If sticks and stones break bones, what can two-by-fours and two-inch nails do? Menard is wondering that now that its biggest rivals (#1 home improvement giant The Home Depot and #2 Lowe's) are busy hammering away at its home turf. One of the Midwest's largest home improvement chains, Menard runs more than 285 stores in about 15 states, including Illinois and Michigan. Stores sell floor coverings, hardware, millwork, paint, and tools. Many also stock appliances, pet products, lawn and garden supplies, and even groceries. Menard also sells goods online. Unlike competitors, all the company's stores have full-service lumberyards. Menard is owned by president and CEO John Menard, who founded the company in 1972.
Wisconsin-based Menard operates stores in 14 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Although Menard outlets are typically smaller than those of competitor Home Depot, they offer a similar selection of products by building large warehouses adjacent to stores and then quickly restocking merchandise when it's sold. The company's products are laid out on easy-to-reach, supermarket-styled shelves and have outdoor, drive-through lumber yards. To help keep expenses and prices low, Menard's Midwest Manufacturing (MM) division makes some of its merchandise, including doors and trusses. MM operates about a half-dozen plants in five Midwestern states that make metal roofing and siding, doors, decking, trusses, and other building materials. In what may be a first for a home improvement chain, Menard has gotten into the business of residential real estate development with several large subdivisions either under construction or in the planning stages in Indiana and Illinois. The developments, situated on land near Menard stores, create a potential customer base among new homeowners and local builders.
The company is increasing its average store size to more than 220,000 sq. ft. throughout up to 40 stores. Its largest store ever -- 250,000 sq. ft. -- is located in Minnesota. Most of the company's new stores will be more than 200,000 sq. ft. Besides stocking hardware and building supplies, these new megastores house garden centers and sell a large range of home appliances. Some stores even sell groceries. Unlike its larger national rivals Home Depot and Lowe's, which have grown via the acquisition of smaller chains as well as organic growth, Menard's measured growth has been largely organic, funded through cash generated from operations.
Ranked by Forbes as one of America's largest private companies, Menard rings up an estimated $7.9 billion in annual sales.
In addition to billionaire founder John Menard, other family members are engaged in the chain's everyday operations. John Menard also owns Team Menard, an Indy car-racing team.