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 A group of city and corporate officials line up at the site of the former Super Kmart at the corner of 12 Mile and John R roads April 25 for the official groundbreaking ceremony of BJ’s Wholesale Club.

A group of city and corporate officials line up at the site of the former Super Kmart at the corner of 12 Mile and John R roads April 25 for the official groundbreaking ceremony of BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Construction of wholesale retailer begins in Madison Heights

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published May 10, 2019

MADISON HEIGHTS — A groundbreaking ceremony April 25 signaled the start of construction for BJ’s Wholesale Club, which will occupy the site of the former Super Kmart at John R and 12 Mile roads in Madison Heights.

In his prepared remarks, Madison Heights Mayor Brian Hartwell said the city is “thrilled” to have BJ’s Wholesale Club opening there.

“It is an honor for our city to open one of the first locations in Michigan and the Midwest,” Hartwell said. “This establishment … will be beneficial to our city in many ways. BJ’s Wholesale will create 150 new jobs for those in our community. In addition to job creation, the Madison Heights community will benefit from having more affordable food and gas options. I personally am excited to shop at BJ’s for their produce and healthy food options.”

Among those in attendance were members of the Madison Heights City Council and the senior vice president of corporate communications at BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bill Werner.

Between the work on the Madison Heights location and another location in Taylor, there will be up to 1,000 construction jobs supported. Those interested in working at the Madison Heights store itself can check for job opportunities.

BJ’s Wholesale Club is a membership-based wholesale retailer similar to the Costco and Sam’s Club already in Madison Heights. BJ’s members can save up to 25 percent off grocery store prices and choose from a wide range of products.

“What really sets us apart is our selection of high-quality fresh food — produce, meat, deli and bakery — at outstanding prices,” Werner said. “We’re also the only membership-based wholesale club that has a full-service deli and accepts manufacturer’s coupons. Plus, members can enjoy our ‘Everyday ClubVenience’ to shop how they want, including options like same-day grocery delivery, order online and pick up in-club, and digital coupons in the BJ’s app.”

While its name might not be familiar to Michigan residents, BJ’s Wholesale Club is well-known on the East Coast, where it is headquartered in Massachusetts. The Madison Heights location will be the first in Michigan, occupying the long-shuttered Super Kmart that was torn down earlier this year. Super Kmart closed in 2014 with seven years left on its lease.

The $33 million project will include a large gas station, and also cement work paid by BJ’s to redesign the right-turn lane from eastbound 12 Mile Road to southbound John R Road. The site sits on roughly 40 acres. The former Super Kmart occupied nearly 143,000 square feet, with more than 1,200 spaces for parking. BJ’s will occupy the same footprint.

“Michigan and Madison Heights are dynamic markets,” Werner said. “We are focused on helping hardworking families save money, and we see the community as a great fit.”

The company is also committed to giving back, having recently donated $100,000 to Forgotten Harvest to increase access to fresh food for families in the area. It’s a partnership that the company has indicated it plans to continue.

The mayor described Madison Heights as a “hardworking city” with residents that “build the cars that drive the world,” as well as residents who are building trades workers, construction workers, nurses, soldiers and teachers, with schools prepping students for careers in advanced manufacturing.

“We make stuff,” Hartwell said. “We also are one of the most diverse and inclusive cities and regions in America. Within a mile of this location, we are home to 200 Asian-American-owned businesses. This diversity is our strength and will be an asset for your business.

“I hope you intend on hiring workers who speak English, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Aramaic,” Hartwell told the BJ’s officials. “That’s the identity of metro Detroit. That’s the reality of Madison Heights. And that’s the new home and consumer base of BJ’s Wholesale Club.”