Usually I can find a cohesive theme for the news stories about Costco, however, this time I’ve got a bunch of stuff that doesn’t really flow together. There’s some news about new locations, American Express in Canada, and a new green (as in environmental, not color) product. So, just a whole lot of stuff that isn’t enough for a post but still deserves a mention, I think.
Locations: First off, I’ll talk about the stuff that you all really, really care about: where new Costco locations are being built. Unfortunately, there’s no news for some of the places you have been asking for one (like, Florida) but there’s news for the Fort Oglethorpe, GA / Chattanooga, TN area and Mettawa, IL.
Georgia & Tennessee: Costco will be coming to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, a short drive from Chattanooga. This means that the people in that area will have their first big competitor to Sam’s Club, finally. Of course, for years it’s just been Sam’s Club, so I’m wondering if Costco will have any problem getting traction there initially. But I think that having another shopping option will be good for the area because there are definitely far different products offered at Costco, things you’d never get at Sam’s Club. Apparently, Costco has been in negotiations with Fort Oglethorpe for more than a year to open a new location to Cloud Springs Road, off of I-75. The county will buy the land slated for the new Costco for $4.8 million, do approximately $4.5 million in necessary improvements, and then sell it to Costco for $4.8 million. So, basically the city has spent $4.5 million to lure Costco to the area. So there is a bit of controversy about property taxes and sales taxes and how it will affect residents in the area. However, the county feels very strongly that any rise in property taxes will be completely offset by the increase in sales tax collected due to the new Costco. They believe Costco will bring in enough sales tax revenue to pay off the county debt for improvements in 5 years. But there are some that feel like this is just moving the cost that county residents will pay from property taxes to sales taxes, since they believe that it will mostly be in-county shoppers at the Costco location. However, I’m pretty sure that people will drive from al over the area to shop there. Costco says that a location can draw shoppers from as far away as 30 or 40 miles away. Or, even farther as many people on here can attest to. And they also don’t mention that there will be lots of jobs created in the county by opening this new Costco location, and surely that will be a great thing for the area. So, I think this is great news for the surrounding area, including Chattanooga, TN. Since there seem to be such a small number of Costco’s in that area, I’m sure that this will turn out to be a very good thing. The county will work on site prep until sometime in late May, with Costco’s plans to complete the new warehouse in about 110 days, that means that the new location should be open around mid to late August 2010.
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: ‘Hilltop’ Revealed: Costco
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: Costco Challenges Local Sam’s Club For Customers
- News Channel 9, Chattanooga TN: How Does Costco Club Work?
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: County Balances Cost of Costco
Mettawa / Lake Forest, IL: So, this bunch of stories caught my attention because they’re talking about Costco, of course, but also because it involves the town where I went to college, Lake Forest. Lake Forest is a beautiful town right on the shore of Lake Michigan, lots of trees, lots of gorgeous houses, and lots and lots of money (sadly, I didn’t have any when I was there but the residents sure did). It’s the money that makes them a little over the top in their building requirements. It was over 6 months before I realized there was a Burger King in town because they could only have this little tiny sign on their door; beyond low key. In any case, it came as no shock to me when I saw that there was a big, big uproar when Costco was thinking of coming to town. It almost makes me laugh to even think about that happening. This whole debate started in late 2004 when a developer submitted plans to the city of Lake Forest for development of 40 acres near I-94 and listed Costco as a potential buyer. But instead of allowing the Costco to move in, the city bought some of the land for their new municipal services building, and some of it was sold to others. So, despite the huge potential increase in sales tax revenue for the Lake Forest, it will now be in Mettawa, on the southeast corner of Route 60 and Riverwoods Road, just slightly southwest of where the Lake Forest site was to be located. But there was plenty of drama regarding the building of a Costco in Mettawa too, including two lawsuits and two years of discussion and debate. One lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice by Judge Mitchell Hoffman and was not appealed; the other was settled recently by all parties, including the Village. After a two year debate about to build or not to build, Mettawa has finally agreed to let the new Costco build in the village. The new Costco should be open in November 2010. But of course, Lake Forest is still a little disgusted and wants to make sure that everyone there shops locally at the various small retailers, instead of going to the new Costco.
- LakeForester.com: Lawsuits Settled, Costco Slated to Open in Mettawa in November
- LakeForester.com: Local retailers shrug off threat of Costco store off Route 60
American Express Canada: American Express Canada and Costco are rolling out the TrueEarnings card so that Costco shoppers there can take advantage of the great program that has been available in the US for a number of years. It has the same basic benefits as the US card: earn a full 3% cash back at eligible restaurants, 2% cash back at eligible gas stations up to$3,000 annually and 1% thereafter and up to 1% cash back on daily purchases such as groceries. Cardmembers can then easily use their annual rebate toward goods, services or cash at Costco. This is great since American Express is the only card accepted at Costco’s 77 Canadian locations. If you’ve got an American Express Costco Cash Rebate card, it will still be accepted, but you do have the option of switching to the new TrueEarnings card. If you’d like to apply for the TrueEarnings card, you can get more information at your local Costco or you can apply online at AmericanExpress.ca/TrueEarnings.
Environmentally Friendly GoECOlife™ SOHO 8-Sheet ULTRA-QUIET™ Paper Shredder: I had to write about this, mostly so that I would understand how a paper shredder can be carbon free. Apparently, at Costco.com you can now buy the world’s first CarbonFree® Certified carbon neutral paper shredder. Who knew? The paper shredder has earned Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree® Certified Label, the world‘s leading carbon neutral product label and the first in the U.S. So, yeah, what the heck does that mean? To earn the CarbonFree Product Certification, the GoECOlife SOHO 8-Sheet ULTRA-QUIET Paper Shredder underwent a rigorous product life-cycle assessment performed by WSP Group to determine the carbon footprint. In addition to using energy-saving technology, GoECOlife reduced the remaining carbon footprint through support of Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. The personal or home office type shredder utilizes an energy-saving technology that prevents vampire energy waste when the shredder is not in use and plugged in. The shredder is manufactured with materials that meet Restriction of Hazardous Substances standards (RoHS-compliant) and is packaged with recycled, partially recycled and/or biodegradable materials. You can currently buy the shredder at Costco.com for $59.99 (including shipping). For that price you get the shredder, plus a 12-pack of GoECOlife Lubricant Sheets, an ENVY GREEN Reusable Canvas Tote and a “Green Facts” Mouse Pad. So, go forth and shred in an environmentally friendly fashion!