Take a peek into the new Bradenton Costco
The countdown is on — less than one day — for members eager to start shopping at the Bradenton Costco, which is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
Right up until the opening, the 210 employees will be working to fill the 155,000-square-foot warehouse at 805 Lighthouse Drive to bring the full Costco experience to life in Manatee County.
What’s more, it will take only 110 days from the time the walls went up until the warehouse opens, manager Hector Mencia said.
Mencia, who has been working for 30 years at Costco, dating to his days as a college student in Garden Grove, Calif., and 20 years as a store manager, was an island of calm recently as preparations whirled around him.
“I am surrounded by so much talent,” Mencia said, explaining his confidence in Costco employees.
“We did not have any issues with hiring. We had in excess of 2,000 applications in our system,” Menica said. “Once they join Costco, employees don’t want to leave. The feel after a while it is like a mom-and-pop store because there is no turnover.”
The question for first-time Costco shoppers might be, “What should I expect?”
Here are 10 things to look for:
▪ The foot-long, all-beef hot dog with a drink sells for $1.50 and includes free refills. The Bradenton Costco will have a food court and the hot dog is just one of the offerings. Others are pizza, salads and frozen yogurt.
▪ Food samples are popular with members, with the ever-changing bite-size samples offered in many aisles. Costco sells fresh bakery items, fresh meat and has a fresh deli with rotisserie chicken.
▪ There are a lot of products, about 4,000 of them, including Costco’s private label, Kirkland Signature. There are also national brands such as Callaway Golf, Carter’s, Champion, Disney, Dom Perignon, General Mills, KitchenAide, Kraft, Michelin, Panasonic, Samsonite, Samsung and Sony. You can even buy a $62,000 diamond ring. The No. 1 seller? Kirkland brand toilet paper.
▪ One of the traffic drivers at Costco is gasoline. The new Bradenton warehouse will have 18 pumps and competitive prices with its Kirkland Signature fuel.
▪ The Costco experience starts in the parking lot with oversized spaces. “You feel confident that your car won’t be dinged,” Mencia said.
▪ Costco has concrete floors and is a no-frills operation designed to pass along savings to shoppers. It is a comprehensive shopping experience, where members can buy cars and trucks, cell phone service, heating and air conditioning products, custom countertops, water treatment, water heaters, window fashions and tires.
▪ Kirkland brand 16-ounce bottled water sells for 25 cents.
▪ The Costco pharmacy will offer vaccinations for shingles, flu, pneumonia, tetanus, whooping cough, and hepatitis, plus pet medications, said pharmacy manager Katie Ferguson, a Palmetto resident.
▪ A membership is required to shop at Costco. Memberships start at $60 a year and include one free household card. Costco is pushing its executive memberships for $120 a year. Executive members receive an annual 2 percent reward, up to $1,000 on qualified purchases at the end of the year.
▪ Among the departments at Costco are optometry, hearing aid, and beer, liquor and fine wine.
Costco will have 780 warehouses with the opening of the Bradenton facility. The company has warehouses in 44 states, plus several countries. In fiscal 2018, Costco earned $138.4 billion in revenue.
“Manatee County is exploding with growth. This is a great location,” Ferguson said of the warehouse located on the northeast corner of Interstate 75 and State Road 64.
Mencia is transferring from the Clearwater warehouse to the Bradenton operation.
“We are thrilled to be bringing Costco’s low warehouse prices to the residents of Bradenton. They have been asking us to open here for a long time, and we already have made an impact on the local job market. We look forward to contributing to this community in many ways,” Mencia said.
For more information, visit costco.com.