Menards application

Menards has requested that the city table activity on its rezoning demand for another store on the east part of town.

Before the Decorah City Council’s third formal review on the retailer’s rezoning demand this week, City Manager menards tm Chad Bird said Tyler Edwards, Menards land delegate, mentioned any further activity on the Menards application be postponed pending conceivable site-plan changes.

The committee proceeded with the formal conference as booked. Menards needs to rezone around 17 sections of land of floodplain to C-4 strip mall business for a 209,500-square-foot store that would incorporate a full stockpiling yard behind it and a distribution center structure. Menards additionally is proposing to construct a tempest water lake related to the undertaking.

After Bird’s declaration, Mayor Lorraine Borowski said there is an opportunity Menards could fabricate its new store nearer to the street — Old Stage Road — and not encroach as much on the flood plain.

In the event that Menards presents another site plan, the procedure begins once again, with Menards presenting another application to the Decorah Planning and Zoning Commission, which will make its suggestion to the committee. “Customer service is why we exist,” General Manager Chris Fisher said. “We have our own niche, carrying products as a one-stop shop. We know customers are happy … and we’re happy to be here.”

Fisher, who previously opened locations in Illinois as an assistant general manager, also said the Taylor location is the largest Menards megastore in Michigan.

Located less than a mile from a Home Depot and less than four miles from a Lowe’s, Menards employees said they plan on outcompeting them on customer service and product variety. Their biggest challenger, though, may be a retailer that didn’t open its first physical location until two years ago: Amazon.

According to an analysis by e-commerce market researcher Slice Intelligence, Jeff Bezos’ capitalist behemoth made up 43 percent of all U.S. online retail sales in 2016, an area in which Menards and every other “big box” retailer also competes.

For customers, price match guarantees at many brick-and-mortars make the decision less a financial one and more a tangibility one. That is, the value of shopping at a physical location comes from seeing and feeling products in-person, asking store employees for expert advice and immediately walking out the door with a new purchase. With approximately 200 employees, Menards’ first Downriver location will aim to keep home improvement shopping human.