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Rumblings of Menards coming to Lawrence may be impacted by retailer's decision to pull back on Kansas City area expansion, which it blames on Obama

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There have been rumblings for awhile that Menards — the home improvement chain — may be giving Lawrence a serious look. Well, here’s a new rumbling that may displease Lawrence folks on a couple of levels.

The Independence, Mo., Examiner is reporting that Menards has put its plans to build a new store in Independence on hold. Furthermore, it said its reason for delaying a store for reasons related to President Obama.

“I’m very sorry, but we are a family-owned business and with the Obama administration scaring the dickens out of all small businesses in the USA at present, we have decided not to risk expansion until things are more settled,” Menards spokesman Jeff Abott told the newspaper in an e-mail on Friday.

Yeah, you heard that right. A spokesman used the word “dickens.” (I wonder if Menards sells dickens, and if they are cheaper there than at Home Depot.)

Regardless, the bigger news is that if Menards is delaying projects they already have announced, then the chances of an announcement happening in Lawrence in the near future seem less likely. Menards has offered no timetable to restart the project.

As a side note, the company’s politicizing of the issue probably won’t go over well with a majority of their potential Lawrence customers, since the city is one of the few in Kansas to come out big to support the president’s re-election.

On Tuesday, Kansas City television station KCTV 5 contacted the Wisconsin-based retailer for more comment, and the spokesman declined to repeat his assertion that the Obama administration played into the decision.

Anyway, I’ll leave those politics to you. I’m busy enough trying to figure out where all these scared dickens have gone.

Comments

Liberty275 1 year, 4 months ago

So menards is terrible. We don't want their jobs anyway.

The president of Dominos is suing the federal government over contraception. Now you folks on the left can tell us how bad Dominos pizza is.

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Milton Bland 1 year, 4 months ago

I really doubt if many business owners have time to comment on these articles. Before I sold my business and retired, I hardly had time to read the newspaper, let alone make comments. My guess is most of the folks commenting are public employees with time on their hands, or like me simply retired. And I am certainly glad I did not have to figure out how to keep my business afloat while facing all the obstacles that are out there today, especially Obamacare.

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 4 months ago

Menards would more likely go closer to the Johnson County line than Douglas County.

Retailers work in triangles!

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none2 1 year, 4 months ago

I took a look in Menard's a few months ago -- not too long after they opened up in Topeka. To be honest, I wasn't that impressed. It seemed like a partial convenience store (with things such as breakfast cereal) and cheap merchandise. I don't mean to make comparisons, but it looked like a fat Ace Hardware. Anyway, unless they had some big sale on some one particular thing I just had to have (ie a fly swatter), I couldn't see myself shopping there even if I had business in west Topeka.

That being said, my needs are not the same as other's. Maybe some very dedicated home improvement individuals just love to get their breakfast cereal when they get their nails and lumber. Maybe some swear by cheap Asian products. S

However, I read up on Menards on wiki. I was rather shocked by their sense of corporate responsibility. It is one thing to claim that it is hard to do business because of all the regulations. It is another thing to violate good regulations because you don't care at all about what you do... There are examples of them incinerating "CCA"-treated lumber (has things such as chromium & arsenic it it), and then dumping it. (The CEO even brought some of it home and dumped it in his household trash.) They manufactured and sold mulch containing arsenic that stated safe for playgrounds and animal bedding. They had a company shop where they were dumping paint, solvents, oils etc into a regular drain that emptied into a lagoon where it eventually drained into a river. How can we ever cut back on EPA regulations when large companies like Menards show that they have no regard for any consequences to what they do?

Environmental infractions aren't the only thing they are sited on. The Wiki also points out that they have some bizarre system where you can be assessed fines against future earnings. For example, if you drive a company vehicle and are in a wreck, you are fined -- even if you are not found at fault.

The more I read, the less I had any desire to do business with this company nor shed a tear if they do not expand to this area. You can read their wiki here:

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tomatogrower 1 year, 4 months ago

If I can't get what I want from Cottins or Ace, then I go to Home Depot. If Menards would come to Lawrence, I probably wouldn't have shopped there anyway, but now never. Stay out of Lawrence Mennards.

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msezdsit 1 year, 4 months ago

So their real complaint is that they prefer not have healthy employees. Or, they would rather not pay them enough to afford health insurance. Or they would rather not help their employees be healthy as ACA could help them. There is a business plan for you.

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msezdsit 1 year, 4 months ago

I was going to go to topeka and check out their new store. Thanks for saving me the trip.

I know for sure Obama had nothing to do with me changing my mind and I know for sure menards did. Menards causing people not shop at their stores probably holds true across the board. Might as well get a faux news cheap shot in on Obama anyway, after all it didn't cost them anything they hadn't already cost themselves.

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geekin_topekan 1 year, 4 months ago

Well, we managed for over 150 years without Menard's. Let's go for double or nothing.

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thebcman 1 year, 4 months ago

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bisky1 1 year, 4 months ago

how dumb do you have to be to believe the published unemployment rates? With number that has chosen to not participate in the work force the real rate is well into the teens. Find something else to feel good about.

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blue73harley 1 year, 4 months ago

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Well, not really. I was just feeling left out.

When you are a Republican Wildcat Fan Commuter who lives in Lawrence and shops at evil stores like Walmart, Menard's and Hobby Lobby, life can get pretty lonely.

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oletimer 1 year, 4 months ago

Gosh I love reading all the garbage. On one side you have the obama lovers who say he can't do any wrong. Then you have the company haters who will talk smack on any company who thinks about coming to town. Menard's is not the first company that has shown fear about obama being re-elected. Yes, we have yet to really see, but the large number of companies fearing this can not be swept under the rug.

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Scut Farkus 1 year, 4 months ago

I lived in a town where Menard's came in and basically put the mom & pop hardware stores and lumber yards out of business. Unlike Walmart which always continues to be competitive, Menards prices kept creeping up until it became worthwhile to drive a 100 miles to a Home Depot. The store was always dusty and dirty and the selection was nowhere near that of a Lowes or Home Depot.

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RoeDapple 1 year, 4 months ago

Tell me again how much O-care will cost me if I don't carry any insurance . . . .

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rockchalker52 1 year, 4 months ago

Dang, wish I'd checked on this thread before the button man did. If they don't want folks jankin' around on these news stories, they oughta free the blogs.

R_I, a lotta people gonna need two of those 30 hr jobs. Societal regressions for the sake of larger profits.

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tange 1 year, 4 months ago

So, does Menards stock leotards? anything retro?

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Agnostick 1 year, 4 months ago

Feels a bit like the ol' back fence... 'cept with a couple of big holes in the bottom, for all the trolls to sneak in...

Hey, I'll bet Menard's has some good, sturdy fencing available to fix those holes!

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RoeDapple 1 year, 4 months ago

This reminds me of the old HWMNBN days . . . .

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The_Original_Bob 1 year, 4 months ago

It was all a misunderstanding. Nothing to see here.

Speaking of Menards, this sort of makes sense now. I've been getting weekly mailers from them for a couple of months even though the nearest store is in St. Joseph.

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The_Original_Bob 1 year, 4 months ago

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The_Original_Bob 1 year, 4 months ago

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Gandalf 1 year, 4 months ago

Small business used to mean Mom and Pop operations. Today it's the small corporations who ran them out.

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The_Original_Bob 1 year, 4 months ago

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autie 1 year, 4 months ago

Here, let me save you the trouble.

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roadrash 1 year, 4 months ago

"For the loser now will be later to win. For the times they are a changin" Get out of they way for new businesses if you can't run yours. And get out of the health care field!

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donttreadonme 1 year, 4 months ago

"srj33 minutes ago

John Menard Jr. 2008 net worth 5 Billion, 2012 6 Billion. He made a billion under Obama's presidency."

The horror! No wonder he hates Obamacare, he may not make another billion by 2016.

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donttreadonme 1 year, 4 months ago

"jayhawklawrence3 hours, 2 minutes ago

I recently visited Menards for the second time in Topeka and realized that my first evaluation of them was correct. They have a lot of really cheap (as in not good) stuff. They should change their name to China Cheap Imports."

So true.

We refer to Menards as the "Harbor Freight of Home Improvement."

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Steve Jacob 1 year, 4 months ago

John Menard Jr. 2008 net worth 5 Billion, 2012 6 Billion. He made a billion under Obama's presidency.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

The local market cannot support a Menards any more than a Lowes. Kansas has the 9th highest sales tax in the nation which makes Lawrence a stiff sales tax as well. Add in the "secret sales taxes" around town likely puts Lawrence at about 11%.

Menard's shareholders would be the losers.

Business unfriendly or what?

The fed should raise rates on developers to stifle reckless building habits which keep property values stagnate or decreasing. Flooding the real estate markets is dumb economics.

Every community would be better off employing people to rehab sidewalks,streets and building inter urban walking/bike trails that get our children to school, people to work and play safely.

Let's tighten up the real estate markets in an effort to restore value. Let's improve the existing markets with projects such that was suggested above thus adding value.

If sales tax were reduced it would increase the taxes on just about all other tax supported services = still a major increase in the local cost of living. All tax dollar subsidies no matter what they are called are not affordable to local residents.

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Whatevs 1 year, 4 months ago

As someone with a small business I won't be hiring the expected 8-10 new employees until this Obamacare mess is settled. We will just make due with the existing staff and they will be paying a larger portion of their own health insurance.

He!! they just sprung an extra $63 per employee fee on us. Who do you think that helps? What will be the next tax, fee, or fine that they impose? No thanks, I'm just raising prices and riding this one out.

All of you experts may think this is no big deal since it's only a few people but it makes a huge difference to my bottom line and to the 10 people who still won't have jobs.

No one knows for sure what all of this mess is going to do to small businesses but you're a fool if you think we will be hiring any time soon or if you think I'm the only business doing this.

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autie 1 year, 4 months ago

Maybe the intent elluded to the 30 hour work week be the new norm since it won't be a benefit status for most, thus no health insurance eligibility through the company? Just guessing here. The big box theory is to have as many part timers as humanly possible so as to reduce those fixed cost. Now I might be more concerned about how Obama in office may affect the gorgonzola futures markets. Stinking cheese is mighty important to me.

Lawhorn? The furniture empire?

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blindrabbit 1 year, 4 months ago

Got up this morning at 6:00 a.m. not a zephyr blowing out here West of town; went out at 9:00 a.m., blowing like "dickens". Ruined my day, was going to do some yard clean-up and perhaps a little leaf raking, darn Obama policies. Must have kicked up some blow-hard coming out of Cedarcrest.

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Keith Richards 1 year, 4 months ago

So why were businesses expanding like crazy when both personal income and corporate tax rates were at least 10-20% higher just some 10-30 years ago?

When Menards was founded in 1962 their corporate tax rate was 52%, now it is 35% with more loopholes.

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The_Original_Bob 1 year, 4 months ago

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deec 1 year, 4 months ago

Business reticence might also be related to the wait to see if the GOP will push the nation off the fiscal cliff rather than exaggerated hype about ACA.

" However, the consensus remains that the broader economic turmoil, namely the heightening sense of uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff, is continuing to discourage business owners from investing in new employees."

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-07/business/35673031_1_surepayroll-business-owners-small-firms

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geekin_topekan 1 year, 4 months ago

All I ever get blamed for is sleepless nights and burnt bagels the next morning.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 4 months ago

so, many lawrence libs [above] get their panties in a wod because the spokesman was honest.

in january dozens of obamacare taxes and penalties kick in, plus this newly found "surprise" charge of $63 per employee.

obamacare is forcing employers to cut workers below 30 hours per week.

while it supposedly makes healthcare more affordable by increasing the cost (taxing) medical devices.

you voted for obama, you get what you voted for. high taxes, low-no growth.
we were already headed for a second recession before the so called "fiscal cliff malarky because of obama slowing annual growth of GDP.

hope and change ... yeah riiiight.

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Gandalf 1 year, 4 months ago

Has Menards decided to rebrand themselves as Dullards? It's not a very good business move to irratate 52% of the voting population that voted for Obama or the 66% of the population that blames the teapubs for being obstructionist.

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Old_Oread_Phart 1 year, 4 months ago

I'd be mad at Obama too.

After all, he took the idea designed and advocated by others, including the Heritage Institute and Bob Dole, implemented by others, like Romney, and then stole it and put his name on it: "Obamacare." How dare him to do this!

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Liberty275 1 year, 4 months ago

If you poke the bear, sometimes he runs away and takes his jobs with him. How high can we expect unemployment to go before we value jobs more than punitive taxation?

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In_God_we_trust 1 year, 4 months ago

The heavy democrat population in Lawrence doesn't like to admit that President Obama's policies and excessive regulations have put business decisions to expand on hold. Many businesses have expressed this issue. It creates a growth and expansion problem for business and the economy that is nation wide and has damaged the ability of the country to recover and overcome the unemployment issue.
Maybe Menards should consider the Ottawa,KS area to capture the Garnett, Lawrence, Kansas City markets. There is a good highway now from Lawrence to Ottawa.

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defenestrator 1 year, 4 months ago

I hope you're right, but will you turn that lipstick smile upside down if you're wrong?

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jayhawklawrence 1 year, 4 months ago

I recently visited Menards for the second time in Topeka and realized that my first evaluation of them was correct. They have a lot of really cheap (as in not good) stuff.

They should change their name to China Cheap Imports.

I doubt if even the Chinese shoppers would buy some of their stuff.

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 4 months ago

Obamacare, higher taxes and new government regulations have many business owners sitting on the sidelines. I predict recession part 2 with 10+% unemployment in 2013. Obama wins America loses!

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 1 year, 4 months ago

30 hours will be the new work week.

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d_prowess 1 year, 4 months ago

According to Forbes, in 2011 Menards had about 40,000 employees and revenues of about $7.17 Billion. Quite a small business...

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RoeDapple 1 year, 4 months ago

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rockchalker52 1 year, 4 months ago

How to win friends & influence customers. Mr. Spokesperson, you're doing it wrong.

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Hooligan_016 1 year, 4 months ago

Really, Menards? You're going to pull the "small business" card? A multi-billion dollar company is going to say they're "small business". What a joke.

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RoeDapple 1 year, 4 months ago

Oooooooooooo . . bama's fault!

Funny. I like the sound of that.

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youngjayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

With their attitude, Lawrence is definitely not a good fit!

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Pepe 1 year, 4 months ago

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Darrell Lea 1 year, 4 months ago

For once I wish the supposed "job creators" would buck up and create jobs, instead of whining in public about being unable to do anything and placing the blame on external forces outside their control.

What a racket!

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Joe Blackford II 1 year, 4 months ago

Hey, just drive to the Menard's here in Manhattan = > fuel usage, an American Tradition.

I don't shop there often (we have HD, too). The day they ask me how I voted, will be my last visit.

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gccs14r 1 year, 4 months ago

I like it when businesses put their religion and politics out in public--it makes it easier to know where not to shop.

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Patricia Davis 1 year, 4 months ago

Put the blame where the blame goes squarely on Bush and two unfunded wars. Menards would definitely be on my no-go list.

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Joe Adams 1 year, 4 months ago

Well, they also tried to make their employees take a "Civics Class" prior to the election so it should come as no surprise that they would be saying something like this. For how open they are against Obama, it surprises me that they were not willing to repeat the comment though. They are sending that same exact note to basically all the papers in the towns where they are putting expansion on hold.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/menards-civics-course_n_2059601.html

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Daniel Kennamore 1 year, 4 months ago

When did it become acceptable to blame business decisions they were already going to make on politics?

"Oh noes, Obama won...guess I'll have to not give raises this year and cut benefits. I have no choice!" The owner says as he gives himself a raise...

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