The History of Sandy, the One Penny Pony at Meijer [VIDEO]
If you've lived in the area for any length of time, there's a good chance you've helped your kids climb into Sandy's saddle and take her for a joyous ride at your local Meijer store. Maybe you even had an opportunity to ride Sandy when you were a kid and your parents picked up groceries. (Provided you behaved yourself during the shopping excursion.)
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How Did Sandy Become a Part of Meijer History?
In the video below, Hendrik 'Hank' Meijer explains how Sandy has become part of the fabric of Meijer stores as something that multiple generations of shoppers have come to love.
The first Sandy appeared in a Meijer store in 1962.
"Supermarkets had become exciting places, filled with all kinds of remarkable innovations and real destinations for American families," Meijer says. "And so it seemed only natural to investigate some of the opportunities to entertain children."
Hank says that Sandy first appeared at the first 'big' Meijer store which was built in Grand Rapids.
Sandy Has Always Been the One Cent Pony
Hank gives credit to his father Frederik Meijer for making a ride on Sandy so affordable. He says the first Sandy came with a '10 cents' sign painted right on the horse.
"My dad looked at that and said 'No way,' and this is in 1962, more than 50 years ago and that seemed like too much money," he explains. "So we immediately too that 10 cents and changed it to one cent, and that made Sandy the pony available to everyone."
He goes on to say that there's a value in children being able to put a penny into the machine in order to make it come to life.
Meijer Customers Pay it Forward
Meijer notes that over the last few years, they've seen more people leaving pennies on the horse in order to pay for other kids to take a ride on Sandy.
"Perhaps there's a lesson there about generosity that our children begin to learn," Meijer says. "That someone helps them ride Sandy, then they're going to help someone else ride Sandy."
Hank says that over time, Sandy has become part of the heritage of Meijer and for families throughout the Midwest, saying "Sandy is a part of the lives of our customers."