of merchandising. You might say that our first step was to become a discount house for groceries.”  Mens’, womens’ and childrens’ clothing represented some of the new departments at Thrifty Acres in 1962 along with jewelry, sporting goods, shoes, small appliances, hardware, records, toys, pet care, and a full-fledged pharmacy.  Sandy the Pony, the popular 1-penny, coin-operated ride still found in Meijer stores today, was also introduced in 1962. The Meijer centered revolution in retail had begun – soon to be added to the growing chain.  

Meijer opened three Thrifty Acres in 1962, in Grand Rapids, Holland, and Muskegon, Michigan. The company added three more in 1964, and a seventh in 1966. By this time the brand had proven itself to be a financial success and the company combined Meijer Super Markets and Thrifty Acres into one brand, Meijer, Inc. From that time on, to the present day, customers have referred to the stores variously as “Thrifty Acres”, “Meijer’s Thrifty Acres”, and “Meijer’s”. The company has subsequently changed its logo in 1984 and in 2004 (on the occasions of its 50th and 70th anniversaries, respectively) but its name has remained the same.

Meijer tested other retail developments at its stores, including adding gas stations in 1967, beauty salons in (check date), and specialty fashion shops, Copper Rivet, Sagebrush and Tansy between the mid-seventies and 1980s. Meijer also has a history of introducing new retail technologies to Michigan. These have included shopping baskets and carts (late 1930s), automatic doors (1950s), checklane conveyor belts (1950s), electronic scanners (1977), store debit cards (1989), 24-hour service (1988), and home delivery (2016).

The company expanded from West and Central Michigan to the Detroit metropolitan area in 1974, and to Ohio in 1981. Between 1994 and 1996, Meijer added three additional states to its footprint, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. In 2015 the company opened its first Distribution Facility and stores in the state of Wisconsin. 

Source: Lisa VanArragon, Curator of Education and Programming, Meijer Heritage Center, Meijer, Inc.


Andrea Melvin
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