Wisconsin-based hardware chain Menards looking at Billings, Montana, for possible location, say city officials; privately held Menards has 280 stores in 14 Midwest and Mountain states, no stores in Montana

BILLINGS, Montana , June 23, 2014 () – Representatives of Menards, a Wisconsin-based hardware chain, are sniffing around the Billings West End for a possible expansion, city officials said Friday.

Menards officials had a "pre-application meeting" with Billings city planners recently to discuss water and sewer costs, road access and other possible development issues, according to Mary Krenzler, the city's permit technician.

The company has not filed for building permits, and company officials did not confirm Friday whether they plan to move forward and build a store. Krenzler declined to identify the property in question.

The family-owned, privately held Menards has 280 stores in 14 Midwest and Mountain states. The company operates no stores in Montana, but has a location in Casper, Wyo., Rapid City, S.D., and Dickinson, N.D.

If Menards does decide to build a Billings store, it would probably compete directly with West End neighbors Lowe's and Home Depot. The two home-improvement box stores took big hits during the recession because of the housing collapse, but they are recovering.

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