COLUMBIA—Menards, a home improvement store, is opening a new location in Columbia. The privately owned company has more than 200 locations in the Midwest, including one in St. Joseph.
The store opening is anticipated for late 2008 or early 2009. It depends on the closing of the land sale this fall and council approval of building plans, project manager Donald Lairmore said.
“The concept review (with the city) was favorable, but there is always a process, and we still have to submit a full plan with storm water, green space and things like that, but the zoning is in place,” Lairmore said. “I don’t see any stumbling blocks in the road ahead.”
Menards contacted Columbia Bass Properties about purchasing 17.5 acres east of the Bass Pro Shops and Hilton Garden Inn off Vandiver Drive in Centerstate Crossing, Lairmore said. Since then the project has accelerated.
“This should be the tipping point of the whole project,” he said. “In retail, smaller shops tend to follow bigger shops, the whole project should attract more stores, and that’s big for us.”
But it should also be good for the chain, Lairmore said.
“Their expansion has been one state at a time,” he said. “They are working their way south. It’s all about site selection and demographics. St. Joe fit and I think we do to.”
Don Laird, Columbia Chamber of Commerce president, agreed.
“They looked at Columbia and felt that the location and size of the market would work,” Laird said. “It’s not just the 95,000 people in the city but many different factors. They also have to be able to supply stores. They looked at their logistics chain and it made sense.”
Bigger chains may be attracted to Columbia for a variety of reasons, Laird said, but mainly it is overall patterns.
“They know our community is consistent, that over the years we’ve remained steady,” Laird said.
The Columbia store will have a combined area of roughly 250,000 square feet, and about a 4-acre lumber yard. The location is within one mile of both Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Laird said their close proximity to competitors could be a good thing. But Menards couldn’t comment.
“It makes it very competitive,” Laird said. “All three are large chains. But they know that people shop them; they end up feeding off each other. Hopefully they will all remain successful.”
Lairmore said the addition of Menards to Centerstate Crossing is a positive.
“It adds a new sales tax base, new employees and contributes to the overall growth of Columbia,” Lairmore said.