Menards expanding stores companywide to compete with Amazon

Plans to have all of its Wisconsin stores expanded by the end of 2018

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:51 pm

Eau Claire-based home improvement retail chain Menard Inc. is expanding its stores companywide to compete with its competitors by offering more products in their stores.

The goal is to carry a larger amount of product, so customers don’t have to wait for it to ship from a distribution center, which often takes a week or more compared to Amazon’s overnight shipping, according to documents filed with the state.

The next store slated for expansion is the Kenosha Menard’s; however that plan could face opposition from the state Department of Natural Resources because of its impact on existing wetlands.

All of the company’s Wisconsin stores are expected to be expanded by the end of 2018, according to a Menards planning and construction department executive.

Menard Inc. launched the expansion plan two years ago for its approximately 300 stores in 14 states.

The three-phase project, which includes first expanding the Menards warehouses, followed by enclosing the garden centers and lastly, expanding the stores, has been started in about 200 stores company-wide, the planning executive said.

“We have been tackling 50 to 90 stores a year,” he said.

In summer 2017, Menard Inc. purchased a vacant 60,968-square-foot Pick ‘n Save building at 8110 W. Brown Deer Road located next to its existing store on the far northwest side of Milwaukee. Both buildings are attached to the former Northridge Mall complex. Since fall, Menards has been building out the property. The expanded store at 8120 W. Brown Deer Road, will be complete by the beginning of summer, the Menards executive said.

On May 17, the Franklin plan commission will consider an application by Menard Inc. to construct a 22,670-square-foot warehouse and 23,084-square-foot outdoor storage yard east of the existing Menards Store located at 10925 W. Speedway Drive.

In Kenosha, Menards will have a tougher time expanding. The landlocked store, built in 1997 just north of Highway 50 at 7330 74th Place, was already expanded by 25,520 square feet in 2003.

The property is bordered by a railroad on the west and commercial developments to the south and east. A storm water pond is to the north. The only available space for expansion is a vacant lot to the north and east of the stormwater pond, according to documents submitted by Menards to the state. The vacant lot to the north contains significant wetland area. The area to the east has a much smaller piece of wetland on it. Menards purchased the back quarter of the lot to the east for its expansion plan, which includes a drive-through warehouse.

Menard’s contends it is impossible to avoid impacting 1,400 square feet, or 0.03 acres of wetland areas for the expansion of the warehouse.

“The wetland that is proposed to be impacted is a small finger of wetland occupying a drainage ditch,” documents submitted by Menards say. “It is dominated by invasive species—giant reed grass and reed canary grass.”

According to Menards, if the store is not expanded, the company will not remain competitive in the market.

Building a new store is possible, but more costly than expanding the existing store and could result in more harmful environmental effects, according to Menards.

In 2015, Menards attempted to expand the Kenosha store on roughly 7 acres the company had under contract north of the existing store but the DNR denied the application because of existing wetlands.

The DNR will again review Menard’s current expansion plans.

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