Menards - good? bad? just another box?

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Do Dah Flatland (wichita Ks) is supposedly getting a Menards. Are they any better / worse than Lowes and Home Depot or just another crappy big box store - from the woodworking /tools/lumber perspective? I suppose it's just another crappy store but hoping that opinions will surprise me. Thanks
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My opinion would be "just another crappy big box store." I would recommend that you stay as far away from their "Tool Shop" brand of tools as possible too.
YMMV

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The lumber here in Michigan is way better than at Lowes or Home Depot, in fact it is better than many of the local yards that have been around a while.
They typically have a large yard for outdoor lumber and supplies (including trusses and drainage pipe). They have a large drive through lumber area for construction lumber - bought some 24 foot long 2 by 12s there this spring for a deck. Their cedar has been wonderful. The clear white pine in the inside store is very good, and is very useful for softwood projects that will be painted.
The hardwood selection is mostly limited to Oak, Maple, Birch and Poplar. But there is a wide variety of sizes and you are welcome to pick through what they have - for bookcases - I typically will choose 1 board in 3 if I am going to use a light finish - for a dark finish it is 1 board in 2. At Lowes it is more like one in 7 or 8 for dark finish and at Home Depot 1 in 20 or 30...
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wrote:

Well, I have purchased qualiy lumber at Home Depot, but only after sifting though several pieces. The local 84 Lumber never allowed customers to pick through sacks, and eventually went out of business. The hardwoods at HD and Lowes are overpriced, pine okay.
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Menards is a great store, it distinguishes itself easily from the blue and orange BORGs. They carry a variety of tools, varying in quality from /too cheap to be useful/ to /use it everyday--hard/.
Unfortunately, they switched to an industrial warehouse style for their larger power tools and items like bath tubs, which makes it harder to look at tools on upper levels.
Puckdropper
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me wrote:

Here in the Des Moines area they're another junkwood big box store with some occasional good buys. I was using clear (select) 1x6 and 1x8 pine for solar panels and could usually find one good 12' board out of three dozen or so. They have 3/4x4x8 papered two sides MDO for $55/sheet, which is decent, and 3/4x4x8 baltic birch (I haven't bought yet) for just under $65. Two weeks ago I bought some rain soaked 8' tubafors for $1.77 each for use as pallet skids (about all they'd be good for).
OTOH, I bought a dozen tubes of clear DAP silicone caulk for $3.95/tube which was just under half of what True Value Hardware wanted for the same stuff from GE. Seemed like a good buy.
Their low-price plywoods are nasty - full of voids and thinner than anyone else's.
I'm learning not to expect too much from lumber outlets that sell Halloween decorations and groceries...
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Morris Dovey wrote:

LOL. That's a new sig file if I ever read one.
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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me wrote:

Menards is no better and no worse than the other big boxes. Just don't loose your sales receipt if you expect to return anything. If they have to go to the computer for a price to give you for a return without receipt they use the lowest price at which the item ever sold at. I wanted to return some shelving material and was offered about half what I paid. The manager said take it or leave it. He really wasn't required to take a return. I kept the material and quit visiting them for about 6 months. Big blue and big orange got my money. Then I discovered the local toy store (Woodcrafters).
Dave N
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me wrote:

We don't have a Menards in the metro Detroit area, the closest one is about a 2-hour round trip. But, there's a few on the west side of the state where my parents live, which I've been to probably a dozen times or so. Anyway, their tool selection seems pretty standard for a big box, I can't speak to the quality of their lumber. They did have a better selection of hardwood plywood.
Most of my experience with them involves home improvement type stuff. I really wish we had one closer, as they carry a lot of brands/models that the other big boxes don't. They have a really nice selection of bathroom vanities, medicine cabinets, toilets, etc. that pretty much doubles the variety available at Lowes/HD. Their hardware selection of pulls and such puts the others to shame. They also have a lot more random stuff on clearance, I picked up a granite top for my bath vanity at 50% off. Oh, and their weekly ads actually have sale items, instead of just featured items. It's just nice to have a third option when shopping for a faucet or whatnot, at least one that you don't have to special order.
Greg M
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Menards has everything. Home Depot has half of everything.
Inevitably, when I go to Home Depot shopping for a project, I end up stopping at Ace or MyNards 'cuz Home Depot is about inventory management (like Wally World) whereas MyNards is about stuff.
E.g., Home Depot will sell you a hot tub, but you have to go to Menards for hot tub chemicals 'cuz the Despot doesn't carry 'em nor sell them. Just wrong.
In WI, they both have the same kids running around, half of which don't know the difference between a stove bolt and a stove pipe.
D'ohBoy
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D'ohBoy wrote:

Going to Lowes I pass the local lumberyard first, then Home Despot. I've reached the point that if the local yard doesn't have it, I generally just skip Home Despot and go straight to Lowes, because the one thing I can count on is that Home Despot won't have whatever it is that I'm looking for.
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"J. Clarke" wrote

Lowe's will have it, but it won't be in a box, will be in the wrong bin, and because it took you 30 minutes to find it, and it being the ONLY one in the damn store, you will wait another 20 minutes at the cash register while they have an employee's summit conference on what price to ring up.
But ... in general, the women who shop at Lowes are much higher class and easier on the eyes.
After all, scenery is very important while you wait.
--
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RE: Subject
ALL the mass merchandisers play the 80/20 game.
80% of your sales come from 20% of the items. 80% of your profits come from 20% of your sales. 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers.
The list goes on, but the above illustrates the point.
Forget customers, bean counters rule.
Those who expect to find quality and selection found at speciality stores won't find it.
But then again, there is a matter of cost.
Lew
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80% of your work is done by 20% of your employees.
Just an afterthought, Why are the bathrooms in home stores always about as torn up and scuzzy as a highway exit gas station?
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-MIKE-

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The Lowes in town has a nice one for their customers, and even on the heaviest day it wouldn't be full. It seems to me they're missing an opportunity by using all the same toilet, though. By installing one of each toilet they carry in stock, customers could compare working models.
Of course, it'd have to be like Noah and the Ark. Two of each kind, one for males and one for females. :-)
Puckdropper
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If you're quiet, your teeth never touch your ankles.

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Puckdropper wrote:

I wonder if I could negotiate a beer concesion...
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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The "new" Lowes are all designed for that class of woman you refer to.
They did a huge amount of research on who does the shopping and the spending in a Lowes and women are a major hitter.
The clear isles and cheery lighting is for one group of folks.
Lowes is a old N.C. firm that started out as a ratty looking lumber company that carried the "cheap stuff".
About 10-15 years ago, they hired some research folks and the rest is history.
They are now eating Home Depot's lunch.
My wife goes to Lowes on her lunch hour a couple times a week.
Swingman wrote:

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Gee ... it's feels good to be vindicated by research. I didn't know the reason, figured it was the relative cleanliness of Lowe's, but being a self-styled connoisseur of the opposite gender and quick to notice beauty (expect nothing less from a Coonass), I knew, only in my heart mind you, that something was up. :)
--
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I expect Espresso or cappuccino machines any day now.
They are really going after womens money.
I read a story in one of the financial rags about how HD have started to look into that same theory, although they are just a little behind.(15 years)
Notice the next time you are there, as to how much of the store is "guy stuff" and how much is "home" based stuff.
Most of those stores are 120,000 sq ft and lumber is on one or two rows.
Paint and wallpaper take up four rows.
The "Garden Center" is HUGE.
Swingman wrote:

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Since moving to Colorado from Minnesota the two stores I really miss are Menard's and Mills Fleet Farm (The Men' Mall).
Someday maybe one of them will venture to the west.
Pat
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