News Feature | February 6, 2014

Menards Opens New Megastore

Source: Retail Solutions Online

By Megan Zielinski, contributing writer

Company continues trend to build big, maintains customer-centric, small town hardware store atmosphere

Since the debut of its 235,000-square-foot, two-floor Eden Prairie, MN, location in 2011, Menards has continued to build bigger when other retailers are eyeing smaller footprints. Residents in the town of Dickinson, ND, are the latest to “Save Big Money” at the newest addition to its community. The new Menards location provides over 200,000 square feet of retail space, an expanded grocery area, a backroom space for special orders — a feature that most Menards locations do not have — and the largest warehouse of all of its 280 stores

In his article in Time last year, Brad Tuttle quantified just how much Menards exceeds the norm: “The typical Costco or Walmart Supercenter — generally considered the biggest of all big box retailers — runs 100,000 to 150,000 square feet. But a new breed of home improvement store in the Midwest blows them all away.” Tuttle noted that although the first of Menards megastores opened prior to the recession, the company only delayed building additional ones rather than abandoning this strategy once the economy dipped.

 Indeed, the geographic location of the privately owned company’s stores weighs heavily in this strategy. The Midwest has the highest percentage of citizens living in rural areas — a reason for consumers to drive to stores. People living in these vast areas want to make one-stop-shopping trips. Also real estate prices are lower than in urban areas, making it financially viable for Menards to build larger-than-average stores.

The Time article also alludes to how successful these larger stores have been, quoting Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott who says it comes down to “the way guests are always treated like family in a hometown hardware store atmosphere.”  Menards ranked highest among DIY stores — including competitors like The Home Depot and Lowes — on dunnhumby’s 2013 Customer Centricity Index, which measures how well retailers respond to their customers. Menards scored high in price, providing flexible rebates, and relevant promotions. In analyzing data for the index, dunnhumby found that retailers with higher CCI scores also led the competition in comparable sales growth over a three-year period.

Read: Customer Experience Secrets Of Brick-And-Mortar Superstars

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