Lowe's Opens in Wisconsin; Menards Figures In Competition

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A North Carolina-based home improvement store makes its debut in Wisconsin Tuesday with the opening of its first store in Milwaukee.

Lowe's opening sets up a battle among three retail giants: Home Depot, the country's largest home improvement chain; the Number Two Lowes; and Eau Claire-based Menards.

Menards is sixth in the country in the category.

Neil Stern, a partner at a Chicago retail consulting firm, says big chains don't usually have to deal with strong local competition like Menards.

Speculation in the 90s was that Lowe's was holding off coming into Wisconsin in hopes of buying Menards eventually.

Now, Lowe's also will open stores in Manitowoc and Plover later this year.