Hardware Retailing

MAY 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2018 154 360 The History of Menards 1964 Retail Outlet The first Menards retail location, called Menard Cashway Lumber at the time, opens in Eau Claire. 1963 Business Acumen Menard graduates from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a degree in business administration. 8 1962 Big-Box Boom Menard incorporates 3 the company in Eau Claire the same year Walmart 1 and Target 2 open their first retail stores. 1958 In the Beginning John Menard starts a business constructing pole buildings in his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The year 1962 was a busy one in American retail. That year, entrepreneur Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas; 1 in Minneapolis, the first Target retail store opened; 2 and John Menard incorporated Menards as a Wisconsin company. 3 Walmart would grow its discount model astronomically and permanently transform the way businesses buy, sell and transport products worldwide. Target became a national company known for its trendy products and strategic business partnerships with fashion designers and companies such as Starbucks. Both general merchandise retailers went on to become public companies with stockholders around the world. Throughout the nearly 50-year boom of discount retailers and home improvement competitors, Menard kept his business closer to the vest. He maintained controlling ownership, and as a result, kept the independence of growing and experimenting with retail concepts in relative privacy. 4 In the home improvement sector, Lowe's Cos. had been steadily growing in the Southeast for nearly two decades when Menards incorporated. Lowe's opened for business in 1946 and, just one year prior to Menards' incorporation, went public in 1961. 5 Home Depot entered the home improvement marketplace with two stores in 1979 and went public in 1981. 6 Menards was born out of a growing local demand for pole buildings. Menard began his business to serve the rapidly changing farm Timeline: From 1958 to the Present The source for the timeline entries is Menards.com, unless noted otherwise. 8 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association 9 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 10 Time magazine, March 19, 2013

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