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Private company
Industry Retail (Home Improvement)
Founded 1960; 56 years ago (1960)
Headquarters Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Key people
John Menard, Jr. (President)
Scott Collette (Chief Operating Officer)
Charlie Menard (General Manager Distribution, Manufacturing and Logistics)
Russ Radtke (Chief Merchant)
Gaylen Heckman (Operations Manager)
Products Building materials, tools, hardware, garden supplies, electrical supplies, ceiling fans, light fixtures, cabinets, home appliances, doors, windows, paint, wood stain, wallpaper, plumbing supplies, carpet, vinyl, linoleum, groceries, automotive
Revenue $7.9 billion (Dec 2013)(Forbes)
Number of employees
Slogan Save Big Money at Menards!

Menards is a chain of home improvement centers in the Midwestern United States.

The privately held company, headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has approximately 300 stores in 14 states: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Kentucky. It is the third largest home improvement chain in the United States, behind The Home Depot and Lowe's.[1]

Company history[edit]

In 1959, John Menard, Jr. began building post-frame buildings to finance his college education. By the end of 1959, Menard found it necessary to hire extra crews, and to purchase more equipment to keep up with demand. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire in 1962, Menard purchased land in Eau Claire and built an office and shop. The company was founded in 1960[2] and incorporated in 1962.[3]

In 2007, Menards opened their third and fourth distribution centers in Holiday City, Ohio, and Shelby, Iowa, which are 669,000 square feet (62,200 m2) and 735,000 square feet (68,300 m2), respectively.[4]

Store structure[edit]

Exterior of the Menards store in Ankeny, Iowa. An example of the older exterior.

In 2007, the 240,000 sq ft (22,000 m2) and larger Menards stores began selling groceries.[5]


Menards commercials are accompanied with banjo music played by Gary Shaw of Wisconsin.[6]

Industry ranking[edit]

Menards store in West Lafayette, Indiana

In 2013, Menard, Inc., was ranked 43rd on Forbes’ list of "America's Largest Private Companies", with an estimated revenue of USD$8.3 billion.[7]


Menards has been involved in a number of incidents concerning environmental regulations, including:

  • Wisconsin DNR officials have cited Menards at least 13 times since 1976 for ignoring or violating state regulations related to air and water pollution and hazardous waste.[8]
  • In 1994, Wisconsin obtained a civil judgment against Menards for the unlicensed transportation and disposal of ash produced by incinerating "CCA"-treated lumber. Wood treated with CCA contains chromium, copper, and arsenic – both chromium VI and arsenic are categorized by the US EPA as carcinogens. It is considered hazardous waste and requires proper disposal in a licensed landfill. The company was fined $160,000.[8]
  • In 1997, John Menard was found using his personal pickup truck to haul plastic bags of chromium and arsenic-laden wood ash to his home for disposal with his household trash. Menard pleaded no contest to felony and misdemeanor charges involving records violations, unlawful transportation, and improper disposal of hazardous waste. Menard and his company were fined $1.7 million for 21 violations.[8]
  • In 2003, the Minnesota attorney general charged that Menards manufactured and sold arsenic-tainted mulch in packaging labeled “ideal for playgrounds and for animal bedding.” Warning labels from the CCA-treated wood were found in the mulch. The EPA recommends that CCA-treated wood not be converted into mulch. As of 2008 the case was still pending.[8]
  • In 2005, Menards agreed to a $2 million fine after Wisconsin DNR officials found a floor drain in a company shop that they believed was used to dump paint, solvents, oil and other waste into a lagoon that fed into a tributary of the Chippewa River. The sanction broke the previous record fine of $1.7 million set by Menard in 1997.[8]
  • In 2006, the construction of a $112 million warehouse became a campaign issue in the Wisconsin governor’s race. The warehouse was to be erected by filling in a 0.6-acre (0.24 ha) bean field the DNR considered a seasonal wetland used by migrating tundra swans. Menards offered to build a wetland more than twice its size as a replacement, but was rejected by Scott Humrickhouse, a DNR regional director. Humrickhouse said that solution could be used “only when every alternative for saving the original wetland was exhausted.” The increasingly heated dispute got considerable media coverage, with a DNR warden calling Menards’ general counsel a “legal bitch” and the company threatening to move jobs out of Wisconsin. Tempers seemed to cool after Gov. Jim Doyle arranged $4.2 million in state aid to help the company expand its Eau Claire manufacturing headquarters. Menard had previously contributed $20,000 to Doyle’s campaign.[8]


  1. ^ "Menard on the Forbes America's Largest Private Companies List". Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  2. ^ "About Us at Menards". Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ Carlyle, Erin (Dec 16, 2013). "Meet The Best Hardware Store In the Nation, And The Midwestern Billionaire Who Built It: John Menard Jr.". Forbes. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Menards is building centers in Iowa, Ohio instead of Eau Claire". La Crosse Tribune. 
  5. ^ Doris Hajewski (April 13, 2007). "Got milk at Menards?". Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  6. ^ "Ditties for the decades". Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "America's Largest Private Companies". November 9, 2006. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Big Money - Features". Milwaukee Magazine. April 30, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Menards Faces EPA Administrative Order For Damaging South Dakota Stream". EPA. 2006-03-08. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 

External links[edit]