Wisconsin 275
Wisconsin 275
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John Menard Jr.

Other Leading Industries | Retail
Founder and owner
Menards  |  Eau Claire

John Menard Jr. planted the first seeds of what would become Menards home improvement retail chain in 1958, selling pole buildings as a means to fund his education. When he graduated college, Menard was able to devote all of his energy to the business and purchased land in Eau Claire to set up a small office and shop. He opened his first business, building supplies company Menards Cashway Lumber, from which he sold lumber and building materials to the public. He opened his first hardware store in 1972, seven years ahead of the launch of Home Depot, which would become one of its chief competitors.

Today, Menards has more than 330 stores in 15 states. It reported revenue of $13.1 billion in 2021 and ranks No. 34 on the National Retail Federation’s Top 100 Retailers list.

Menard remains majority shareholder of the closely held business. With a reported net worth of $17.3 billion, Menard is the richest person in Wisconsin, according to Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List, coming in at No. 104.

Menard has been actively involved in auto racing for decades, and he sponsored the winning car at the 2019 Indy 500.

Menard donated $15 million in 2008 to support Luther Midelfort Hospital in Eau Claire, supporting a new emergency department. In 2015, he gave $10 million to the Eau Claire Area YMCA, establishing the John and Fay Menard YMCA Tennis Center.

He has given $2.1 million to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s business college, $2.4 million to UW-Stout’s foundation and $3 million to UW-Eau Claire’s Center for Constitutional Studies. Menard also gives regularly to conservative political groups, candidates, parties and committees.

Education: Bachelor’s, UW-Eau Claire

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