Working his way through college, John Menard, Jr. began working on post frame buildings to help pay his bills. Within a year, he found that he was hiring crews to handle the extra workload. After graduating college, Menard purchased some land for an office and a shop.
Menards was founded in 1960 by John Menard, Jr in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The company incorporated in 1962.
In 1969, Menard found that there was a demand for even more products and services. He added manufacturing capabilities to the site, including lumber and doors. A distribution center was also added. By 1994, the post frame building division of the company was sold.
In 1998, a second distribution center was opened in Plano, Illinois. This was followed by 2 more distribution centers in 2007 in Holiday City, Ohio, and Shelby, Iowa. The Ohio distribution center is nearly 700 square feet and the one in Iowa boasts 735,000 square feet!
In 2013, Menards was ranked as the 43rd largest private company by Forbes Magazine. It is the third largest home improvement store, trailing behind Home Depot and Lowe’s.
In 2016, the company moved up the list, now ranking 37th on the Forbes list, along with an estimated annual revenue of $8.7 billion.
The company has been involved in numerous disputes concerning violation of environmental regulations. One that occurred in 2011 found that the company was illegally dumping hazardous waste. Menards paid a fine of $30,000.
Menards also settled complaints filed with the National Labor and Safety Board, which found that the company was violating the rights of workers in regards to pay and firing practices. The company agreed to make changes, but this paves the way for a nationwide, class action lawsuit from employees.
In July 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Menards posted that they will require all shoppers to wear a mask or other type of face covering as of July 13, 2020.