Michigan AG warns Menards to stop ‘opportunistic’ business practices during pandemic

LANSING— Home improvement retailer Menards is again receiving a warning from the state of Michigan, this time regarding alleged business practices that the state's attorney general calls "opportunistic" and "endangering to the health of customers and employees."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office sent a letter to Menards on March 31 regarding reports that the company’s stores have been engaging in business practices which “might endanger the health of customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The complaints allege that Menards is intentionally marketing and advertising to drive additional business into stores in violation of the stay-at-home order.

Some of the reports came from Menards employees who “fear for their safety,” the letter said.

The letter demands that Menards stops any and all activities that run contrary to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, including marketing and sales practices that are designed to increase customer presence in stores for non-emergent purposes. 

Menards is currently allowed to remain open to the public to supply goods that fall under certain provisions of the executive order but the retailer and other similar home improvement stores are only allowed to supply goods to the public that are “necessary to maintain and improve the safety, sanitation and essential operations of a residence,” and should have as few employees as needed to do so.

These latest reports follow a cease and desist letter sent to Menards on March 17 that warned the retailer about participating in price gouging practices. The company responded with a public apology to customers. 

Menards is also no longer allowing children and pets into stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A notice posted to the retailer’s website details that children under the age of 16 are no longer allowed inside. The notice said that anyone who appears to be under the age of 16 will be asked to show identification.

Pets will not be allowed inside of stores, either, but service dogs are still welcome inside of the stores, the notice said.

Menards store hours have changed to Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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