West-side Menards store is among chain's largest

03/01/2011 12:00 AM

03/01/2011 6:31 AM

West Wichita shoppers can now get a gallon of milk and a two-by-four under the same roof.

Menards, the national home improvement retailer, opened the first of its two Wichita stores this morning at 37th and Maize Road.

A second Wichita location at K-96 and Webb Road is scheduled to open in mid-April.

The west-side Menards is a "mega-store," according to store manager Mike Anderson — about 240,000 square feet including overhangs.

The store will have between 130 and 180 employees, depending on the season.

"It's the largest layout at Menards that we do," Anderson said. "We get to have everything in it."

The Menards opening is further proof that west Wichita isn't finished growing commercially, said the area's city councilman, Jeff Longwell.

"I think it just exemplifies what we've been trying to accomplish by encouraging growth out west," Longwell said.

"They recognize the climate is perfect for businesses to come into west Wichita and be successful, even during some of the worst economic times."

Menards trumpets itself as a low-price home improvement retailer.

"We want to be able to provide people with everything they need," Anderson said.

"And lots of things in between."

That includes a "necessities" grocery store that includes "just about everything but a fresh meat market and produce," Anderson said.

"Yes, you can get a gallon of milk and a two-by-four here, and lots of people have done that over the years," he said, laughing.

And a house. Or a commercial building. Or a tree.

Departments include building materials, pet supplies, appliances, housewares and paint. The store has a full outdoor lumber yard.

There's an in-house estimator for projects.

And a full garden center, with trees and shrubs in stock at the opening.

What you won't find at Menards, Anderson said, is the blank stare from clerks when a shopper needs assistance.

"We work really hard at staffing our stores, at the staff and the amount of help," Anderson said. "Guest services is very important to us."

Clerks are heavily trained in each department about the products they sell, he said.

And the company is intent that shoppers get in and out quickly. There are huge signs at every register pledging that if two or more customers are waiting to pay, Menards will open another cash register.

"The end of your visit is as important as anything here," Anderson said.

A family-owned company formed in 1960 to sell pole buildings, Menards operates 255 stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Hours at the west Wichita store are 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

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