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
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
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.