Guest Post: New Costco – Rego Park, NY

July 8th, 2010 · 19 Comments

If you wanted to meet Costco co-founder/CEO Jim Sinegal and president Craig Jelinek this morning, all you had to do was to be at the new Costco that opened up today at 8AM in Rego Park, Queens in New York City.

There was Craig checking out the rotisserie chicken samples and saying hello to customers and staff while Jim quietly wandered through the clothing examining the shirts. Certainly Costco doesn’t have as many locations as McDonalds but it was still nice to see the company’s most senior leadership wandering around their newest location across the country from their HQ. I had the pleasure to shake hands with Jim, who in my opinion, along with Sol Price, forever changed the retail industry with their creation of the Price Club/Costco model. Jim has only increased the quality, service, and offerings of their stores while other big box stores seem to be in a constant race for the bottom.

Here is my quick early review to the new Costco: 2 thumbs up.

Address:

Warehouse Hours:

  • M-F 10:00am – 8:30pm
  • Sa 9:30am – 6:00pm
  • Sun 10:00am – 6:00pm

It’s similar to most other Costcos (surprise) but it doesn’t have that massive warehouse feeling because it isn’t a massive warehouse. I would guess it’s 60-70% the size of their largest warehouses and there are lower ceilings, giving it more of a Target feeling. The store is on the lower level of the shopping center and the parking lot goes all the way down to the store. At Sears, which shares the parking lot, they charge $2 for 2 hours. I assume it’s a similar charge (unfortunately). It’s a very convenient location right next to the Long Island Expressway and Queens Boulevard. One thing I specifically noticed is that it’s very bright (being in a basement there is no reliance on skylights) and it’s also very clean, but it’s new so who knows how long that’ll last. (Here’s hoping) The layout will seem largely familiar, (bakery in back, tvs in front, clothes in middle) but because the location is actually wider than it seems it’s slightly disorienting coming from other Costcos. (When you go, you’ll know what I mean).

Some of their sections and selections were much smaller than other, more suburban Costcos. The area surrounding the new Costco tends to be urban, middle class, mostly apartment dwellers; the store was stocked appropriately. There were a lot fewer of the bigger outdoorsy things such as kids playgrounds or sheds or boats that you can get at their other stores. Their food selection however seemed more diverse and larger. Strangely the DVD selection was tiny, without any kids Disney DVD movies and barely any adult dvd movies. The book selection was good but small, limited to current popular books. A number of really great kids book packs (Roald Dahl & Beatrix Potter) The television department selection was about 1/2 the size that I’ve seen at other Costcos. Their bakery is good sized and has a kosher heckscher (certificate saying all the bakery food is kosher).

Additional thoughts:

  • I noticed the food/hotdog stand was running but I didn’t get a chance to check out their selections.
  • Great deal on Skecher Shape Up sneakers for $69 (my wife was looking for them and the cheapest we saw was $99)
  • In the deli section they had something I’d never seen before, Costco homemade Paella.
  • They also had a large antipasto “bar” and help-yourself olive “bar”
  • Seemed to be a few more company sample displays (such as Junior cheesecakes) as opposed to regular sample servers. Either because it’s a grand opening or Costco is moving in this direction.
  • Great location for them, 5 min from Laguardia and near 3 major highways. I’m just glad I don’t live immediately nearby and have to put up with all the traffic it will generate.
  • No tire center….right when I need new tires.

The opening was nice, tons of staff and Costco muckety-mucks around to help or gawk, free coffee and soda, tons of samples (though who wants to eat buffalo chicken meatballs at 8AM?) The shopping center is shared with a Century 21, Kohls, and TJ Maxx. Sears/Old Navy/Bed Bath Beyond/Marshalls are across the street.

Definitely an addition to the neighborhood, personally it will be nice to have a Costco 7 minutes away, but I can only imagine what traffic will be like around there on a weekend.

Paul

Share

Tags: Guest Posts · In the News Share

19 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Tex // 2012.11.17 at 2:10 am

    Still have to pay. Can someone post the areas where you can park on street and don’t have to pay? Parking on the street is the way to go, I hate breathing in parking garages.

  2. 2 Costco Shopper // 2011.02.20 at 1:19 pm

    This is a great Costco but the parking charge is probably going to kill it. It’s the lowest volume store in NY (and perhaps elsewhere) according to the administrative staff at the other locations. They need to find a way to waive parking fees for their members. Perhaps a validation with purchase.

    It was way too easy to find a spot the last time I went here and that was during Christmas shopping season so I think the other stores would benefit from the increased customer activity that free parking would create.

  3. 3 Cash // 2010.10.20 at 6:47 pm

    The fact that you have to pay for parking at this new Costco, seems a bit off to me, UNLESS you’re already going to shop at the other stores. I just wouldnt find it worth it to just go to the rego Park Costco and pay for parking. I think I’ll just stick to BJ’s on Metropolitan Ave., where it is as it should be: FREE parking.

  4. 4 mike // 2010.09.11 at 4:14 pm

    Driving to this Costco with heavy traffic getting off the I-495 and now customers have to pay for parking!!! Unlike the ones in LIC and Brooklyn…where it should be free parking…Disappointed!!!

  5. 5 Jennifer // 2010.08.30 at 10:42 am

    Since I both work and live in the vicinity of this new Costco, I’m delighted to have it nearby. Many times, especially in warm weather, frozen items were defrosting by the time I got them home from Lawrence because the Van Wyck can be so problematic.

    I went to Rego Park recently on a Sunday (normally packed to the gills in Lawrence) and was in and out quickly. Plus I found parking on the street, and since i was with someone, they went and got the car while I waited on the street level. Not as good as parking in a free lot, but certainly bearable.

  6. 6 Priya // 2010.07.28 at 9:36 pm

    Am a new Costco member.. with this one opening in Rego park and living 3 blocks away couldn’t let go…

    Have a question… realized that they carry AMC theater discounted tickets, asked for the Regal cinemas.. as those are the ones that in existing in Rego park and forest hills… they said Regal cinema doesn’t want them to sell those discounted tickets at this location… now does anyone know that if i have to order them online on costco does Regal Cinema & AMC accept/honor them in New york and the boroughs? or is there ant additional surcharge.???

    • 7 Kimberly // 2010.07.29 at 7:03 am

      @Priya, if you go to Costco.com, you can see all of the movie and event tickets that Costco has on offer. The AMC tickets clearly state that there are no restrictions and no expiration dates, however, one of the reviews said there was a surchage to see a 3D movie. There are two different Regal Cinema ticket packages available online through Costco.com too. The Regal Premiere Super Saver package says there is no expiration but that there will be a surcharge for IMAX, Large Format or 3-D Films and Manhattan, NY locations. The http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11248844&whse=BC&Ne=4000000&eCat=BC|50129|56452|56488&N=4017455&Mo=2&No=2&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&cat=56488&Ns=P_Price|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&hierPath=50129*56452*56488*&topnav=" target="_blank"Regal Ultimate Premier package is just 2 tickets but comes with a $10 concession stand voucher. It’s got the same surcharges for the IMAX and 3D films in Manhattan.

  7. 8 Kimberly // 2010.07.19 at 6:53 am

    I finally remembered to add the great pictures that Paul provided with his post about the Rego Park opening.

  8. 9 Paul // 2010.07.13 at 2:58 pm

    Shuli, totally understand hatred of paying for parking.

    Joanne, with Queens traffic there is no way to get from where I am in Forest Hills the Costco in Astoria in under 30-45 minutes. I’ve tried the grand central, and the LIE, neither is particularly fast especially on a weekend. Lawrence is slightly further but takes the same amount of time on a weekend as to get to Astoria, it’s larger, and parking is (much) easier.

    John, All good points. Interesting comparison to BJs.

    Paul

  9. 10 joanne simons // 2010.07.12 at 8:49 pm

    you do not have to travel to Lawrence the costco in Long island city is not more than 15-20 minutes away and no charge for parking, It would make sense to a regular costco shopper to be reimbursed in some way

  10. 11 JNG // 2010.07.12 at 11:59 am

    I live nearby, so I have gone to the new Costco the past 3 days in a row. (Once on my own, then with my family, then with my wife’s family who wanted to check it out). I am not experienced with other Costco’s but I had previously always gone to BJs.

    Some thoughts…

    Entry and exit are both a bit of a hassle. There are special elevators that go to the basement, but you are constantly running into traffic in the opposite direction. They let people take carts out of the store and out onto the street (which makes sense given the size of purchases)… but the area in front of the elevator is rather narrow, so not the best layout.

    To enter the store, you have to walk past the exit. I think they should have put the registers where the TVs are, so that people can enter without necessarily running into people who are exiting. Also, lost of people mistake the exit for the entrance, causing “pileups”.

    I love the samples. It really does help with purchase decisions. Esp when you are buying huge boxes of the product. We found a tea cracker that we liked but also learned we do not like almond butter. BJ’s has very few samples.

    The lines are great compared to BJs. I purchased 3 times and never had to wait behind more than one person. Twice I went straight to an open cashier. This was on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening. After routinely waiting for 20-30 minutes to pay at BJ’s this is heaven. Course, my purchases are also smaller, since I can now go much more frequently than our once every 5 weeks to BJs. I saw lots of others like me… we live within walking distance, so we just bring a shopping cart. No need to drive.

    Traffic is noticeably increased. Not as bad as when Kohl’s $10 off 20 and C21’s 25% coupon expired on the same weekend. That was crazy. I expect traffic will continue to increase for awhile, as more and more people learn about the store opening. Hopefully it will level off at an acceptable level.

    I am very excited to have Costco here. I hope they can fix the entrance/exit issues. Did I mention that it took longer to exit than it took to pay? Worse of all, the waiting area for the elevators is not air conditioned. On Friday, there was a bit of ruckus because an (overly) sensitive guy in a motorized wheelchair got frustrated and was yelling at people for bumping/surrounding him. This was the same person who nearly ran over a lady exiting the elevator because he backed up without warning and without looking. On Sunday, they did try to organize the hallway a bit better with traffic cones, but it did not really help.

  11. 12 shuli // 2010.07.11 at 12:07 am

    paul- i came up with the same reasoning, and its absolutely logical, but I HATE paying for parking, so i may ignore the logic

    ill be out of town for the next few weeks, but will pay a visit to rego park at the beginning of august, and if they still seem as organized and customer centric as they were on day #1, that might be more convincing to me than logic, do me a favor and keep us updated, when you go back

    do they still have lines that are movign really quickly do they still have someone making sure theres a lack of bottlenecking on the lines, THAT was amazing

    sidenote on your reasoning, gas seems to always be cheaper, at least 5-7 cents, on the south shore, even in lawrence, that should figure in to your equation as well :-)

    shuli

  12. 13 Paul // 2010.07.09 at 11:13 pm

    Shuli,
    I’ve thought about it a bit :) here’s my rationale:

    Time to Lawrence Costco: 30 minutes (at least) each way, 60 minutes total
    Time to Rego Park Costco: 7 minute trip each way, 14 total (and no Van Wyck expressway) to new Costco.
    Savings: 45 minutes

    Gas to Lawrence: 10 miles each way, 20 miles total.
    My car gets about 20mpg so I use 1 gallon of gas for the trip. Gas = $2.90/gallon = $2.90 in gas costs.
    Gas to Rego Park: 2 miles each way, 4 miles total using .2 gallons of gas, = $.58 cents in gas costs.
    Savings: $2.32

    In addition to time and gas Costco Rego Park is on my commute home down Queens Boulevard so I can go in the evenings when it’s less crowded and spend less time on line, looking for parking, etc. I can only go to Lawrence on the weekends.

    Personally it’s a win=win even with the charge for parking.
    Paul

  13. 14 John // 2010.07.09 at 5:44 pm

    Just on the pay parking, my sister lives in Vancouver, BC where the Costco in the Downtown there also charges $2 for 2 hours. Everywhere else in Downtown core of Vancouver is pay parking, I would imagine if Costco didn’t charge, everyone would be parking there for free to do non-Costco shopping/functions etc. Still $2 for 2 hours is better then $3 per hour on the street. When I went there on my last visit, the parking lot was packed, and in talking to some people at the pay station, their repsonse was “it’s downtown, what do you expect”. The alternative was to spend $5 in gas battling traffic to go to the other locations in the suburbs to park for free.

  14. 15 shuli // 2010.07.09 at 4:01 pm

    paul,
    if u live in the area it doesnt pay to get on the vanwyck and just go to lawrence?

  15. 16 Paul // 2010.07.08 at 10:27 pm

    @Gay
    Yes, it’s a NYC thing. They also charge at Costco 116th Street Manhattan.

    It’s disappointing that Costco has condoned this practice. Then again it’s NYC, they probably didn’t have a choice anyways, and the rent they’re paying here is probably many factors higher than almost anywhere else.

    Rego Park has become a very large shopping area and all the nearby malls all charge for parking. The alternative is to hunt on the street so it’s usually not practical especially with Costco sized shopping. (In reality it’s ironic because the land where Costco was built used to be a free parking lot for Alexanders department store)

    Note that Brooklyn and Astoria, the other NYC Costco locations, both have free parking. Lawrence (near JFK airport) is also free too.

    As I said in the post I live nearby so it’s economically worthwhile to pay a small parking charge or go during off hours to find street parking rather than spend 60-90 minutes round trip in traffic.

    Paul

  16. 17 shuli // 2010.07.08 at 9:36 pm

    in that immediate area, they charge for parking, but i live like 10 minutes away, and noone charges in their lots, and the 3 other costcos all within abt 20 miles dont charge

  17. 18 Gay Ayyagari // 2010.07.08 at 8:33 pm

    you have to pay for parking? can’t believe it! guess we’re lucky here in maryland having a large parking lot and no $$. sounds like a rip off. do other shopping centers charge for parking there?

  18. 19 shuli // 2010.07.08 at 6:47 pm

    just went after seeing your post, i found it confusing as well, and am horrified at the prospect of paying to park at costco or having to walk out with costco size merchandise, the selection was good, as a kosher shopping, they had a couple of products that the 5 towns costco had when it initially started its kosher section, but no longer has, specifically the classic apple souffle, this stuff is INSANELY good, also the roasted veg souffle which is very good, but the other costco still has that one

    i thought the fruit seemed to be of a better consistent quality, i find stuff like cherries, strawberries and grapes are hit or miss at costco lately and sometimes u have to look at 5 countainers to find one with no mushy stuff, today everything i picked up looked great, i didnt need to look at a single second container

    they also had a greazt situation at the registers, very organized, not the crazy lines theyve had lately at westbury

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  Notify me when other users comment on this post.

 

Subscribe