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Posted on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Menards has a deal to build store near Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs

Menard Inc., a family owned Midwest home improvement chain, has a contract to buy property for a store near Ann Arbor.


Source: Facebook

The company has the former Farmer Grant land in Scio Township under contract, the property owner confirmed Tuesday.

The property is located at the corner of Jackson and Staebler Roads, just west of the Meijer store at Jackson and Zeeb.

The 165-acre site was a target of development in 2008, when developers planned to build a roughly $100 million mixed-use project called The Village at Honey Creek. The project included 55 acres of commercial and 90 acres of residential space.

Mel Vanderbrug, a developer who owns part of the property, said the project fell through due to zoning issues and the crash in the real estate market. Vanderbrug owns the property with Don Colone, operating as Scio Properties LLC.

Now, Vanderbrug said Menards wants to build a store on a portion of the site and the company is currently under contract to purchase the property.

Scio Township Supervisor Spaulding Clark said Menards has submitted a rezoning request to the Township to rezone part of the site for general commercial use.

For years, the property has been ‘conditionally zoned’, Clark said, meaning it was dependent on the nature of the proposed development. With The Village at Honey Creek development, the property would have been a mix of commercial, light industrial and residential zoning.

“So what’s happening now, is Menards has come in and said they want just commercial zoning,” Clark said. “They need that zoning to accommodate their use and have filed proposed plans.”

Clark said the request will go before the Scio Township Planning Commission in the coming weeks.

Menards’ interest in the Washtenaw County area dates back to 2010, when the company filed a rezoning petition with Pittsfield Township to build a 162,000-square-foot store at 4700 Carpenter Road.

The Pittsfield Township Planning Commission voted to deny the rezoning request from light industrial to commercial, and the Board of Trustees then voted to accept the recommendation.

Rezoning the land would not have been in keeping with the township’s Master Land Use plan, said Township Clerk Alan Israel at the time. A report noted issues such as the traffic and congestion the project could create and that it would set a precedent for commercial zoning on both sides of Carpenter Road.

After the request was denied, Menards confirmed it would continue to search for a location in Washtenaw County.

Tom O’Neil of Menards’ real estate division declined to comment regarding the company’s plans for the Scio Township site.

Wisconsin-based Menards has 262 locations in 13 states, including nine locations in Michigan.

The company is also currently looking to build stores in Warren, Livonia and Kalamazoo County, and is in various stages of approval for rezoning requests and site plans for those stores.

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Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

Hey Pittsfield Township, how'd that Menards snub work out for you? Though Pittsfiled would be closer to home than Scio, Scio is a lot closer than Jackson and I'll take Menards over Home Depot and Lowes anytime.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

Yahoo!! Finally!! I also will welcome a bit of "competition" for Lowe's. Driving to the Jackson Menard's defeats the purpose of trying to save a few bucks. Let's hope Scio township sees the value in bringing Menard's to this area. Now, all we need is a Target on this side of town and I will be a happy camper!!!


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

The wood at Menards is a good deal but the rest of their stuff is cheaply made. They sell cheap stuff for cheap.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Bring Back Builder's Square


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

Scio twp. blew off Costco, and now Costco is in Pittsfield twp. What will Scio twp. do now with Menards?


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

Menard's put Lowes out of business in my hometown!


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

This seems a little weird to me with the current economy, and all the foreclosed, unoccupied homes in Washtenaw Co. How long until one or the other (Lowes vs. Menards) goes under, and Scio Twp is stuck with a vacant box? Do we need one on every corner? In the meantime, the vacant Pamida store continues to collect dust in Chelsea. Dreaming of a Kroger or Busch's......


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

Menards is a mixed bag. John Menard owns several of his own suppliers which keeps costs down, and they make this stuff in the USA, mostly in Wisconsin and Indiana. Quality is mid-grade, I think., prices are good. They have weird stuff that you cannot find in other stores. They also sell milk and eggs, which is weird for a "home improvement store". The down side it that John Menard runs his company in kind of a 19th century employer model. Employees are required to sign non-compete clauses (for retail staff?!). I understand that managers are not allowed to build or remodel homes, because John is sure they will steal supplies. The stores are totally wired with cameras the feed back to corporate HQ, Big Bro is always watching! If there are too many carts in the parking lot (checked often from HQ) the store manager gets fined. If an employee brings up the idea of voting on a union , they are fired. They have been known to send employees to buy up competitors product to remove competition for that product in the area. John is a successful business man, but by many accounts is a huge jerk, going through at least one horrific divorce.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

The thing about Menards is everything looks like a great deal, but is really garbage. Brands you've never heard of that look like quality but are really poorly crafted and DO NOT last. I wouldn't work for them either, they force employees to sign loosely worded non-compete agreements. If your looking for work in this economy it looks like a great opportunity - but will cost you in the long run.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Great news! Love Menards... Love the location. Maybe now Lowe's will lower their prices some. I sometimes go to the Jackson Menards... twice the selection as Lowe's... a lot lower prices! Bring it on.... (please?)


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

"Save big money at Menards! " Love this store, you can really score on a lot of their rebate offers.

Kyle Hubel

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

I would welcome JOBS to Ann Arbor, however the idea of yet another big box store drives me nuts! I love this city because of its originality not because everything is "so" much cheaper* and all in one place.

John of Saline

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

Um, Menards won't be run by robots and computers. Quite a few people will need to be hired to work there.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

Lowes offers cost match plus 10% if yopu bring in the competitors add.And they both have a lot of stuff made in China! Even the local lumber companies have a lot of stuff made in China so go figure.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:44 a.m.

I love Menards. Much better than Home Depot and Lowe's. They are local too. Great news!


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:22 a.m.

I wouldn't be surprised if Scio says " no" to rezoning the property, they've done that in the past to keep businesses out of rural areas.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Apr 14, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

Doubtful--that's the whole point of the Jackson Rd. corridor. Scio wants to keep the rural areas rural but have development in the corridor. The problem with Costco was that it wasn't in the corridor.


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

hopefully the twp won't blow this one. as long as it's on the Jackson Rd corridor, i don't think that most of us that live in the rural areas will care. For once, the infrastucture is in place that can support a project like this. as for shopping there, i work in Jackson, and choose Menard's over Lowe's and HD almost every time. better servcie and selection.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:51 a.m.

Never heard on Menards. Oh well, this is the reverse of Costco where Scio Township's loss was Pittsfield Township's gain, now the shoe is one the other foot.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:13 a.m.

I am glad that we are getting a Menards. After all 2 Lowe's and one Home Depot is not enough. If this Menards is successful then they can build another one.

Dog Guy

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:12 a.m.

Menards is proud of their large variety of American-made products.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:55 a.m.

build it.they will come.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:27 a.m.

Too far away for me to save big money


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 1:02 a.m.

This is terrific news. Big fan of Menards.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

this just doesn't make sense to me. There are not that many people building or doing home improvement. I am not a fan of Lowe's but just don't think the population or the economy is large/strong enough to keep both profitable in this area. Oh well, I am not a shareholder. BTW Menards is slightly better in certain areas. Their garden nursery plants are superior. The offer a few different things compared to Lowes & Depot. Interior store presentation a little different....otherwise, nothing to get excited about. Still run of the mill.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

I agree that their nursery plants are better. We used to buy a lot of flats of annuals there. And a lot of perennials too.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

Too far to drive. I see them in Flint when we head north. Guess we will wait until they are on Canton side. Everything seems to be building over there. Ypsilanti has lots of space for a Menards.

greg, too

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

Yep...a nice plot of land that the tax payers are paying $30mil for...a Menards would have looked quite nice there as an anchor. But who needs a big profitable store when you have a rec center?


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

This is very good news from my point of view. Menards has a great selection of lumber products at extremely competitive prices. For example, they have sizes of cedar you can't get at the home centers. I'll definitely be a customer.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

Think I will still buy local -- Ace Hardware, Stadium Hardware, Fingerles, etc.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:25 a.m.

Your right--- employees ( in general) at box stores are not as knowable.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

Same here. Ace always has the best deals. IMO of course.

Lynn Liston

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

A Menards almost across the street from a Lowes which is nearly across the street from a Meijers that is a block away from a Weingartz. And when we have Stadium Hardware and Ace Barnes not far away on Stadium. Sigh! I was really hoping for some diversity in the shopping scene out here, like a Trader Joe's, coffee shop, bookstore or a quality gift store to replace Wilkinson's.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

Yeah, Pittsfield rejected them! Their loss too! I would have liked it on this side of town to compete with Lowes and Home Depot. Maybe that's why it was rejected! Politics. I hear they have good prices on their merchandise. Good for Scio.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.

I would welcome a Menard's over on this side of Ann Arbor. We do shop at Lowe's and have never had a problem there, but some folks say Menard's have better prices and some say they carry more "cheap" tools, etc. Here is a link comparing the 3 big boxes that I found.

Ann English

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

Hope that subdivision just to the southwest are happy having a large department store so near; it isn't an unusual land use design. Think of Target and the subdivision behind it, off Oak Valley Road. Or Center Valley Drive, with both mobile homes and and the subdivision near that Target off Carpenter Road. The map is a good memory refresher; I'd seen the new subdivision on maps of Jackson Road before, but never noticed how close Staebler Road is to it. Staebler is most likely paved today on the south side; I remember when it was paved only on the north side. I don't know how much of Jackson Boulevard is finished, but a boulevard keeps traffic moving, with the left turn islands helping motorists who miss their turns into the intended businesses.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Apr 14, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

Ann, the "new subdivision" you're seeing is actually the Scio Farms mobile home park, and it's been there for years. The boulevard is finished, out to just past Baker Rd.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

this is another reason you do not need bike paths on jackson. like i have said in the past. business are building towards dexter. talk about going from four land to three is not right for the area.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Apr 14, 2012 : 1 a.m.

I'm not sure I understand your argument. This is not the section of Jackson that the lane reconfiguration will affect--that's miles to the east. This stretch of Jackson is a four-lane boulevard, and it already has bike lanes. But why would it be a reason in any case?

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

The Menards in Chicago weren't all that great.

Blue Marker

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

I'll spend my money locally and buy from Stadium Hardware. They have a great staff and can actually answer a question....go figure.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

You're right. Stadium Hardware is one of the last locally owned hardware stores in A2, and they are VERY helpful... but I think due to the size, the selection of merchandise is somewhat limited. If they have what I want, I definitely go there first.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Unlike Pittsfield Twp, the road infrastructure now in place in Scio Twp. (Jackson Rd's divided boulevard from Weber's to Baker Rd.) can EASILY handle the next phase of commercial growth in the area. The bigger question is if and when new residental development will ever restart?

Ruthann Zaroff

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

In mid-March Menards signed an agreement to build at the northwest corner of Belleville Road and I-94 in Belleville (in the space of the old Farmer Jack store). Sounds like they are blanketing the area.

Linda Peck

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

I am very happy to hear this! I had hoped that Ann Arbor would get a Menards and now it is going to be on the West Side! That is so fabulous!


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Menards is the Walmart of the home improvement chains. They do carry more things than Lowe's and Home Depot but most of it is cheaply made products from China. Of course they have a friendly return policy. The stuff is so cheap they can just give you another.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

I bought two identical 10 x 20 canopies at Menards. Lowe's had the exact same thing. Same manufacturer, everything for $200. each. Menards was $99. each. Very happy with the quality.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

I'm only relating my experience in the Battle Creek area. Menard's, Lowe's and Home Depot were all located in the same general area. I found that Menards's carried a vast amount of extremely low end products comparable to Harbor Freight and such. And all that stuff is made cheaply in China. To be fair there were some things that we bought exclusively at Menard's like carpet and vinyl floor covering. Very inexpensive, but also of lower quality. But it fit our purpose. I actually welcome having Menard's enter the local market as they also carry plants and landscape materials which should only provide more competition. For everything else I go to Stadium Hardware where the prices are the same if not better than the big boxes and the service can't be beat. 's


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:07 a.m.

I haven't found that to be true at all. I go to the Menard's in Jackson whenever I have a big project, and I ask lots of questions. Many of their products are made in the USA, with many made in the Midwest.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

Ummm, BIG BOX STORE = LOTS OF STUFF FROM CHINA. And comparing them to Walmart would imply they use the same aggressive, competition-stifling, anti-employee strategies. Is that the case?


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

What isn't made in China nowadays?

Linda Peck

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

I bought a very nice fireplace and all of the fittings for my mechanical contractor to install and it has been just great. It is the same one sold for a lot more at some other place.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

I cannot believe Scio Township actually beat Pittsfield for a new business. Light at the end of a dim tunnel?

John of Saline

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

Pittsfield turned down a zoning variance for Menards a while back (year or two).


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

Great store and there won't be a " ring around the rosie " like the pittsfield dipsticks are going to do @ costco even though the residents said "NO"...

Basic Bob

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

The residents had a chance to review and comment. That does not mean they get to design.

Rod Johnson

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

"The residents" didn't say no. Some people panicked up at a meeting. Not the same thing.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

Don't be too sure. With another big-box store to the west, they'll probably decide they need one at Jackson & Zeeb. Which, come to think of it, might actually be an improvement over the "Michigan left" at that intersection...

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

This location is not all that far from Lowes. How many of this kind of business does Scio Township need in close proximity?

Bertha Venation

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

I think we need more than just Lowe's. They've got the monopoly. Maybe Menards will make them step up to plate, as someone else mentioned.

Sieben 7

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

This is not a "Scio Township" store but a regional one. The closest one is in Jackson and it has been my experience that the selections differ.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Ironic how this location is again, near a lowes. It's like the gas station model, be right next to your competitor but one plot closer to your patrons.

John of Saline

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Zoning makes it work that way too, sometimes.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

Have you noticed how, in most towns, the car dealerships are all close to one another? It's good for everyone's business.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Can Scio Township make it a condition of their zoning approval that Menards doesn't run those same annoying commercials in this market that they run everywhere else? That's half the reason I won't walk into a Menards. (The other half is that I simply don't like their stores.)


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

@81wolverine: "Save big money at Menard's" (jingle) I'm originally from the Hawkeye state, and they've been there for years. My dad's a retired contractor, and it's now his favorite store.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

Can you be more specific for those of us who aren't familiar with their commercials? Also, just saying you "don't like their stores" doesn't add much to the discussion. Why do you not like them?


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

Good, as long as Scio does screw this deal up like COSCO!!!


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Well, that depends on what the neighbors do, as it did with Costco. It was citizens on Wing Dr, not the Scio board that did not want Costco.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

I can't wait! I am currently driving up to the Jackson Menards. This chain of stores is the best!


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

So, they will be almost across the street from Lowe's. How is Menard's different than Lowe's? I've never been to one and want to know.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 9:57 a.m.

I love Menard's. The staff is knowledgeable, the prices are reasonable, and many of their products are sourced locally. When we put in our patio last year, I got the pavers from Menard's in Jackson - and we live on the west side of Ann Arbor, in 'Water Hill.' It is my understanding that Menard's manufactures their own bricks and pavers here in the Midwest. Also, Menard's charged me less for delivery from Jackson than Lowe's was going to charge me for delivery from Scio. Crazy. I'm glad they are finally coming here, and I'm glad it won't be over in that mess on Carpenter Road.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

I have bought cabinets at the Jackson store. Their selection of cabinets is much better and relatively cheaper than both Lowes and Home Depot.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Well, if it's anything like it was when I lived in Illinois and Minnesota and had to shop at one due to lack of alternatives, the quality will be much worse ;-)


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Wow, you must have gone to different Menards stores than I have. None of what you said about Menards has been true in my experience.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

Menards is a bigger store and carries more variety. They have a much better staff that actually answers your questions. Great return policy also.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Finally!! I have heard rumors Menards would be coming to that location and am glad it is finally confirmed!! The other blue colored big box home improvement store in that area has a monopoly on things and therefore the service there is HORRIBLE!! Menards has much better prices anyway. Glad it will be in Scio instead of on Carpenter Rd. where there are already 2 of their competitors. I think the "other store" out this way could use the competition to force them to step up their game! Hurry up and get going so we can start shopping there!!


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

We have always received excellent service at Lowes...not sure what your problem is.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.



Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Finally!! Can't wait.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

Sorry, I intended my "reply" to be to Vette96drvr...


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

We always seem to get great service from the Lowe's on Carpenter. Home Depot? Not so much.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

Sweet, Pittsfields loss is Scio's gain in this go around of the big box stores.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Costco not good enough for Scio but Menards is? What gives here?


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Pittsfield passed on a Menards but got a Costco. I imagine they'd take that trade 100 times out of 100. Scio passed on a Costco but got a Menards. Somehow that just doesn't seem the same.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

I would welcome a Menards to this area.