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Posted on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Menards on Jackson Avenue: Home improvement chain pitches store to Scio Township officials

By Lizzy Alfs

Menards representative Tom O'Neil told the Scio Township Board of Trustees Tuesday night that the company desperately wants to build an Ann Arbor area store.


Menards wants to build a store on Jackson Road in Scio Township.

Source: Facebook

He said the Wisconsin-based home improvement chain has tried — unsuccessfully — to enter the local market for years, including when Pittsfield Township voted to deny Menards’ rezoning request to build on Carpenter Road in 2010.

Two years later, O’Neil said he thinks the company has finally found the right property: A vacant 62-acre site on the southeast corner of Jackson and Staebler roads, just west of the Meijer store at Jackson and Zeeb.

“We think we finally found a winner here as far as it meets our needs and the community’s needs as well,” he said.

Township officials are indicating they'll approve the chain's latest request to build near Ann Arbor.

Menards is under contract to purchase 62-acres of the 165-acre site known as the former Farmer Grant land.


The 165-acre site, located at the intersection of Jackson and Staebler, is known as the former Farmer Grant land.

Lizzy Alfs |

In order to build a 160,000-square-foot home improvement store, the company is requesting a straight rezoning to general commercial for the 62-acre portion, which is owned by Mel Vanderbrug and Don Colone, operating as Scio Properties LLC.

The site was conditionally zoned in 2009 after the property was eyed for development with the proposal of a $100 million mixed-use project called The Village at Honey Creek. That project fell through due to zoning issues and the crash in the real estate market.

Scio Township Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommend approval of Menards’ request at its May 14 meeting.

O’Neil told the Board of Trustees Tuesday night that the Menards store will only account for about 18 to 20 acres of the site, leaving room for additional smaller development projects.

“Ultimately, the goal would be to develop the rest of the property,” he said. “We’ve had some success as far as getting other retailers to go near us, or restaurants to go adjacent to a Menards store.”

He said the project — which is still in the preliminary planning stages — would include two access ways off Jackson Road and an additional two off Staebler.

O’Neil acknowledged that the site is located near both a Lowe’s store and a Meijer store, but he said Menards is “considerably larger” with a “broader selection of merchandise.”

Scio Township Supervisor Spaulding Clark told he doesn’t anticipate any issues with the rezoning request. It will return to the Board of Trustees at its June 26 meeting.

Menards, which has 262 locations in 13 states, including nine locations in Michigan, is in various stages of planning and development for stores in Warren, Livonia and Kalamazoo County.

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


Andrew Morrill

Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 3:18 a.m.

The American public has voted with its wallets - we prefer the cheaper import, even if it puts our neighbor - and eventually ourselves - out of work. Try to buy a mass-market Made-In-USA light fixture, for example - lots of luck. To single out Menards in this respect is ridiculous - at least they regularly run flyers featuring only "Made In America" goods! Who else does that? I welcome the breaking of the Home Depot / Lowes du-oploly.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

An excellent retailer!


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

I've found that Menard's sells lower quality merchandise than Home Depot and Lowes is somewhere in between. So if you like cheap low quality stuff Menard's is a great place to shop. If you want really really cheap Chinese junkie imports shop Harbor Freight Tools in Ypsi.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

jcj -- I agree that it is wise to by cheap tools for small projects--- What's the point in renting if the cost is the same and you get to keep the tool in the end. Harbor freight is much cheaper than menards for these low quality tools. I bought a 15$ electricians drill, drilled three holes and that was all I needed. rental was 18$


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

I can find better hardwood, and 2x4s at Menards than at Lowe's or Home Depot. I can find better plywood as well. The selection of construction lumber and other construction supplies far out strips Lowe's or Home Depot.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

Harbor Freight does sell cheap tools but sometimes all you need is a one time use tool. And with some items you don't need to spend 3 times as much. I would never buy anything I expected to use more than occasionally. I like to buy tarps there you can not beat the price.

Julia Herbst

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

My family loves Menards. We live in Ypsilanti, and frequently travel to the Menards in Toledo(Its closer than jackson), Actually I just spent almost $500, in their store on Monday. Menards is not only a home improvement store, they also sell a small selection of clothing, groceries, pet supplies, gardening supplies, etc. We have stopped going to Home Depot, or Lowes because Menards can always beat their prices, and the staff is incredibly more professional and educated about their products. Not to mention the advertising of all of their MADE IN USA products. I have been told by multiple people, and read somewhere, that Menards is preparing to build in Belleville, in the Old Farmer Jack on Belleville rd at the service drive. CANNOT WAIT!


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Hopefully Scio Township is wising up. They made Jackson rd for retail then they fight anyone who tries to build. It took Culvers since 2007 to be able to finally build in Scio. They do not understand this is jobs and taxes for the township. We go to Menard's every chance we get but the closest one is Jackson. Thank you Menard's for coming.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

Lynn I like Stadium Hardware as much as anyone. I am in there a few times a week. But how many 2x4's, sinks, stoves,counter tops can you get at Stadium or Ace? I agree the help at both places almost always more knowledgeable. But if you need more than 1 of anything chances are Ace won't have it. You CAN get quality merchandise at Lowes.

Lynn Liston

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

They bring low-paying, part-time jobs for transitory employees, unlike the locally-owned stores who have staff with expertise in home maintenance. I've been going to Ace Barnes and Stadium Hardware for 15 years, since I moved to this part of Ann Arbor. I recognize the people who work there, know who to ask questions of, and have had real conversations with them. You don't get that kind of service at these big box stores and you don't get quality merchandise. What you do get are profits sucked out of the community and dead-end jobs.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

I like Menards

Martin Church

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

Sure wish it would open a store on the east side. namely Ypsilanti, i can think of several great spots for this development. water St. the former Sesi's or even the old Farmer jacks in the kmart on washtenaw. Come on Ypsilanti people why are we not even being considered. it is time to make some changes.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

Mr Church - The property value of this store will be high, so Menards will look for a low tax area to put it in. That means Ypsi will not get a look. Sorry. If Ypsi wants major national chains to locate there they need to think about tax rates and how they deal with them.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

I have been to Menard's in Jackson 3-4 times in the last 10 years. As someone that spent over 30 years in the trades I have never been impressed by the store. They will have to do much better to get my business.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

"Build it.They will come".

Haran Rashes

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

Too bad these retailers can't make an existing shopping center or a empty lot within central shopping areas work. Instead, Menards is looking to expand the Jackson Road commercial corridor westward. We need to stop the commercial urban sprawl I would prefer to see them consider spaces such as the abandoned Farmer Jack's on Washtenaw in Ypsilanti or where maybe someday a shopping center will be built (yes they have been approved for building several times but the site is a blight) where the car dealership was on Washtenaw and Huron Parkway.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Mr. Rashes - The Farmer Jack site is about 7 acres including parking lot, the Mendards store building is 4 acres and the outdoor lot for construction materials and greenhouses will cover another 3 t0 5, depending what they build, so the Farmer Jack site is too small for this store. I agree I would like to see sites re-used, but I cannot think of a site in the Ann Arbor area that is large enough and vacant to hold this kind of a store. It dwarfs most Home Depot and Lowe's locations and rivals Mejiers for actual store size. When you add the outdoor lumber areas and lumber sheds, it really does take 20 acres of land. Make a trip to the Jackson store if you want to understand the scale - and realize, that the Jackson store is not one of the "big" Menards - they have one size larger.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

I drive to Jackson for Menards cabinets. Nice to see them here. I hope Scio does not make the same mistake they did with Meijer by having a turnaround with a light in front of the store. The light is a horrible waste of time. Just get rid of that turn around and have people going west use the next turn around west of the store to get back to the entrance. That way there is no need for a light and all the wasted gas.

Lynn Liston

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

We already have two terrific locally-owned hardware stores in the area, Stadium Hardware and Ace Barnes. For cheap import goods and lumber there is the chain store, Lowes, and the chain store Meijers also carries some home maintenance goods. I don't see where another chain store like Menard's answers a need or adds value to the area.

Andrew Morrill

Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 3:45 a.m.

I patronize my wonderful local hardware store (Hackney ACE in Dexter) as much I can - if you factor in gasoline and value your time at all, they're quite competitive. But increasingly, even iconic American tool brands such as Vise Grip, Stanley, Milwaukee, Porter Cable and the "ACE" brand itself have off-shored production to maintain volume and/or margins. The result is that the tool & hardware offerings of the "independents" are increasingly indistinguishable from the the big-box house brands, removing one incentive to shop the independents. Sad.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

Jeff and Blue I would be willing to bet I have spent more time in Stadium hardware than the two of you combined. And I am convinced there is not a better hardware store in the country for knowledgeable helpful staff. But they do not carry everything that Lowes does. You cannot get everything there. You can get lots of things you CAN'T find anywhere else. But not everyone is a novice that always needs help to figure things out. You can't compare the two.

Blue Marker

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 10:56 a.m.

@Jeff, You said it all! Mike and that staff have helped me more than a big box store would even know how. Shop local and keep you money in town!

Jeff Renner

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

@ 15crown00 - I am very happy to pay a bit more at Stadium Hardware to support a locally owned business with the most incredible service. Mike and staff have a wonderful body of knowledge that they share freely. There is more than low price!


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

The reason has been mentioned many times already. Menard's has a much better selection, much more than Lowe's has on its shelves. I like Lowes but their selection just does not compare-at least not with the Jackson store, which I hope this mirrors. Also we have Dexter's Hackney Ace Hardware which I frequent regularly and still will. You can't beat the customer service at Hackney.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

do you object to paying less for the same product?

David Waligora

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

People in the area have heard about them and have made it clear that they want one. Why do you think stores ask for you zip when you go there? If there's an influx of people who travel distances to shop at a location, it gives you a good idea of where you next store might need to be.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Menards is much better than Lowe's. Lowe's needs a competitor. We live right by Lowe's on Jackson, but sometimes have to go to the Menard's in Jackson to get what we want. We are thrilled about the prospect. We hope it goes through. We were disappointed when Costco was not built here. Frankly, I would rather have the Menard's close by anyway.

Ed Fenton

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Can't wait to see Menards come to Ann aRbor, He carry alot of American made products, and have a great staff working for them, and alot better knowledge of their products. Cant wait to shop there!

Elijah Shalis

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

Love all the Chinese merchandise Menard's sells and how it falls apart.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

as does the crap at most of the other popular stores.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

You don't seem to grasp the concept. There is Good and there is Cheap. You have to pick just one.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Hey Menards, come to the Milan area. We're just 7 miles South of Ann Arbor. There's lots of land available for sale near US 23. Also, Menards goes out of its way to purchase items made in the USA! That's why I love them!!!

Linda Peck

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

I am very happy about the prospect of having a Menards on the west side. I was very happy with the customer service at the one in Jackson and their prices were amazing on the items I was getting, way better than Lowe's. Competition is a good thing!


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

This is good news. Menards offers a great selection of products at good prices. Hopefully Scio Township will approve this quickly so the project can get underway.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Get It Done.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

lets hope it makes it. i think they messed up on cosco. this is far enough it will not interfere with the traffic flow. they have some really good items in the ads we get in the sunday paper. i hope it comes to ann arbor. jackson road is the growing area of ann arbor. lots of room to expand.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

The road cuts were not the issue with Costco. The issue was that the Township wanted commercial / retail on Jackson Road specifically, not on Zeeb. The complaints at the time centered around traffic issues, which, given the proposed location, were not likely to be significant. Costco offered the Township a sweetheart deal, and NIMBY residents made noise such that Costco backed out of their own accord. Pittsfield's gain -- of good-paying jobs with benefits, and of additional tax base -- is Scio's loss.

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

That's Scio Township - NOT Ann Arbor.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

you could be right. lets see what happens when the new store will opens. might be a mess or it could be pulled off. time will tell.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

They did the right thing with Costo. Scio Twp has a good plan for making sure they don't turn into a traffic mess like Washtanaw Ave or the Briarwood area. This includes not giving new curb cuts and stop lights to anybody who wants them. Some places - like Cosco - try to come in and dictate new curb cuts and stop lights, using a threat of leaving as a hostage. From my memory, Scio Twp told them they will connect to the curb cut and stop light at Metzgers, which makes sense. But Cosco felt they were more important than that, so they left. I'm glad Scio Twp sticks to its guns and follows it's plan. The result is an area that has deliberate, well-implemented traffic patterns. And the other result is I take a lot of my business out there.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:20 a.m.

I am really looking forward to Menards coming to the area. I shop the Jackson store as often as I can and prefer the selection of materials, as well as their highlighting of American made products. Welcome!


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

Can't wait for a new Menards! They offer much more merchandise than our much smaller Lowes. We end up driving to Jackson when the Lowes typically does not have what we are looking for. Hopefully, Scio will approve other stores in the area in the future.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 10:57 a.m.

I would much rather see a TARGET store in this area instead of another home improvement store. The Meijer on Jackson Rd. reduced their general merchandise area so now a TARGET store would be a great alternative. I don't understand why we would need a Menard's when we already have a Lowes home improvement store.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

The TARGET store at Oak Valley is a 20 mile round trip for me, but I'm glad it's convenient for others. Thank you MrBeasley for helping me understand why there would be a need for a Menard's store. I appreciate your informative reply! I will continue to hope that a TARGET store will be on Jackson Rd. someday.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

understand Meijer survives on it's Supermarket business not G.M. or Customer Service.

David Waligora

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Really a Target? Why? I agree with the other person, there's a perfectly fine target on Oak Valley Dr, and than again one on Carpenter. The market determines what is built, not the will of the people or the municipality itself.

Linda Peck

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

Target has a good location on Oak Valley which is very easy to get to from the west side.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

I'm excited about the prospect of Menards in this area. The Lowes on Jackson road has a smaller selection and is frequently out of stock of the items they do carry. We spend a lot of time driving over to Carpenter road get what we need. I think Target was planning to build a store in the same general area before the economy tanked, maybe they will resurrect their plans when the economy stabilizes.