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Menards Inc.
Private company
Industry Retail (Home Improvement)
Founded 1960; 57 years ago (1960)
Founder John Menard Jr.
Headquarters Eau Claire, Wisconsin, U.S.
Number of locations
Key people
John Menard Jr. (President)
Scott Collette (Chief Operating Officer)
Charlie Menard (General Manager Distribution, Manufacturing, and Logistics)
Gaylen Heckman(Operations Manager)
Russ Radtke (Chief Merchant)
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 $8.7 billion (Dec 2015)[1]
Number of employees

Menards Inc. is a chain of home improvement centers primarily 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.[2] 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[3] and incorporated in 1962.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]


Menards utilizes weekly print ads, while also utilizing TV and radio ads.[7]Radio and TV ads are sometimes accompanied with banjo music played by Gary Shaw of Wisconsin.[8] Ray Szmanda was the "Menards Guy" who used the slogan "Save big money at Menards" regularly on television advertisements from 1976 to 1998, and occasionally since 1999.[9]

Auto racing[edit]

Menards has supported several racing drivers, including Paul Menard, John Menard's son;[10] Robby Gordon; P. J. Jones;[11] Brandon Jones;[12] and Matt Crafton.[13] and partially Simon Pagenaud.[14] Menards has also become the title sponsor of races in the Xfinity Series[15] and ARCA Racing Series.[16]

Industry ranking[edit]

Menards store in West Lafayette, Indiana

In 2016, Menard, Inc., was ranked 37th on Forbes’ list of "America's Largest Private Companies", with an estimated revenue of USD$8.7 billion.[1] In that same year, Menard was ranked 45th on the National Retail Federation's list of "100 Top Retailers".[17]


Menards has been involved in a number of incidents concerning environmental regulations with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and several state department equivalents, including:

  • The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has cited Menards at least 13 times since 1976 for ignoring or violating state regulations related to air and water pollution and hazardous waste.[18]
  • 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.[18]
  • 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.[18]
  • 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.[18]
  • 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.[18]
  • 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 state 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.[18]
  • In 2006, the EPA issued an administrative order against Menards for damaging a stream in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that ran through its property by placing a 66-inch storm sewer pipe on the stream for 1,350 linear feet and filling over top soil.[18][19]
  • In 2011, Menards agreed to a settlement of $30,000 for violating state laws against hazardous waste disposal. In 2007 herbicide was dumped into the ground on a parking island from a pallet that had been allowed to freeze in the winter.[20]


  1. ^ a b c "Menard on the Forbes America's Largest Private Companies List". Forbes. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  2. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index - John Menard Jr". Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  3. ^ "About Us at Menards". Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "Menards is building centers in Iowa, Ohio instead of Eau Claire". La Crosse Tribune. 
  6. ^ Doris Hajewski (April 13, 2007). "Got milk at Menards?". Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  7. ^ "THE MARKETING 100: MENARDS: JOHN MENARD". Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  8. ^ "Ditties for the decades". Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Seasoned Menards guy is hard to wear out". JS Online. Journal Sentinel Inc. 7 July 2002. Archived from the original on 4 September 2002. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Paul Menard - Richard Childress Racing". Richard Childress Racing. Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Sponsor Search Page". Racing Reference. Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Menards to Continue Partnership with RCR XFINITY Programs - Richard Childress Racing". Richard Childress Racing. January 22, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Crafton, Menards extend ThorSport partnership". Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Menards doubles sponsorship deal with Penske, Pagenaud for 2017". Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  15. ^ "XFINITY Series race results for Menards 250 at Michigan". FOX Sports. June 11, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  16. ^ "NASCAR's Matt Crafton Enters May 15 Menards 200". ARCA Racing. Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  17. ^ (2016-06-30). "STORES Top Retailers 2016". National Retail Federation. Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "Big Money - Features". Milwaukee Magazine. April 30, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Menards Faces EPA Administrative Order For Damaging South Dakota Stream". EPA. 2006-03-08. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Menard ordered to pay $30,000 to settle illegal dumping charge". 2011-01-18. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 

External links[edit]