ST. PETERS, MO (KTVI) - Menards opened in the Bi-state at 6:30 Tuesday morning, for the very first time. One store opened in O`Fallon, Illinois. A line waited outside for general manager Ryan Gawinski and his staff in St. Peters, Missouri.
"Some people are aware of what we do. Some people want to see what we do," he explained why there was so much excitement for a store that never before existed in the metro area.
Shopper Bob Hawkins went inside, left to help a friend, then came right back.
"It`s a great store. It has a lot of variety. The displays are nice. Everything is easy to get to. The patio display is awesome," he said. "I`m looking forward to going back in and spending some more money."
Inside, customers found enough lumber and tools to build a commercial property. There were also enough sinks and appliances to fill a house. But shopper Gloria Turner found a few things she did not expect.
"Not socks. I was looking at some socks for my grandson. And I saw that and said, `Hm,` and boots."
Gawinski said it took about seven weeks to get the store ready for customers. But, he said getting local people jobs was the company`s first priority.
"We actually brought on 200 people from the local area," he explained. "First four weeks, however were just hiring."
He agreed that students were fortunate to get these positions ahead of the summer-job rush.
"We`ve got some older folks, a lot of younger kids too," Gawinski said. "It`s a good mix that meets everyone`s needs."
Shoppers said they found that help in the aisles filled with everything from shelving, to pet needs, to groceries.
"A lot of people to help you out, assist you through things," Turner said.
"We`re ready to be your hometown hardware store, or whatever you need us to be," Gawinski promised.
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