Crazy Commute: Wisconsin Workers to Staff ND Store

Menard will fly 50 employees from Eau Claire to Minot weekly

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 30, 2012 9:24 AM CST

(Newser) – And you thought your commute was bad: Home improvement retailer Menard plans to fly 50 workers weekly from its headquarters in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to a store in the booming town of Minot, North Dakota. A nearby oil patch has swelled the town's population to nearly 50,000 (up from 36,500 in 2000), and it's rebuilding in the wake of last year's record flooding. That combination of factors has led to strong demand for building materials, and as the only big-box building supply retailer in Minot, Menard is struggling to find job takers in a town with just a 2.3% unemployment rate.

Menard intends to train the workers at Wisconsin stores and send them to Minot "as soon as possible," says a rep for the company, which says the plan "is going to be a permanent solution for as far as we can see." Those who make the more than 500-mile commute will be housed in hotels. The AP notes that Menard has offered a starting wage of $13 an hour at the Minot store.

Menard says it will hire workers from its home base in Wisconsin and fly them to North Dakota to staff a store in Minot, which is near the state's booming oil patch.
Menard says it will hire workers from its home base in Wisconsin and fly them to North Dakota to staff a store in Minot, which is near the state's booming oil patch.   (AP Photo/The Minot Daily News, Jesse D. Watson)
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