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Bring back the Menards Guy

February 21, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

With our new massive Menards on the way soon I want just one thing for its new opening.

We need the Menards Guy to return.

Do you remember him?.

The white-haired, high-strung old dude who would yell "Menards!" into the camera during those commercials. Love him or hate him, you can say at least he grabbed your attention, which is the point of a commercial in the first place.

Well, I haven't seen him in those spots in several years so I think he needs a triumphant comeback and he needs to do it in Marshalltown. Iowa Avenue would be crawling with traffic once word got out the Menards Guy was in town.

You may be surprised to know that I once met the Menards Guy and got his autograph. I know, you must be very jealous.

A new Menards store was opening in Peru, Ill. and we heard he was making an appearance, so mom and I drove 15 miles from where we lived to check it out.

He looked a bit different without the caked-on television makeup and seemed a lot more mellow than his in-your-face commercial persona.

I made my mom yell "Menards!" in her best Menards Guy impression when we met him. He acted like that was the millionth time he heard it that day.

After further research, I realize he actually has a real name and its not Menards Guy. It is Ray Szmanda and he is 85 years old. He hasn't been on TV in years but I just saw a print ad with his comic likeness, so the company is still maintaining a connection to him.

I'm not sure how mobile he is right now at his age or if he is even in good health. Some internet searches on him didn't give me too many details about how he is holding up. But here's hoping he can hop on a plane and join us for this momentous occasion.

A visit to Marshalltown has to be on everyone's bucket list.

When I met him it was approximately 15 years ago when that store opened. I cherished the black and white glossy autographed photo for all of three weeks before I lost it I think.

Maybe I was only meant to see him once and it appears he has rode off into the sunset, but I thought it was worth a try for my fellow area residents.

I've made my case, now the ball is in your court Menards Guy.

Shall we meet again?


Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or



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