Sunday, September 09, 2007

I LOVE Menards!

I hate to endorse any huge chain store, but, I have to admit I'd be LOST without our local Menards. Before Menards came to our little town, 15 years ago, we were limited to our 2 local lumber yards and 2 hardware stores. You may ask why a town of 8,000 would need a Menards, when we already had these other stores. I'll tell you why.

Our locally owned lumber yards won't let you pick your lumber. They insist on picking and loading it for you. The problem with this system is that you wind up with the scabbiest, crooked, knothole-laced lumber you've ever seen. Our lumber yards save the good stuff for their contractor clientele. I've bought seconds at Menards that are in better shape than the lumber I get from our local yards! Before Menards came to town, L and I would travel 3 hours to Duluth to shop at Knox lumber, whenever we did a big project. We actually saved money, and got better lumber this way.

Our lumber yards also didn't carry any molding or trim. If you wanted quarter-round, cove molding, or baseboard; you had to special order it. Menards carries a whole room FULL of pre-finished molding, in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. They have a second room FULL of unfinished wood trim.

Our local hardware stores, which have folded since Menards came to town, were also inept. Both of these stores quit carrying bulk screws and nails. EVERYTHING was sold in small blister packs. They also quit carrying basic wiring and plumbing supplies. We COULD place a special order for wire, pipe, electrical boxes, etc. BUT, we had to buy a whole case of anything that was ordered.

At Menards, I can pick my own lumber, buy ONE electrical box, ONE piece of PVC or 10 ft of flexpipe, buy nails or screws in a 5 lb box, find a replacement globe for ANY of my light fixtures, individual toilet replacement parts, wire, conduit, or choose from hundreds of wiring and plumbing doo-dads.

I can also buy sidewalk blocks, landscape timbers or stones, several types of mulch, paving sand, many varieties of fencing, toilets, sinks, faucets, light fixtures, ANY type of light bulb, range-hood filters, batteries, saw blades, drill bits, carpet, vinyl, wood, or laminate flooring, throw rugs, pet supplies, ductwork and registers, cleaning supplies, computer software, DVDs, snack food, and a fabulous array of holiday decorations.

And TOOLS! Don't get me started on the TOOLS! This summer, I bought a 19v cordless drill-driver, with a 500 piece accessory set and hardside case for $24.95! This was a no-name drill, but it was made in the USA!

Menards has a unique marketing hook, in the form of rebates. Every week, their flyer offers various items on sale with a rebate. Menards makes the rebate process quite easy. Your store receipt prints out individual proofs-of-purchase, with the rebate number printed on them. With rebate numbers in hand, you then go to the wall of rebate coupons and select the coupons you need. Within 3 weeks, you receive a Menards merchandise rebate check in the mail.

Many of the rebate items wind up costing NOTHING! Just a few of the items I've purchased this way are:
500 tealight candles:FREE
2-8x10 tarps:FREE
4-4oz scented jar candles:FREE
wooly car wash mitt:FREE
2 collapsible, insulated 6-pack coolers: $1/each
2 microfiber cleaning cloths: $.50/each
a set of 24 drill bits:$.88
2- 2ftx3ft anti-fatigue rubber floor mats: $1/each
numerous throw rugs, ranging from FREE-$5
dog biscuits:FREE
many light bulbs:FREE
32 AA alkaline batteries: $1.99
package of 4 paintbrushes: FREE

Menards also has fantastic sales on discontinued items. We got 2 boxes of self-stick floor tile, for our bathrooms, for $.12/sq ft.

This week, I bought 2-4 ft fluorescent shop light fixtures, for our garage, for $5.99/each. Now THAT'S a DEAL!

Like any store, you need to know your prices and the quality of certain items..."Let the buyer beware!", but all in all I'm extremely satisfied with my Menards shopping experiences.


At 9/09/2007 10:50 AM, Blogger Courtney said...

But do they sell used toilets?

There was a Menards in my hometown and I never felt like I was walking into a large chain. It still felt like a mom-n-pop, just a large (square footage wise) mom-n-pop.

At 9/09/2007 11:01 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Nope, only far. ;)

Our Menards has that feel too. I thought it was just because we're a small town and know most of the employees.

At 9/09/2007 11:34 AM, Blogger Squirl said...

We have one of those locally-owned lumber yards here, too. They did, and still do, cater to the contractors. Luckily for us, a Home Depot opened right across the street from them.

Home Depot is only three easy-walking blocks from our house. In fact, Ichabod just walked there this morning when we realized the drips on the washer in the basement were coming from the toilet. Ick, new seal time. It's fixed now.

HD was also really handy for the new yard. I do shop at chain stores and love this type. The hardware/lumber stores that want to cater to the contractors don't need my money.

At 9/09/2007 12:18 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Squirl, that's what I LOVE about home improvement chain stores; you can get everything in one stop: yard supplies, plumbing, cleaning products, lumber, etc!

I realize that we don't spend $20,000/trip at the lumber yard like the contractors, but we have been spending around $2,000/yr at Menards. Besides, our Menards employs more locals than both of the lumber yards put together. I'll take my money where it's appreciated!

We need to replace the bolts and seals on our 21-yr-old toilet before we wind up with a disaster. L isn't looking forward to this chore.

At 9/09/2007 12:38 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

I remember commercials for Mendard's!!!

We had a store chain like that in the GWN too. Pascal's.

Wow that place rocked.

At 9/09/2007 12:43 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Bridg, LOL, anybody who's EVER seen a Menards commercial will remember it! The commercials are excessively loud, with a narrator with an extremely annoying voice, and a LAME theme song!

At 9/09/2007 1:45 PM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Way for the lumber yards to lose business. Sheesh.

I have come to despise Home Depot. I am now actually turning to the local hardware stores, because they usually have what I need (and Home Depot has been bad in that regard recently) and the people there are way more helpful. My 2 local Home Depots have gone down the tubes recently.

I haven't had to buy lumber though. Home Depot was good (way back when we needed some lumber) because we could pick what we wanted.

I've heard that Lowe's rocks.

At 9/09/2007 1:46 PM, Blogger MonicaR said...

P.S. GOOD shopping deals!! lol. I love getting a good bargain - it's a rush.

At 9/09/2007 1:49 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

You're lucky. We don't have them here. We have Home Depot, where you get horrible service. I hate them with a passion, so I'd rather pay more and drive farther than deal with their crap.

You do into Home Depot and start carrying some lumber, watch all the employees pretend that they're busy with someone else.

At 9/09/2007 4:17 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Tools, screws, molding, ug, ug, ug, me like hardware stores! *chest pounding* Glad you have one that works for you. We've got ACE, Lowe's, Home Depot, and 84 Lumber, not to brag or anything.

At 9/09/2007 8:27 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Monica & ZS, sometimes the service isn't all that great at our Menards. It depends who's working.
I rarely need help as I usually know what I want, and where it is.
I've never been to a Home Depot or Lowes.

Monica, I get excited about bargains too. It takes so little to amuse me. ;)

VV, go ahead, rub it in about all the choices you have! ;)
It's actually worse than you think. The only place to buy underwear in town is Kmart. :(
AND we don't have a bookstore.

At 9/09/2007 9:04 PM, Blogger Pam said...

I kid you not, on the tv in the background as I read your post, an ad for Menards just came on. "Save big money at Menards!"

I love that place too. I used to get power tools for Mothers Day!

At 9/09/2007 11:16 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Courtney: Never heard of used toilets for sale. However, there are stores in strayer where re cycled bog paper is on sale, its appearancce looks decidedly suspicious, it being a sort of light brown color and cheap in comparison to other bleached brands. Question is: "How do they do it".

At 9/10/2007 7:10 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

We have Menards, Home Depot, Lowes here and a few others that are great. I have only been in two of them for small stuff but next year we are planning on going into one of them to get Fencing stuff. We still want to Fence in our yard.

At 9/10/2007 10:34 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

We don't have Menards up here, of course. In my area, very rural, we have a couple of local people and a Home Hardware, which is pretty good. Our little local hardware store is iffy.

Vest: I believe recycled bog paper is not actually bog paper recycled. It's made from other recycled paper. Use your loaf, man.

At 9/10/2007 4:40 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Pam, aren't those ads annoying?!
Tools and appliances are some of the best gifts I've ever received. I told my guys that I want a vise for Mother's Day next year. We should have the workbench in our garage built by then.

Tweets, as a homeowner, you'll be spending a LOT of time and money in those stores in the coming years.

WC, we're in a rural area too, so we're lucky to have Menards. There are several small towns within 20 miles of us which gives them more shoppers too.

At 9/10/2007 5:01 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

ZS I can't stand HD either. They delivered a dishwasher with a crack in it to a co-worker, and refused to take it back or discuss compensation. Of course they don't install...etc. Useless.

At 9/10/2007 7:18 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

I love love hardware stores. I wish we could get a Menard. Ours are "ok." This one sounds great.

Perhaps the others will sharpen up a bit now.

At 9/11/2007 6:52 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

We are going to start this spring hopefully. We have decided to wait on the sliding door but we want a deck and the fence at least.

At 9/11/2007 10:02 AM, Blogger Cherie said...

Oh sing the praises of a good home improvement store! We don't have a Menards, but we have an excellent locally owned HUMONGOUS home improvement store here. Actually, there are three. Wonderful to have all that stuff at hand - including the power tools.

Your description is fantastic! I can almost see your eyes all lit up as you type.

Must confess again, though, after this summer, I'm sorta sick of the place.........sigh. Glad it's there though. Would have been beastly to be without it with all this work to do.

At 9/11/2007 6:55 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Bridg, that's HORRIBLE!! I won't buy appliances at Menards. Just about all of them on display have dents and scratches.

Gardenia, it's been 15 yrs and they still haven't sharpened up. :(

Tweets, a fence isn't as important as insulating your attic.

Cherie, I'd feel better about Menards if they were locally owned.

You're right. My eyes always light up when I get a good deal.

I'd much rather be shopping for cute little doo-dads right now, instead of lumber, insulation, and all that other stuff that requires back-breaking labor. Z and I just got back from our 3rd trip to Menards this week. :(

At 9/11/2007 10:18 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Bridget - I got a million stories about bad service from there. I stopped going there years ago and won't even step foot in there. Hate that place. I'd rather pay the extra 10-15% and get service at OSH. At OSH, they don't run away from you and pretend to be busy when you're carrying something heavy.

At 9/12/2007 7:10 AM, Blogger Cherie said...

You and Z have my sympathy.

; D

At 9/12/2007 4:42 PM, Blogger SME said...

We don't even have Menards. *pout* But we do get a lot of free stuff at the grocery store, where you can redeem your stupid card points for a can of tuna or whatever.

At 9/13/2007 8:19 AM, Blogger Candace said...

Oh, we had Menards in WI. Mollusc was enchented by the "colourful potties" when she was 2 or 3. ^_^

And, yes, picking out your own lumber is a HUGE deal since so much of it is just crap. :-P

You got some fantastic deals! Wow!

At 9/13/2007 11:23 PM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Tshsmom, a beautiful award has been bestowed upon you!

Nice Matters.

Sorry - but atleast it's true for you! I got it - I'm not sure how. lol!

At 9/14/2007 7:02 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Unfortunately I think the small mom-n-pop store where people know what they're talking about is a thing of the past. I remember our old hardware stores being really good - but I wonder if that was a function of time (they were better back then) or competition (they had to be good because there were several other choices). I'm not sure competition breeds quality though, since we have 4 Home Despots, 1 Menards, and 1 Lowe's store all within about a 5-10 mile radius and they are all pretty bad. But I'm glad they've brought some quality to your neck of the woods...

At 9/14/2007 2:21 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Picking your own lumber is a MUST.

At 9/14/2007 5:31 PM, Blogger SME said...

Candace, that's funny...Z was so mesmerized by the ceiling light display when he was a baby he would throw his head back and gape the whole time we were in the store. Fortunately he outgrew that. ;D

Mom, you've been awarded/tagged!

At 9/15/2007 7:56 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ZS, service isn't always great at our Menards either. I'm a self-service type of person, so I rarely need help.

Cherie, THANKS! I know you understand. ;)

SME, be nice to me and maybe I'll send you one of our free candles.

Candace, SME beat me to the punch. Z LOVED to cruise the lighting aisle when he was little! When he was a toddler "Nards" was his favorite store. The checkout girls used to say that he should be on their commercials.

Thanks Monica! You ARE nice!

Laura, I agree. Our Menards isn't great on service, but they offer the products we need. It beats the hell out of driving 3 hours to Duluth!


SME, now Z heads straight for the DVDs and discount computer software.

At 9/15/2007 2:32 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Well, it may not be good at Menards, but at Home Depot, it's really bad. People will literally try to look busy if you're carrying a lot of stuff. And the people are rude. I have no time for rudeness, especially to people I'm about to fork over several hundred dollars to.

At 9/25/2007 7:50 PM, Blogger pleasedconsumer said...


Thank you for your blog. It is great.
I stumbled upon your blog as I was looking for consumer reviews about menards.

You may be interested also to review articles that I found right before yours.

At 10/13/2007 9:24 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Wand/coy: Alias W C, well I would never have guessed, what a fool I am to think Nth Ams Actually Recycled their Dunny bum wipers. They prpbably would if only they could remove the smell.
I was under the impression tshs recyled everything. even dedbods,
"Soylent Green anyone"?
tshs, "did you get Hairry some of that bonerall"?
I shall send the advert to you shortly.


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