SUSAN MERKLE has retired as the store director of the Corunna/Owosso Meijer after 38 years. Her last day was Friday, June 29, which was celebrated with a retreat attended by her staff and several Meijer executives. Merkle has managed the Shiawassee County Meijer for the past four years and shared that she will miss the many relationships she has developed during that time, with residents and local organizations.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
After 38 years, the past four of which have been spent as the store director at the Owosso/Corunna Meijer, Susan Merkle has decided to join her husband in retirement. Merkle got her start with Meijer in the Bay City/Saginaw/Midland region back in 1978, starting as a team leader in training. She would go on to be a store director for 13 years – at seven mid-Michigan Meijer locations – after helping usher in the Meijer boom during the 1990s as a training specialist. Merkle helped train the staffs of approximately 45 Meijer stores during that time. She was also the store director of the DeWitt Meijer when it opened in 2007, which is one of the more meaningful accomplishments of Merkle’s illustrious 38-year career.
Of all the stores Merkle has worked at, helped open and managed, the store in Shiawassee County turned out to be just the right fit. The smaller, tight-knit Shiawassee County community has made Merkle feel like she belonged. She met he husband, Brian, at Meijer years ago, and the couple made the move to the mid-Michigan area for good in 2006.
Merkle’s sons also followed her and Brian to mid-Michigan in 2006. The couple’s oldest son, Ben, enrolled at MSU, and their younger son, Thomas, has put down roots in the area. He met his wife after the move, and the couple is now raising their three children in the greater Shiawassee County area, conveniently within driving distance of Susan and Brian.
“Working as a specialist took me all over Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, so I have experienced many different communities during my Meijer career,” shared Merkle. “Shiawassee County really feels like home to me. The community embraced me from the start, and I have enjoyed getting to know our customers and the local organizations we have worked with over the years. We have been blessed to have high employee retention here, which has helped to create a great family atmosphere among the staff. You just don’t see that in many larger communities. That is really a testament to the people of Shiawassee County.”
During her time in Shiawassee County, Merkle has worked to build on local traditions such as hosting “Shop With a Hero,” working with Toys For Tots and sponsoring the Corunna fireworks. She is also proud that her store has been the regional winner of Meijer’s White Glove Contest the past four years, with her store finishing second in the entire company twice during that time. She is also proud to have served on the United Way Board of Directors, and she values all the relationships she has made in Shiawassee County.
Susan and Brian, who retired from Dow Chemical in 2016, plan to spend more time doting on their grandchildren and fishing, with their favorite spots being Linwood, MI and Fort Myers, FL.