Menards serves the upper midwest, which does not include the windy ol' plains of the Texas panhandle, where I live.  Posts keep appearing on the Forum about Menards O gauge offerings, which seem to be good quality.  It's all theory to me, though, as we are quite a distance from their nearest store.

 

We are going to attend a family reunion in Willmar, MN, where there is a Menards store, and I anticipate making a store visit during the reunion.  I'd be most grateful for some advice about what I should expect to see as to the size of the train department and whether they carry their complete array of cars and structures in the stores.

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way

Original Post

Menards (around chicagoland anyway) does not usually have a dedicated train section except for during the Christmas season.  Even then it's not huge, but it's more than most stores.   Durring the rest of the year, any train stock they have is often kept in the "Out-of-Season" section which is hidden away from general view, but can be visited if you ask an employee.

 

As for what they will have, you can go to the menards "train stuff" page… http://www.menards.com/main/ho...in-stuff/c-13318.htm

…and make the store you will be near your "my store".  It will give you a tab showing what MIGHT be in stock at that store though you have to click each item to check stock. Then you can call to confirm if you wish. 

 

Good Luck

I am fortunate that we have a Menards store and a Home Depot close to us.  We also have a large Menards warehouse, distribution center at the edge of our little town.  My two cents worth on Menards is that they have better prices than Home Depot, have a complete lumber yard unlike HD, and have a large complete store staffed by friendly and helpful employees.  They only have train things on display before Christmas, but have a nice train and toy display then.  Now that they are getting into train items so much, maybe that will change in the future?

 

Art

Tom, Eilif is correct in that there will be little, if anything, on the shelves in the way of O gauge stuff this time of year. They do maintain a modest selection of toys year -round that is greatly expanded during Christmas in the "Seasonal" section of the store. Another option is order desired items online and have them shipped to the Willmar store for pick-up.

 

 

Menards, Willmar, MN.

 

 

Store layout.

 

Link to the Willmar store: http://www.menards.com/main/storeDetails.html?

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

store=3193

 

 

 

 

Jon

It appears that most of their 0 gauge stuff is available online, even the case of 24 flatcars.  Sweet!

 

I note that their boxcars are sequentially numbered, no two alike.  How can they afford to do that, and why can't the other manufacturers follow suit?

SteveF

"It has long been my belief that the sight of a good-looking woman lowers a man's IQ by at least 20 points. A man who doesn't happen to have 20 points he can spare can be in big trouble."  Thomas Sowell

Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:
Originally Posted by Chugman:

Now that they are getting into train items so much, maybe that will change in the future?

 

Art

I seriously doubt Menards will devote valuable retail shelf space to trains year round.

 

Rusty

I understand what you are saying, but they have so much space devoted to other high margin, very low turnover items that it could easily happen.  They are making quite a commitment to train models, so why not?

 

Art

Originally Posted by Bob Severin:
Originally Posted by Happy Pappy:

Tom,

I know how you feel. The nearest store to me is four states away. No reunions anymore since I'm the last one.

Pappy: There is a name for being the last, Chingachgook.  Sometimes I feel like that too.  Always keep in mind the fellowship right here, and you won't feel so alone.  

Bob,

I realize this, however, at times my wife's Chihuahua's are more friendly. LMAO

Tom,

I deleted my original post. Hopefully this thread will get back on track.

Respectfully,

"Pappy"

My Two-Cents                 

 

All the Menards I have been in (primary store is Yorkville IL) have a large Halloween and Christmas village display made of the LeMax (?) products that Menards sells.  I have long thought that they could put a circle of fastracks up with the villages and run any number of the train sets they have for sale.  Or do like Bass Pro Shops and have that mass produced 4x8 train table layout with the winter decorations up with one of the sets running on it.  I have seen many parents watch their kids run the "silver bell express", or whatever the lionchief set is running and then pick a boxed set up from the display next to it.  Always wondered why Menards does not run their trains in the store.

I counted 6 different Lionel sets in the store last year.  And word is out about the buildings, the Barns flew of the shelves at my local store, I had to go a town over to find the Milwaukee Road engine house. 

Makes me jelious of you O gauge guys.

Ben

LCCA

Menards is putting their train items online only.  Even during the holiday season, their O-gauge selection (in store) is minimal (at best).  My local Menards (Janesville Wi. and the Madison, Wi. Mega stores) carry a few sets and some fastrak during the holidays and that's it.

 

I'm glad they DO carry O-gauge items that are reasonably priced.  I think they want to keep the o-gauge items online/mail order.  It might be that the local store MGR has the final say as to whether they carry ANY O-gauge or not.  If you do a store availability search on most of the items, it seems that the same stores have it on hand.  Unfortunately, none of those stores are near me!!! 

U.P.R.R...THE home of High HP Locomotives, both Steam & Diesel......

We live in DFW, but travel to far northern Kansas several times per year. Fortunately there's a Menards in Salina right next to an exit on I-135.  Now, Salina has a population of around 48,000, but there's NOTHING around there other than some of the nicest, smallest, down-to-earth farming communities you've ever laid eyes on. Let's put it this way:  Salina is the closest town to us with national-brand stores, and that's 45 miles away!  All that said just to make the point that I was quite surprised when we stopped in there in late January 2014. They still had quite a few O-gauge items on the shelves. I never would have thought that out in the middle of the boondocks of Kansas there'd be that much product.  Not a lot, but I picked up a few cars without having to stress about it too much.

Carl

TCA 07-61628, LCCA 40022, Lone Star Hi-Railers, EAA, AOPA

Number 90,  Good news Menard's is to build a  store in Springfield, Missouri. 

That's only 546 miles from Amarillo.    I will be only 150 miles from the new Menard's.   That's like having it in your back yard if your from the Texas/Oklahoma panhandle area.

Keith Johnson

I note that their boxcars are sequentially numbered, no two alike.  How can they afford to do that, and why can't the other manufacturers follow suit?

 

SteveF, it's because they are using stickers (and not always placed consistently straight and level) for the road marking and numbers versus printing directly on the car.

 

Now, before anyone takes that as a slam... it's not. It's just the way Menard's is having the rolling stock done for them. Given the bargain prices on the items, I'm sure many are willing to overlook it or not let it concern them.

 

Lionel has used stickers before in the late 1980's for logos and heralds on items like tank cars and trailers that go on flat cars. I've been told this was discontinued because there were complaints about it.

 

As someone joked in a prior thread about the Menard's box cars, he wondered how long it would be before folks complained about the large "Built by Menard's" on the side of the car?

 

 

 

 

Has anyone tried removing the "Built By Menards" on the side of the flatcars?  I'll probably swab it with a bit of acetone at some point, but I'm curious if anyone has already done it.

 

Hearing you folks has made me glad to live in the city. I've got a dozen Menards in a 30 mile radius of me. My local store didn't have anything, but 3 miles away there's a Menards that has a bunch of stuff in the "off Season" section.  If anyone is in the Chicago area, it's this store. https://www.menards.com/main/s...ails.html?store=3245

The online list doesn't show them as having much, but they had some buildings, trees, stock cars, etc...

 

I said it already, but if you're at a Menards specifically ask to see the "Off Season" section.  You might just find a bunch of train stuff!

I don't know why anyone would do that. It's kind of like the "Lionel Lines" name of the Post War and modern eras, it's part of the mystique. Originally Posted by Eilif:

Has anyone tried removing the "Built By Menards" on the side of the flatcars?  I'll probably swab it with a bit of acetone at some point, but I'm curious if anyone has already done it.

 

 

Keep Your Rails Polished!

Originally Posted by gg1man:
I don't know why anyone would do that. It's kind of like the "Lionel Lines" name of the Post War and modern eras, it's part of the mystique. Originally Posted by Eilif:

Has anyone tried removing the "Built By Menards" on the side of the flatcars?  I'll probably swab it with a bit of acetone at some point, but I'm curious if anyone has already done it.

 

I agree wholeheartedly!

Had to chuckle a bit.

I love Menards and shop there often, but this will be the first and last time I ever use "Menards" and "Mystique" in the same sentence.  These 8 dollar, Chinese, loose-sold, flat-cars are not quite rarified collectibles.

 

Now that you mention it, though I may keep one or two intact just to show my Menards appreciation.  

Since Menards (or someone working there) monitors this site (they are a paid sponsor) here's a GREAT marketing tip for them on their O-gauge line.

 

GO MAINSTREAM in the store!!!

 

Since Menards is a home improvement/lumber/electrical store, they carry the other basic necessities that you need to create a layout.  Having a dedicated O-gauge aisle in the store will not only re-in force that image, but may just create awareness to others that Menards is the 1 place to get everything you may need to create your O-gauge empire.

 

Call it cross marketing or ??? but most people learn this the first week in business school......  

 

Menards could offer a TRUE layout starter kit.  All of the lumber, wiring, ect. you need to create a basic O-gauge layout along with a starter train set for XXX amount of $$.  You could buy the set separate from the layout materials or vice versa. 

 

 Menards already has the building materials and electrical parts in stock.  They could offer material plans (like they have for decks) and have many different layout options "pre-Packaged" for the consumer.  

 

If anyone from Menards needs some help in getting this "on the shelf", just I.M. me.....

U.P.R.R...THE home of High HP Locomotives, both Steam & Diesel......

Menards could offer a TRUE layout starter kit.  All of the lumber, wiring, ect. you need to create a basic O-gauge layout along with a starter train set for XXX amount of $$.  You could buy the set separate from the layout materials or vice versa

 

 

And when you get that TRUE layout starter kid, you could run over and order that bigger train room we all need

Matt

Originally Posted by John23:

Menards is also the only store in my area that sells Homasote boards.

Yepper, I agree with that! (SE MI)

 

In fact, as if to underscore this distinction, prior to the advent of Menards in our area, the response from the two most common home improvement stores when asked about Homosote was 'Nope, can't even get it.', and 'What's Homosote?'....the latter from the guy behind the contractor's counter at the store!!!

 

After their having been around for a few years now, Menards is having another effect....they've significantly changed the HD & L competition...for the better (IMHO, of course).  Sorta reminds me of the early days of MTH's foray into Lionel's complacent domain about 25 years ago!!

 

Although many of us in the hobby might like to see regular floorspace at Menards dedicated year-round in celebration of the hobby, I tend to think their business model and acumen is pretty solid the way it is. 

 

Suggestions are always welcome, though, I'm sure. And here's mine!>>>>>>>:

 

Incorporating Bermuda Ken's thoughts in their current seasonal emphasis for the hobby, why not set up an O3R train layout...modest in size...that shows not only the train/scenery/buildings products, but table construction, hardware items, wiring, et al that are used???   IOW, as they have demos/classes for their home improvement products, why not a seasonal class/demo on building, say, a 4X8 layout....with HOMOSOTE!!!!!...that would then be part of their Christmas season displays...amidst the lighted trees, ornaments, other nifty gifties????  Talk about a customer 'magnet'!!!!!!!!

 

Even better?...Why not show support for other complementary business in the community...like our own hobby shop!!!...and gain their support in exchange for some minimal advertising on the layout?  You know, materials/products that enhance/augment a layout, items...and expertise...available beyond Menards' business interests??  Whoa.....radical!!

 

Hmmmmmmm???

 

FWIW, always....

 

And, meanwhile, back at the ranch...

 

KD (another Ken)

 

 

 

 

Originally Posted by Bermuda Ken:

Since Menards (or someone working there) monitors this site (they are a paid sponsor) here's a GREAT marketing tip for them on their O-gauge line.

 

GO MAINSTREAM in the store!!!

 

Since Menards is a home improvement/lumber/electrical store, they carry the other basic necessities that you need to create a layout.  Having a dedicated O-gauge aisle in the store will not only re-in force that image, but may just create awareness to others that Menards is the 1 place to get everything you may need to create your O-gauge empire.

 

Call it cross marketing or ??? but most people learn this the first week in business school......  

 

Menards could offer a TRUE layout starter kit.  All of the lumber, wiring, ect. you need to create a basic O-gauge layout along with a starter train set for XXX amount of $$.  You could buy the set separate from the layout materials or vice versa. 

 

 Menards already has the building materials and electrical parts in stock.  They could offer material plans (like they have for decks) and have many different layout options "pre-Packaged" for the consumer.  

 

If anyone from Menards needs some help in getting this "on the shelf", just I.M. me.....

I second this idea.  As a follow-on thought, they should start carrying 18-gauge solid wire, and I can't recall if they have terminal strips.  They have just about everything else, such as toggle switches, solderless connectors, etc.

Here's a clue why...
 
It's an $8 flat car and it will never have "mystique".
 
 
 
Originally Posted by gg1man:
I don't know why anyone would do that. It's kind of like the "Lionel Lines" name of the Post War and modern eras, it's part of the mystique. Originally Posted by Eilif:

Has anyone tried removing the "Built By Menards" on the side of the flatcars?  I'll probably swab it with a bit of acetone at some point, but I'm curious if anyone has already done it.

 

 

Thanks, everyone.  I'll snoop in the out of season department.  Who knows, they might have a nice structure in the back.

 

I was in a Menards around Coon Rapids, MN, a few years ago and was really impressed.  That had everything!  I brought some of it back to Texas, too.  

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way

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