Janesville73.7°

Menards set to open

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JAMES P. LEUTE
May 17, 2008
— After months of planning, demolition, the moving of a sacred cow and finally construction, the new Menards Mega Store will open Tuesday in Janesville.

At 250,000 square feet, the new store sits at the site of the former Janesville Oasis and Ramada Inn near the intersection of Interstate 90 and Milton Avenue. It’s more than twice the size of the existing Menards on Pontiac Drive.


“We’re fired up and ready to go,” said Jeff Tucholke, the store’s general manager.


For the past five weeks, employees have been staffing the old store and getting the new store ready for Tuesday’s opening, which Tucholke said has been a “major undertaking.”


New product has been arriving daily for the last there weeks.


Recent sales at the Pontiac Drive store have put a major dent in that store’s inventory, and that’s by design, said Tucholke, who has managed Menards’ operation in Janesville for more than 14 years.


“Pretty much everything in the new store will be new product,” he said, noting the inefficiencies and timing issues associated with packing inventory at the existing store and moving it to the new one.


The new store will add about 50 people to Menards’ payroll in Janesville, he said. About 130 staff the Pontiac Drive store, which will stay open for about 10 days after the new store opens so product can be moved out and fixtures are removed.


Employees have been trained on the new product lines and the store’s new layout. They’ll get additional training when customers start showing up. Tucholke said one of the store’s credos is to “smile and walk guests to the product.”


The new store will feature 40,000 more products than the old, and shoppers will navigate wider aisles, he said.


The store also will feature a garden center as well as grocery and pet items. A full-size lumberyard wraps around the store’s exterior to the rear.


“Everyone should come out and see all of the new things we have in this beautiful store,” Tucholke said. “We plan to provide the best in home improvement products and services for everyone in the area for many years to come.”


The family-owned Menards started in 1960 and now operates 239 home improvement stores in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.


Del Taco, a Mexican restaurant, recently opened near the new Menards, and city officials are working to attract other stores to the area.


They continue their search for a developer for the existing Menards’ property, which first opened in 1984.


One developer expressed interest earlier this year but has since withdrawn it.



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