I visited the new mega Menards in Golden Valley…and I’m still trying to find my way out of the spray paint section. No joke – there are 17 shades of black, alone. The new store on I-394 is literally double the size of the one it replaces–a whopping 250,000 square feet. A sign on a stainless steel dishwasher summed up Menards strategy at a time when most stores are downsizing: “We have hundreds more.”
This store is everything both mesmerizing and horrifying about our consumer culture. Why offer one garden glove when you can display 109? It’s all about options–for the things you need, and the many you don’t. Just around the corner from those gloves: 3-pound bags of Circus Peanuts.
Menards says they’ve figured us out. They know what we need, what we want, and what we’ll actually buy. Apparently, that includes 5-pound vats of Cheetos.
Last I spent a considerable amount of time in hardware stores was last fall when we replaced our mudroom carpet with tile. I visited a couple of flooring specialty stores, as well as Home Depot and Lowe’s. I spent even more time on their websites. Ultimately, I bought, in person, at Lowes (after confirming online that what I wanted was available). I didn’t consider Menards.
Next time I need a light fixture or a ladder or a major appliance, I would absolutely visit Mendards–perhaps even before Home Depot or Lowe’s, where–crazy as it sounds–it sometimes feels like they’ve edited down the choices to a handful of popular options. Menards is playing–astutely, it seems–on .com weariness. No matter how many online reviews you read about a refrigerator, it doesn’t replace swinging those double doors open in person. When you just want to get it done, knowing there’s a store that has “hundreds” of everything is compelling.
But beware, the Cheetos.