Earlier this week, a Menards spokesman cited President Barack Obama's policies as the reason for pulling the plug on plans to build a new store on the O'Fallon-Lake Saint Louis border. Some Patch readers said they support the decison, while others said they aren't buying the reasoning.
O'Fallon Patch reported on Dec. 6, according to documents in the O'Fallon Planning and Zoning Commission meeting agenda packet, representatives from the store requested to withdraw the applications for the conditional use permit, site plan and rezoning for the project at the end of November.
O'Fallon Planning and Development Director David Woods said he was told the decision was made looking at the "big picture," which included the economic direction of the country, in addition to the fact that another Menards is currently under construction nearby in St. Peters.
The Suburban Journals reported Monday that a Menard's spokesman has blamed President Obama and his administration for Menard's decision to withdraw the plans.
The Journal quoted an email from Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott: "I'm very sorry, but we are a family owned business and with the Obama Administration scaring the dickens out of all small businesses in the USA at present, we have decided not to risk expansion until things are more settled."
Here's what local readers had to say about the home-improvement store withdrawing plans to build in O'Fallon:
- Chad Groharing: "I have two problems with this: 1) What is the definition of small business to Menard's? They are a NATIONAL CHAIN. 2) Obama was president when they started building this location and that didn't stop them. I think Menard's is full of it."
- Don Staten: Obama's (and the majority's) policies are not preventing this store location? Must be Menard's double-speak, or their impersonation of a politician, eh? I won't shop there anyway."
- MoDans: "Isn't amazing how easy it is to blame the President for an uninformed business decision to build two stores so close together? 'How do we save face when we cancel the building of one store? Hey, let's just blame Obama!'"
- Chad Groharing: "Didn't they start building in St. Charles Co. before Obama's re-election? Poor excuse, Menard's."
- Don Wells: "The other side is still blaming George Bush for everything, everyone needs somebody, lol."
- Cheryl Hibbeler: "This has nothing to do with Obama, and to believe this idiotic company's statement is to say you all believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny. This is just just a company not getting what it wanted from the local community and deciding to use politics rather than its own poor management decision. Please, they are just trying to trump up sympathy to get OFallon to put up some tax abatement options or TIF money. Businesses today are not like they used to be, they have grown accustomed to putting all the risk on the local governments and all the profits in their pockets. Corporate welfare (local, state, federal) has now surpassed the cost of social welfare (food stamps, aid to dependent children). This is just one more reason that I will bypass a Menard's store to shop at a locally owned actual SMALL business. Buy locally and stop the tax abatement and TIF bidding wars."
- Devon Seddon: "Obama IS partially responsible for making it harder & harder to do business in this country. Pretending he isn't (& doesn't want to further these hinderances) is simply not understanding what's going on. It's like when people blamed Bush for gas prices, yet when their party got in & gas nearly doubled, they never said a word. It all of the sudden, it wasn't the President's fault. Just so you know, the assumption that business "puts all of the risk on government & all the profits in their pockets", is a short-sighted, misinformed, distraction. First, POLITICIANS have created the TIF environment, THEY control TIFs, not businesses. Second, the United States of America has the largest corporate tax-rate in the world, with a push by the short-sighted to take more. Like it or not, GOVERNMENT is the reason businesses are: going out of business, leaving the country, or not opening a store when they otherwise would have. This isn't some big business trick. It's what you're supposed to think so you don't see or understand this administrations' literal attack on business & industry. Government is responsible for the current reduction in the amount of business being done in this country. This same party sold loans to these businesses that they knew were worthless, then bailed-out only SOME of those investors. Merryl Lynch & Bear Stearnes were cut loose, but Goldmann-Sachs was bailed-out. Same with insurance companies not named AIG. Business didn't do this, your government did."
- Cathy Mueller Hoffmann: "Can't exactly blame them... so many small businesses have already had to close their doors because of the recession, and now with the Obamacare going into effect AND the loss of the Bush tax cuts.. financial stability for small businesses is going to be up in the air for quite some time! It's a shame for O'Fallon & those who may have benefited from their employment.. but I don't blame Menards. They are simply looking out for those they already employ, which is EXTREMELY respectable!!"
As Patch previously reported, the Menards is set to open in St. Peters in the spring of 2013. The store is expected to add 150-200 jobs to the area.
If construction remains on schedule, the St. Peters location could be the first Menards in the region to open. The 162,000 square foot store is being built at Spencer Road, on the south side of Executive Centre Parkway—the store will sit behind the McDonald's at the intersection of Spencer and Mexico Roads.