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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


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.


Daniel Kennamore 5 years, 5 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...

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

Several, but I already provide them insurance, and I don't make over 250.00 dollars a year.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

It's so effective, too. Look how well Papa Johns and Red Lobster/Olive Garden did when they claimed they'd be firing people rather than insuring them.

Joe Adams 5 years, 5 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.


Patricia Davis 5 years, 5 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.

gccs14r 5 years, 5 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.

Daniel Kennamore 5 years, 5 months ago

"Republican, fundamentalist, racist, homophobe."

Bit redundant. Just 'republican' covers all those.

Joe Berns 5 years, 5 months ago

Chik Fil A is not anti gay. They are against same sex marriages as is a majority of the population.. Its apples and oranges, but dumb libs don't get it or don't care to get it.

Keep looking though. Search hard enough and you'll find where whatever grocery store, restaurant, or business you frequent, has given money or supports something that clashes with your agenda.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 5 months ago

"Chik Fil A is not anti gay." as it's owner donates to a group that advocates for the death penalty of all gays in Uganda.
If that's not "anti gay" I don't know what is.

Topple 5 years, 5 months ago

Just as stereotyping covers you.

I assume by your comments that you support racial profiling and Arizona law enforcement pulling people over for "looking" like they might be illegal immigrants." After all, all Hispanic people must be illegal immigrants.

All Democrats must be on welfare?

See how stupid I sound when I stereotype?

bballwizard 5 years, 5 months ago

yes cheeseburger is and can we throw him to the lions

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

I remember when we were about to rip Afghanistan a new hind-end and hobby lobby had a huge sign that read "stop this racist war". I stopped shopping there, and as a fine arts grad student, I never left the store without spending $200. And I left a lot.

Now I shop at Michaels.

fiddleback 5 years, 5 months ago

The politics of the owners of Chil-Fil-A, Papa Johns, and Hobby Lobby have been pretty obvious; here's a few more to add to the proudly-pro-Romney list along with Menards:

Jimmy Johns (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/07/19/156970883/romney-and-jimmy-johns-sandwiches-never-far-apart) Dominos (the founder, fellow arch-Catholic Tom Monaghan, funded Brownback's '08 presidential run) Applebees (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/applebees-ny-franchise-owner-obamacare-lead-hiring-freeze/story?id=17698491) Denny's (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/john-metz-dennys-obamacare-surcharge-_n_2146735.html)

There's also Brinker Intertnational, which owns Chili's & Macaroni Grill: http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000478

So it's Wednesday - time to go get some 357-action at Rudy's pizza!

happyrock 5 years, 5 months ago

Hater Fiddlesticks at it again. Interesting profile: self-important, delusional, feels cheated by society. All he needs is a gun. Let's fire everyone who works at Dominos, Denny's, Papa Johns, etc. We need more people unemployed.

purplesage 5 years, 5 months ago

Which is why I'm no longer a customer of Jcp, for example, and why K-Mart became a has-been after a few years of ignoring the solid convictions of the Kresge family.

Joe Blackford II 5 years, 5 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.

Darrell Lea 5 years, 5 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!

Pepe 5 years, 5 months ago

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youngjayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

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

RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

Oooooooooooo . . bama's fault!

Funny. I like the sound of that.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 5 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.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 5 months ago

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Terry Sexton 5 years, 5 months ago

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

RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

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d_prowess 5 years, 5 months ago

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

Pepe 5 years, 5 months ago

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Cait McKnelly 5 years, 5 months ago

That's a bit odd considering the unemployment rate has dropped a half of a percentage more just since the election. The unemployment rate is now below what it was when Bush left office.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 5 months ago

Do you own a business, rock? I hope so. All of us would really like you to s it on the sidelines.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

The added cost is because insurance companies are being required to spend 80% of their revenues on health care instead of paying their CEO millions of dollars, so instead of finding working CEO's who are willing to work for less money, and supposedly there are a bunch of people out there without jobs, they hiked your rates. So you are really paying for the obscene wages of an MBA, so he can belong to the right golf clubs, and eat in the right restaurants, and fly first class. I mean we have to keep up the appearances of our CEO royalty class.

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh my, rockchalk1977 is making predicitions again!

I suspect this prediction will be as accurate as your "Romney by a landslide" predictions were.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 5 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.

In_God_we_trust 5 years, 5 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.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 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?

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

No more years. End all corporate taxes.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 5 months ago

You want no taxes for corporations? Aren't they PEOPLE? We tax PEOPLE, right?

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

You let me know when a corporation votes in a political election and we'll talk about people.

parrothead8 5 years, 5 months ago

Unemployment is at its lowest since the final months of the Bush regime, so I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

So unemployment was lower under Bush? It stunk then too.

Old_Oread_Phart 5 years, 5 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!

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 5 months ago

He didn't put his name on it. The Republican party did.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 5 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.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

Maybe felons can vote in Kansas, but in other Florida you have to go through a lot of procedure to have your voting rights restored. Even then the governor might say no.

Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

WTF does Florida have anything to do with the issue.

Oh, I get.it. Merely another bankrupt and fallacious red herring argument.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

That's the state law. Does Kansas not have such a law that prevents felons from voting?

geekin_topekan 5 years, 5 months ago

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

Carmiletta Penny 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for the Reality check. Most people have no clue what it is like to run a small business when they work for the state or federal government of which many in the Lawrence area do!!!

Carmiletta Penny 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for the REALITY check. Many in the Lawrence area work for the state or federal government and therefore don't have a clue what it is like to run a small business.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

As it turns out, quite a few of us do have a clue what it is like running a business.

deec 5 years, 5 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."


RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

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blindrabbit 5 years, 5 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.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

Sometimes it is cheaper to decline business.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

He probably has an MBA which teaches them to just kill businesses. I mean you might have to be creative and innovative and maybe even change. Horrors!!! They don't teach you how to do that in business schools.

roadrash 5 years, 5 months ago

Sore LOSER! Try to destroy what you can't control or buy! The new GOP!

rubysmom 5 years, 5 months ago

I guess I am not sure I understand your argument. Sure the regulations are changing, but you are basing your possibility of expansion on this $63 per employee fee. This is a yearly fee assessment that begins in 2014 and will decrease per year until gradually fazed out in 2017. Are you saying that you are not expanding your business or creating 8-10 new jobs today, because you might have to pay roughly $1500 for these new jobs over the course of 5 years. Oh, and this only applies to companies with 50 or more employees. I am sure you will respond that this is just a sign of uncertainty, which is valid. But I think you should do the math before you make such claims.

In response to your other judgement, my husband and I own a small business which supports our family. I also consider myself to be intelligent, and I do my research on claims before I make them. We employ 4 people currently, and I would gladly expand and higher more people if the business was there...and if this fee applied to our company, I would gladly plan for it and pay it, if it meant we were growing our business.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 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.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 5 months ago

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

Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

So what. Prices are going up and his baby needs shoes, so he can't afford to pay his employees a living wage. He needs more, more, more. .

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

Poor guy. I bet he would have made 2 billion if Obama hadn't been president. Pity the poor billionaire who doesn't want to provide insurance for his employees.

roadrash 5 years, 5 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!

RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

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

Terry Sexton 5 years, 5 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.

RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

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

FalseFlag 5 years, 5 months ago

Remember when Pelosi said we had to pass the 2,700 page healthcare abortion of a bill in order to find out what was in it? Remember when Obama told us that families would save $2,500 per year if Obamacare was passed? Remember when Obama and Reid declared that Obamacare would add nothing to the National Debt?

Well now we know what is in it. It seems when you add 30 million people to the healthcare system and guarantee to cover all pre-existing conditions, it actually costs money. Obama and his minions snuck a little clause into page 1,869 that requires every employer in the country to pay a $63 fee per person covered under their plans to pay for the pre-existing conditions. That’s a mere $25 billion extracted from employers.


FalseFlag 5 years, 5 months ago

Surprise ‘Obamacare’ fee to be passed on to workers By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It’s a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.

bisky1 5 years, 5 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.

RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

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geekin_topekan 5 years, 5 months ago

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

msezdsit 5 years, 5 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.

msezdsit 5 years, 5 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.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 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.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 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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