Menards is a successful chain of home improvement centers that is comparable to Lowes, Home Depot and other supply retailers. The organization is based in the United States. The retailer has opened locations throughout the central portions of the country in 14 states extending into the Midwest and a few southern areas. It has not yet gone coast to coast so if you don’t live in an area it serves, you may not have heard about it, but this is likely to be temporary as they’re expanding at a rapid pace. Here are 20 things that you should know about Menards because it may soon be coming to your state if it’s not there already.
1. It’s the third largest in the nation
Menards is a very large and successful retailer. They’re in the same class as Home Depot and Lowe’s home improvement centers. They offer a wide variety of products and they’ve expanded so far that they are now the third largest home improvement retailer in the United States.
2. The company started as a building construction business
The first Menard’s started out as a business that Johne Menard, Jr. set up to make money so he could go to college. He started building post-frame structures and in less than a year, he had to hire bigger crews to keep up with the demand for his services. He expanded in 1962 and added a shop and an office. They officially incorporated the business in 1962.
3. Menards sells a variety of products
The main focus of the business is to sell home improvement products at retail. This isn’t all that they offer. They recently added pet supplies, some furnishings such as mattresses and other houseware items. They also started selling grocery items in 2007. They sell snacks, canned goods, milk, eggs and frozen items for a well-rounded shopping experience.
4. They have a unique slogan
Unless you live in an area where you see or hear their mass media advertisements you probably wouldn’t know that they have a unique and catchy slogan to go with their advertisements. The “Menards Guy” is ay Szmanda and he says “Save big money at Menards” in the advertisements. Some of the ads have a banjo themed musical accompaniment that further distinguishes them. In case you were wondering, the music is supplied by Wisconsin’s own Gary Shaw.
5. They sponsor racing
Menards is into race car sports and they have supported many racing drivers with donations and sponsorships. Among them are Brandon Jones, Simon Pagenaud, Matt Crafton, Ryan Blaney, Robby Gordon, P.J. Jones and John Menard’s son Paul Menard who is also an avid race car driver. The Menards company is the official title sponsor for the ARCA Racing Series and the Xfinity Series.
6. Menard Inc. made the Forbes’ list
It’s always a big deal when a celebrity or business makes it to one of Forbes’ esteemed best 100 lists. Menard Inc. was named #37 on America’s Largest Private Companies list in 2016. At the same time, they were also named as the 45th of 100 top retailers list. Out of 100 in the National Retail Federation’s 100 Top Retailers list for 2018.
7. Menards is a midwestern family owned business
Menards is a business that has been going since 1958 unofficially. Since the day that its doors opened, it has been a family-owned business and it remains that way today. They are committed to providing top notch service to each of their customers. They believe that it’s important to treat their customers like family. This has been their philosophy since day one.
8. Guest Service is their top priority
Menards is a company that stands behind their commitments. They have set their priorities and they do an excellent job of maintaining a crew of knowledgeable professionals to assist customers with needed information for do it yourself projects and supplies. They maintain a fully stocked inventory and answering questions is their forte. They also have the lowest prices around for most items. They can do all this because their products are sourced through low-cost vendors and some of the companies/manufacturers are owned by Menards.
9. All Midwest Manufacturing products are sold through Menards
The Midwest Manufacturing company manufactures trusses at its plant in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The company also makes steel siding and roofing along with interior and exterior doors, materials for decking, fencing and a variety of treated lumber products. They sell a big variety of products and the company only sells their products through Menards.
10. Menards also deals in Real Estate
In addition to operating the third largest home improvement retail chain in the United States, Menards is also involved in the real estate industry. They manage land parcels as well as residential properties and tenant properties. They have diversified their operations across many profitable industries throughout the midwestern states.
11. The current CEO is John Robert Menard Jr.
John Menard Jr. is the leader of the company. He’s an interesting executive who built Menards home improvement stores and he is known for his entrepreneurship throughout the Midwest. He’s involved in a variety of diverse industries. Mr. Menard is a billionaire. He is also the former owner of an Indycar racing team.
12. The First Lady of America filed suit against Menard
Now First Lady Melania Trump had filed a lawsuit against Mr. John Menard in 2013. It was a suit for $50 million dollars over a contract that Menard had canceled with New Sunshine, a group that Mrs. Trump was involved with. Her husband Donald Trump was also so upset with Menard that he tweeted about it taking his feelings public in 2013. The dealings involved an equity fund. Mr. Menard was having issues with other people who were involved in the fund and his move was to oust them from the equity and the Trumps’ organization experienced the collateral damage from the situation.
13. John Menard Jr. was also sued by Lisa Trudeau
Lisa Trudeau is the wife of Jack Trudeau, the former quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. She alleged that Mr. Menard had made unwanted advances towards her when she worked for the Australian Gold company. This was another company that was a private equity management of Menards. The first lawsuit was filed against Trudeau for breach of contract. She filed a countersuit against him for unwanted sexual advances made against her, which she rebuffed. She claimed that he was trying to get back at another couple named Hilbert because the wife had offended him by refusing his advances also. This was a scandalous situation for the owner of Menards and it involved people in very high places.
14. Menard has a reputation for disregarding women to get what he wants
Allegations have been made about Menard by women who claim that he believes that he can get anything that he wants regardless of who it affects. They further assert that his past behaviors that disregard the rights of other people, especially women have been documented very well.
15. Menard Managers have to pay if something goes wrong at the store
This is a rather shocking discovery that we made about the managers who work at Menards. Before they are employed as managers, the workers must sign agreements that make them personally responsible for things that could possibly go wrong at the store. They must ensure that nothing goes wrong or they will be required to pay a monetary fine. Although this concept sounds cruel, heartless and ridiculous, it gets even worse. One manager who had 15 carts in the parking lot had to pay a fine of $10. Perhaps the most pernicious article in the agreement is the fine of $100 per minute that the manager must pay for every minute that a store opens late if this in fact happens. Let’s hope that there isn’t a natural disaster or some other type of emergency. They’d certainly better remember to adjust their clocks for daylight savings time or they’ll be paying off the fines for some time to come.
16. Menards Managers cannot build their own homes
Another silly rule that is implemented for Menards managers is that they are strictly forbidden from building their own homes. While you’d think that the company would be happy about it and give them a discount on the supplies, they simply won’t allow it. They’re afraid that the managers will steal some of the supplies from the store to use on their new construction products. Menard has even gone so far as to hire his own team of private investigators to check up on the managers to make sure that they don’t have any minor home-improvement projects going on at their homes using supplies that were pilfered from the stores. We thought that this was way over the top. There is a definite lack of trust between management and their employees. It seems that there are a lot of restrictions placed on the managers of Menards. While family owned and operated businesses can be pleasant to work for, it seems that Menards could really use some best practices perspectives from the outside to ensure that their policies are not only legal but also ethical and moral as well.
17. Menards took an anti-union stance
The owner of Menards was fiercely against unions coming into his business. There was a big deal made of a policy that he had put in place previously. Every manager was required to sign an agreement that said if there was a dispute between them and the company, that they would not seek a remedy through the courts, but rather that they would go to arbitration. The managers would have to pay their own attorney’s fees and also half of what the arbitrator charged even if the fault was on the part of Menards. In addition to that, they had to agree that if the store went union, they would take a 60% cut in their pay.
18. Menards was found in violation of several federal labor laws
Menards was investigated by the National Labor Relations Board because of a story that was printed about the way they treated their employees. There were a total of eight complaints that were lodged against Menards for unfair labor practices. After the investigation was completed, it was discovered that five of the complaints were substantiated. The clause in the manager’s agreement that stipulated a 60 percent cut in pay for union involvement was one of them. Since that time, Menards has removed the language from their managers’ contracts and agreements. There were other violations including the arbitration agreements and the agreement not to engage in class action suits. There were 45,000 employee agreements that would need to be amended.
19. Menards was fined for EPA violations
The Department of Natural Resources had a few run-ins with Menards as well. It has been documented that they have had more issues with Menards than with any other company in the state of Wisconsin. The DNR found Menards in violation on 21 counts and the company was fined $1.7 million. They had disposed of hazardous waste in 1994. In 2003, the Attorney General in Minnesota fined them for selling mulch that was tainted with arsenic. In 2005, Menards was found guilty of dumping chemicals into a stream that led to the Chippewa River through a floor drain. The EPA slapped with an administrative order because the company damaged a stream that flowed through its South Dakota property.
20. Menard made political donations that were held with skepticism
It was also discovered that the owner of Menards had made a series of substantial political campaign contributions to Walker’s campaign. Within two years of making the donations, Menard’s company has received special tax credits that totaled $1.8 million from an economic development corp or the state, chaired by Walker. In addition to this, the DNR has cut back on its enforcement of the rules with regard to Menards. This is a situation that many people find distasteful and hard to digest. A company that willfully breaks the laws that are set up to protect the environment is being allowed to get away with cutting corners that could cause damage to the environment many miles away from the original pollution sites. This is what is believed by many to be going on.