Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Groceries at Menards?

Something odd is up at Menards. The regional home improvement giant may now be entering the grocery business. Yep, you heard me right...groceries at Menards. The chain is advertising for "grocery specialist" positions at stores in St. Cloud, Hutchison, and Grand Forks. Crazy!

A reader just sent me this news via an email tip. This is the first I had heard of this odd news. Has anyone else heard anything about groceries at Menards? Any Mendards employees out there?

Thanks again to the tipster!

Update - 1/18/2007 - 12:30 AM
Read John Edison's story in Thursday's Herald.

In other grocery store news, Leevers is no longer open 24 hours a day. Hmmm...could that have something to with that retail behemoth on the south side? It's too bad, really. It would be nice to see a 24 hour grocery store in both the south and north parts of town.

40 comments:

Peder Rice said...

http://www.leadertelegram.com/story.asp?id=76560

Menard's has already begun selling groceries at their flagship store.

C. Y. said...

They are putting in coolers/freezers and stocking the shelves in the GF Menards.

GrandForksGuy said...

Groceries at Menards...this is very interesting. I haven't been in the store for a couple of weeks. Does anybody now how large of a grocery section our Menards is going to have? What part of the store are they converting? Will they carry perishable products too?

dale said...

This makes little sense, unless:

a) They're going to carry stuff no one else does

or

b) They're going to sell it cheaper

I can't see them doing either one, but who knows? If someone wants to make money on groceries, they should open a store on University west of the interstate. Those guys have to go a long ways to buy food.

Libertas said...

What will they sell? Wood"chips"?

Sorry.

Yeah, I talked to an "associate" a couple weeks ago while in Menards and he confirmed the madness.

Ridiculous. I am boycotting all the big box stores. Menards was the straw that broke this camel's back.

And... the "associate" at Menards told me that not too many of his fellow "associates" were pleased about the addition of groceries.

Seriously, what next? Lingerie at Lowes?

If I were calling into Garage Logic, this would definitely be an "End of the World."

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the big anti Wal-Mart critics. This falls into that same category. I'm not anti Wal-Mart, or anti hotpockets at Menards. I'm just very bummed out that my fellow citizens support these types of operations. But, then again, I'm one of those "shop the outside aisles of the market" pussies.

Health and well being for all!!!
Local businesses too.

ben said...

Spaghetti noodles and garage doors...weird!

GrandForksGuy said...

You have to admit that it is a little cool that the corporation is using the GF store (along with the St. Cloud and Hutchinson stores) as a test market for something which they may roll out to their entire chain.

I wonder how successful a grocery department in a home improvement store really can be. Surely they won't be offering fresh meat or prouduce?

In recent years, Menards has branched out more than the two other home improvement giants. In my opinion, Home Depot is boring and Lowes isn't much better. Menards has set themselves apart by adding unusual departments like health and beauty, household chemicals and paper products, home decor, books, greeting cards...things you just wouldn't find at the other two stores. Adding groceries is really "thinking outside of the box".

Libertas said...

Goodness GFG, you didn't just use the most atrocious and overused phrase in business, "thinking outside the box?" Come on, get a pair and admit that Menards selling groceries, in whatever fashion, is not "outside of the box," it is following right in line with the current business model of large chain stores... let's try to sell everything, including the kitchen sink.

Quite interesting quote that just came out of my television, "We could sell batteries if we wanted to but that would be inappropriate." So said Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks, on Charlie Rose (literally moments ago).

dale said...

Again, the logic fails me. Menards isn't Walmart. I guess that they're trying to be, but I fail to see what the hook is.

My personal experience is that their prices are too high, and they treat everyone who walks in the door like a shoplifter. There's no less friendly place in town. How is that going to compete against Target, Walmart or a straight grocery.

I can imagine the logic of the meeting where this came out... sales aren't increasing... have to "maximize customer visit value"... "think outside the box!" "I know, let's sell groceries, so that the odd person who needs to make two stops only has to make one."

I can also imagine the annoyance the accounting department was faced with... "okay, we need to stock a hardware store with perishable, low traffic items. And make that profitable."

Unless there's a compelling reason (variety or prices,) no one is going to Menards specifically to buy groceries, in the same way that no one would specifically go to Hugo's to buy a reciprocating saw, if they chose to stock them. And reciprocating saws don't go bad... cereal and cheese do.

Dumb decision.

Anonymous said...

Thinking outside the box? Really? It's very simply two things...One Stop Shopping and snagging some Impulse Buys.

I wonder if The Plain Brown Wrapper is concerned about their next potential move? (Makes about as much sense)

Matthew said...

If Plain Brown Wrapper started selling groceries, I would shop there all the time. It would be great to have a grocery store downtown where I could walk to it.

mattfacingsouth said...

Nobody will use Menards for groceries because nobody wants to wade through the traffic in that parking lot only to find a spot a half a mile away.

And God forbid they try to locate an employee to help them when they can't find hash browns.

JGS said...

Walk a half mile? Isn't that the same at Wal-Mart and Target but with 2x worse parking spots?

ben said...

I would say that in my experience parking at Menards is actually worse than either of those other stores.

GrandForksGuy said...

I've never had trouble finding a decent spot at Menards. As far as customer service, Menards employees aren't very friendly, but then what store has decent customer service these days anyways? It's a shame, really.

Stop beating up on me for saying Menards selling groceries is "thinking outside the box"! You're gonna make me all sad! :(

I just meant that, while it may be a totally stupid idea, it is a rather interesting idea. That said, I don't see them having much success either...

Anonymous said...

Menards will just sell generic food just like they sell generic tools, wood and everything else

Anonymous said...

I don't know what kind of provisions they will make for more checkouts, but believe me if I have a project to do for a quick in and out purchase, and have to wait in a long line with people buying groceries, it won't take long to use Lowe's for a pit stop.

GrandForksGuy said...

I went to Menards this evening and I have to say I was pretty impressed with their new grocery department. Obviously it is very small and selection is limited, but they offer a relatively wide variety of items. Everything seems to be national brands and it was set up rather nicely.

On a side note, looks like a large portion of the store is be redone or "refixtured".

Former Menard's "Associate" in College years said...

As a former Menards employee...probably about 4 or 5 years ago while in college, I can say that store started going down in quality the moment the new store manager, "Mike E." arrived. Because of this man, many good quality college employees left the store. I have been back since, and agree that the service is HORRIBLE and I too felt like a criminal walking around. For the record, I have shopped at Lowes ever since they opened.

C. Y. said...

I have a relative working at Leevers and they are limiting their hours because it's too hard to hire workers for the over night hours. It sounds like it's also hard to keep the inventory from "disappearing" during that same timeframe.

LALS said...

What an interesting idea...groceries at Menards. I don't go to Menards on a regular basis but I can't think of a bad experience. I do know that it is my father's favorite store, he would probably buy groceries there. It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.
An Irish pub will be a fun addition downtown and create a little extra variety with a different atmosphere than what is currently located in that building.
By the way, I had heard rumors about a piano bar a while ago, but I don't see any change in the building...so maybe not--too bad.

Anonymous said...

The Eau Claire West Menards sells more milk than the Target SuperCenter that is right next door to it.

I work for Menards and anything that boosts their profits is fine with me.

You may think that Menards is turning into a "big box store" but, unlike Walmart, Menards treats their employees very well.

We make great money for the work that we do, receive bonuses, and gifts from them on an annual basis.


Whatever they want to do is fine with me as long as they keep treating their employees with the respect we deserve.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous? What is your opinion of local GF Menards management? Namely: M.E.????

Anonymous said...

Kevin from Findlay,Ohio
Menards in Findlay has been doing alot of remodeling re:moving shelves around for more room...
soon, it will be so clustered you wont be able to move around.

Anonymous said...

HEY GUYS! Yes menards sells groceries! i work at menards that carries groceries in blaine, minnesota and i have to tell you im very excited about it. Menards is becoming a great one stop shopping center. although i have heard alot of feed back from guests explaining that it is "annoying", and "dissapointing." but then again there are alot of guests that are very excited. The grocery department is about the size of anyother depatment and offers just about any food item you can think of even dairy! overall i am ver excited about this expansion and i hope it grows to become greatly appreciated by all menards guests!

Anonymous said...

Business is plain business. I currently work at Menards, but I don't agree with those saying that Menard employees aren't friendly... we get our asses busted for not being friendly, at least in my store because it's good on sales.

Now we don't sell groceries, but it wouldn't be a bad idea. Why stop at a Jewel when you can pick up some milk while shopping? It'll be a waste of time and who wants to go from store to store?

Trust me, there are a lot of "helpful" employees that will help you find hash browns... how big do you expect the grocery department to be? You won't get lost in it!

I've been to Home Depot and that is the worst store to shop. Those employees run away whenever they see a customer and if you need help finding a product they show you the isle, nothing else... You want bad customer service, shop at HD and stop complaining about groceries at Menards.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you have to take a look back and see the whole picture. Did you think that hey this might be a great benefit for the employees too. After the stores close at 9 or 10 pm and an employee wants to get milk before going home do you think they want to stop at the store at 10:30 after working all night. Also what about helping team members with lunch breaks. I'm sure not all employees have time to pack and with only a 30 minute lunch break it only makes since to have food available for them. What a great benefit, I bet alot more people are buying groceries there than you think.

Anonymous said...

Well actually, Menards is stepping in to do this to offer a few items that are usually wanted ie. bread, milk, and small other product. Items that are used and bought frequently. From inventory lists that i have seen at the store, there will be frozen pizza and hamburger helper. Many items will also be for the employees if they so choose to have for their lunch. It is just exploring a new market and is a sensible idea when you have so many competitors. It is also not just the GF Menards, there are many doing it, the store near me is in Council Bluffs Iowa. So it is being tested everywhere. In essence they do it to offer goods to everyone, and to make profits. This is also good considering the thousands of people that they employee.

CreditMom said...

Hmmm...Groceries at Menards...very interesting. I have never been in the store, really. And to my mind, to make money on groceries, they should not open a store on University west of the interstate as somebody said. Those students can't earn profit for them.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

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.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is an old blog and will probably go unread. In fact, I was going to just "browse away" (as opposed to walk away), but I decided I do have something to say about all this.

Yes, there are now groceries. Was it a good move? I assume the rats and mice will have plenty to feed on now.

I would like to address some issues. First and foremost Menards employees are not totally unfriendly. You should assume--especially on the weekend that most the employees practically move in. Probably a bit tired since around 40 hours will be spent at work in 3.5 days Secondly--as someone else mentioned, the grocery area is not that big, if you are looking for hashbrowns (or any other item) you probably haven't looked hard enough for them!

I realize that you are only one person and that you are unknowingly asking the same questions that 500 customers before you asked, but please give some consideration to the fact that many employees at menards are putting in long hours and are mainly fed up with babysitting and hand-holding that seems to go hand in hand with "great" customer service.

Secondly, you are not treated as shoplifters. Those security cameras are not there for you, they are there so the headquarters can check up on the employees. So they can see if there are enough carts, enough checkouts open, if anyone is eating on the sales floor, if anyone is loitering about the store, you name it they can see it.

So I would say the next time you are not treated like a menards employee's best friend, read up on the treatment of menards employees, think about the circumstances in which they work and ask yourself if you could actually do the job and be buddies with everyone that walked in the door.

Anonymous said...

Damn straight with the above comment!! I've worked for menards coming up on 5 years, and I must say this is true about the guests, long hour, and cameras. The company really does use the cameras more for the employees then shoplifting. Also, yeahp, you're right.. guests will not come to Menards for groceries, it's for the guys who forgot to go to the grocerry store for their wifes, and need to pick up the milk!!

lastAutumn said...

It was a pleasure to read so many comments! In fact, I like the idea of groceries at Menard's as it is convenient and economic for me: I have their rewards credit plastic! Didn't know Menard's was treating their emplyees badly...

Sharlotte said...

Menards is a chain of home improvement stores. I found out that your blog concerns the company. I did not have a chance to personally deal with the products and the services of Menards, but I did read a lot about it. The reviews are more negative, than positive. Consumers are not happy with the quality of goods and maintenance services. Check out www.pissedconsumer.com for more information.

Anonymous said...

"The reviews are more negative, than positive. "

Well that's what I would expect on pissedconsumer.com or whatever it is...

All I can speak of is my experience with the big box stores, and in my book, Menards beats down Lowes and Home Depot). I'd say 90% of my interaction with employees have been positive. The only negatives were younger HS types that had weren't sure where several items were (understandable to some extent).

Coffee Guy said...

I have decided to shop at Lowes as much as I can over Menards. Every single time I've been at the Menards paint department I have to get their attention, despite the fact that they are talking it up 5 feet away. I have said "Excuse me, may I have a little help?" to the guys behind the counter on several occasions. They never even acknowledge my presence with an "I'll be right with you, sir." Then, when I have been helped, it was with a gruff and unfriendly attitude.

I've also gotten poor service in other parts of the store.

I've spoken to 2 others who have done extensive home improvements this year, and they have the same feelings as me.

Tough working conditions? Deal with it, or get another job. Don't take it out on the customer.

what i know said...

Make that 3 others, Coffee Guy. I go to Lowe's first, and then to Menard's only if absolutely necessary. I have story after story about customer service at Menard's, none of them ending with "And they lived happily ever after."

OUWxGuesser said...

It's crazy how experience can vary from person to person... it seems like I'm always shaking off employees in the paint dept (which I've been to quite a bit with the recent house painting). I do recall one individual that was pretty clueless, but other than that, no complaints. Has anyone had carpeting done through Lowes? How are the installers?

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