Menards impression my .02

I remember threads about Menards awhile ago in this newsgroup and thought they left me with the impression that Menards was a bit better than Lowes, Home Depot, or other big box stores. One in my area opened recently last month and I wasn't real impressed - not much different than any of the other big boxes. Oak was S4S shrink wrapped around $6.95 bd. ft. (Wonder what good is shrink wrapping lumber (even 12' long boards) - but that's a different question). The lumber kid couldn't tell me where the plywood was from - saw edge voids in their 'premium grade' 3/4" oak. The power tool section had a contractors portable table saw - no other stationary tools except compressors.
Maybe Menards have gone down in quality / offerings or stores vary greatly by region. I wasn't real impressed and won't be making any special trips to shop there.
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[...]

The stores certainly can vary greatly *within* a region: Menards opened two stores here in Indianapolis about 30 years ago, and at least four more within the last five or six years. The older stores are (were - one just closed) small, dingy, cluttered, under-lit, under-stocked, and under-staffed. The new stores are enormous, clean, well-lit, well-stocked, and well-staffed by people who know where things are in the store and in most cases know at least a little bit about the products. There's a huge difference in the selections available, comparing the newer stores to the older one(s).
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On 3/24/2011 1:18 PM, Doug Miller wrote:

I second that. We do most of our shopping Menards because of the sales staff and the selection. However as any chain type stores, their inventory varies. As any store like Menards, the worse time to shop is in the late evening when the second shift staff are working. In most cases they are the least experienced people and the newest employees.
For the best advise go during the 9to5 hours for the most experienced and senior sales staff.
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I think Menards has lower prices than Home Depot or Lowes. They are good for electrical and plumbing and painting stuff. I buy tools online or from tool stores. Oak from hardwood dealers.
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Menards has better plywood although the won't cut it for you.You can even get Walnut and Cherry plywood. The have MDO plywood and baltic birch plywood. The Menards in our area has random width oak and maple at decent prices.
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I don't shop at Menards. My impression is that their offerings are of lower quality than the competition.
But there is another reason. My wife's cousin worked at Menards corporate offices in the HR department. He quit because of the things he was forced to do to Menards more senior employees.

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When I was growing up in Eau Claire (where Menards started), they were a simple lumber yard. No better, no worse than any other.
I see they've become more like a chain homecenter.

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