Our History at Menards®
Our History
Menards® started from an idea. In early 1958, the farm industry was being revolutionized by more mechanized and convenient dairy systems, which created a demand for low-cost agricultural buildings to house stock and machinery. John Menard Jr., the founder of the company, noticed this need and began to develop an idea for a pole building business.

As a means to finance his education, John Menard Jr. decided to make his dream a reality. After picking up some building knowledge in the summer of 1958, he spent his days working on his first pole buildings and his nights working at a local movie theater while contracting other buildings to keep his crew working.
By the summer of 1959, several buildings had been erected in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin area and the Menard name was gaining a reputation. This early success prompted the purchase of the first major piece of equipment: a 1946 Chevrolet truck. This truck and an old Ford tractor were the only equipment used throughout 1959. Due to the increasing demand for Menard pole buildings, it became necessary to purchase more equipment and take on additional crews. Advertising literature was circulated throughout the state. The demand grew to such proportions that when John graduated from college and could devote all of his time to the business, Menards® was formed with John Menard Jr. as president and major stockholder. It was at this time the first land was purchased and a small office and shop were erected on the Eau Claire site.
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Prospective pole building customers often inquired about purchasing lumber and building materials. Realizing the consumer need for a building materials outlet, Menards® began to sell materials to the public on a cash-and-carry basis. This was the very beginning of Menard Cashway Lumber.

In 1969, the manufacturing and warehousing functions were added to the company, beginning with the Truss Plant. Since then, more plants have been added to manufacture steel siding and roofing, beautiful interior and exterior doors, state-of-the-art composite decking, environmentally-friendly treated lumber, stone and block, engineered roof and floor trusses, fasteners and countertops.

The sale of the Menard Building Division in 1994 ended nearly three-and-a-half decades of pole barn construction and paved the way for even greater expansion in retail home improvement centers.
The Eau Claire Distribution Center served all the stores until 1998, when a second Distribution Center opened in Plano, Illinois. Facilities have been opened in Holiday City, Ohio and Shelby, Iowa as well. These facilities have enabled the company to develop into one of the largest retail organizations in the industry.

Today, Menards® is recognized as the retail home center leader of the Midwest with stores in 14 states.
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