March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Supermarket chain cites image as why it is terminating them

Thursday, Feb. 16 — Appearance issues are behind Meijer’s decision to terminate free publications, including City Pulse, in all of its 199 stores beginning March 1, a company spokeswoman said today.

“All free publication racks at all of our stores are managed by a third-party company,” Stacie Behler, vice president for public affairs, said in a written statement. “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.”

The third-party company, Dominion Distribution, is based in Norfolk, Va. A Dominion employee declined to comment at this time.

The red racks on which free publications are available in the eight Meijer stores in the Lansing area are scheduled to be removed by March 1.

A source had told City Pulse that “cost of labor” was the reason Meijer had made the decision. He said he was told Meijer did not want to pay employees to pick up discarded publications. Another source said the racks are “messy.”

However, all of the directors of Meijer stores told City Pulse they had “no problem” with free publications, as one director put it.

“We continue to pursue the possibility to be in Meijer in the future, although it now appears clear there will be an interruption in service there,” Berl Schwartz, editor/publisher of City Pulse said. “It’s as important as ever for Meijer to hear from our readers to let Meijer know you want City Pulse available there.”

Some 3,000 customers pick up City Pulse in Meijer each week, according to Schwartz. Other local publications that are affected include The New Citizens Press, Greater Lansing Woman and Wheeler Dealer.

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