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Costco Around the World


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Some notes from our Costco adventures this past year:

The Costco in Brooklyn, NY, is two-stories high. You get from one level to the other via a double-lane escalator-type moving walkway--the carts ride in one lane and the people on the other.

In Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, you can get a traditional lobster roll at Costco's snack bar.

Outside the Northeastern United States, the pretzels at Costco revert from nice soft ballpark-style pretzels to nasty oily suburban shopping-mall style.

At Canadian Costcos you can get french fries at the snack bar, and they're good.

The 1/4 pound kosher beef frank served at the snack bar is Hebrew National in the East, but can be other brands elsewhere.

Some Costcos have polish sausage as a choice alongside the frankfurter.

Regional products abound--Cabot cheddar in the East versus Tillamook in the Western United States.

So tell us what you know. I see on the Costco site

http://www.costco.com/frameset.asp?trg=inf...locations%2Easp

there are Costcos in Japan, the UK, and all the heck over the place. What are they like?

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

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Pizza and hot dogs are the big sellers at the Costco food counters here in the NorthWest. I think the pizza is overrated though.

We also have a new Costco Home store here in Kirkland (Do you guys have Kirkland Signature products across the US?) and will be getting some kind of Costco "gourmet" food store in the near future. Only time will tell if it is any good.

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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Same idea; different companies. And Costco is in my opinion much better than any of the competing warehouse stores.

Costco does include the former Price Club chain, though, I think.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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(Do you guys have Kirkland Signature products across the US?) and will be getting some kind of Costco "gourmet" food store in the near future.  Only time will tell if it is any good.

Ben

Yes, Kirkland Signature brand seems to be nationwide, although different regional suppliers deliver the goods. "Gourmet" sounds interesting.

FG - yes, Costco purchased Price Club, and subsumed many but not all locations

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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In the US, anybody can join. There only categorization is that business members get somewhat extended shopping hours at some stores and have access to some deals (like credit-card processing) that are unavailable to the individual (Gold Star) members like me.

http://www.costco.com/frameset.asp?trg=sub...&subid=503&log=

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The pies, breads, and muffins at Costco (in the US, on the East Coast at least), are quite good and the value is excellent. Costco has done very well streamlining the process of bringing in dough mixes and other foolproof components, and combining and baking them on premises. The recipes are well designed and not over-the-top sweet. That apple pie is an incredible value and beats what you'd get from most dedicated bakeries. Of course a really good homemade pie is going to be better, but as convenience foods go the Costco pie is a great thing.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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In the US, anybody can join. There only categorization is that business members get somewhat extended shopping hours at some stores and have access to some deals (like credit-card processing) that are unavailable to the individual (Gold Star) members like me.

http://www.costco.com/frameset.asp?trg=sub...&subid=503&log=

FG-

My husband recently switched from a business to individual membership. The only real difference in privileges is the 10:00 am for business vs. 11:00 am for individuals opening time. We can still purchase via credit card on the individual membership, at least at the central NJ Costco's. An added benefit, the Edison, NJ store sells wine. Some good names at great values.

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In the US, anybody can join. There only categorization is that business members get somewhat extended shopping hours at some stores and have access to some deals (like credit-card processing) that are unavailable to the individual (Gold Star) members like me.

http://www.costco.com/frameset.asp?trg=sub...&subid=503&log=

FG-

My husband recently switched from a business to individual membership. The only real difference in privileges is the 10:00 am for business vs. 11:00 am for individuals opening time. We can still purchase via credit card on the individual membership, at least at the central NJ Costco's. An added benefit, the Edison, NJ store sells wine. Some good names at great values.

Sorry to be unclear. I meant credit-card processing as in Costco will provide business members with those little machines you use to process credit card transactions, for off-site use. In other words, Costco provides financial services like credit-card processing -- in partnership with a bank -- to its business customers. These services are not available to Gold Star members. Business members can also process a tax-free application, assuming they're non-profit or otherwise qualified. Hours vary by store but business members usually get to go in an hour early on at least some days -- this can be great if you don't like waiting on line.

Note also that, in terms of making purchases at the store, Costco only takes American Express or debit cards. No Visa or Mastercard credit cards, at least not at the Costcos in my region.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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A friend of mine does all her shopping at Costco.  I don't know how much her roommate eats, but there's a heck of a lot of food in that house for two people.

That's the one big drawback of shopping at Costco: Many of the package sizes are far too large for DINKs. This doesn't bother me when it comes to non-perishables (we can usually find space under the bed or wherever), but it prevents me from buying very much in the way of, for example, meat from Costco. And Costco has a terrific meat section so that's a loss for both me and Costco.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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A couple of meat items you can buy in low quantity include whole chickens in a two-pack, and a single rack of lamb or small leg of lamb. Here in the Northwest you can usually find a salmon fillet that can support a small dinner party.

I agree, without extra freezer space your choices are limited; unless you can find someone else in a similar situtation and divie up the purchases.

I usually go to Costco when I'm hungry and don't feel like preparing something. All those free samples fill me up just fine! :raz:

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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Costco also sells trucks and cars, via its referral service. The current deal is $350 over invoice for most models, which is nice if you want a baseline to haggle with a different dealer. (I like haggling with sales people, it gives me great pleasure...)

Their wine and hard liquor selection in the Wayne NJ store is very extensive. If I get over there this week, I'll post their current prices in the wine folder.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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I also noticed they're now selling Dell computers. I didn't investigate the details, though -- I just saw a big sign in the Brooklyn store.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The Costco meat counter here (Ft. Myers and Naples, FL) is far superior to anything in the local supermarkets in quality and price. They do have "normally" sized packages (beef and pork 2 to 3 pounds, single whole chickens) as well as the bulk packages; that may be a concession to the large number of retirees (generally smaller volume purchasers) hereabouts. Their steaks make the supermarket offerings look sad, since the others seldom cut steaks more than 1/2" thick except by request.

The wine selection is good, and is consistently the lowest-priced in town. No hard liquor is available, though the local Sam's Club does sell it. The Naples store, which has a considerably more affluent customer base, puts all their wines on display, while the Ft. Myers store locks away the bottles costing more than about $75.

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In the last couple of weeks I read, I think it may have been in the NY Times, that Costco is the leading seller of first growth Bordeaux's in the United States.

They hired a man who is half way to becoming a wine master a few years ago (only 20 or so exist in the US in total, according to this article) and since then he has upgraded their wines. I thought this was pretty interesting since when I think of Costco, bargains usually come to mind.

Costco certainly isn't the first place I would consider when purchasing this type of wine.

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I believe Costco is the world's leading seller of Dom Perignon as well. It is also a major bookseller -- if you can get Costco to agree to carry your book you will make a ton of money.

The reality is that Costco has mostly upscale and middle-market offerings. There's very little cheap garbage in the store. The fresh food offerings, in particular, tend to be more uniformly restaurant-quality than what you'd find at a supermarket (save for a place like Wegman's, Whole Foods, or a large urban upscale specialty market).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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In the last couple of weeks I read, I think it may have been in the NY Times, that Costco is the leading seller of first growth Bordeaux's in the United States. 

They hired a man who is half way to becoming a wine master a few years ago (only 20 or so exist in the US in total, according to this article) and since then he has upgraded their wines.  I thought this was pretty interesting since when I think of Costco, bargains usually come to mind.

Costco certainly isn't the first place I would consider when purchasing this type of wine.

Costco should be among your choices for fine wines. Just don't expect to find every winery represented in the NJ stores.

One article on Costco's wine business ran in the NY Times on May 29, 2002. Written by Amanda Hesser, the article made the Dom Perignon comment and the Bordeaux comment. And, Costco sold 2.5% of all wines in the USA in 2001.

Also noted the top markup at Costco is 14%, many wines are marked up a penny over wholesale. In NJ, the three level system requires a wholesaler. The wholesalers are allowed a peek at each others proposed prices before they're finalized. If Costco or one of its affiliates decides to buy a wholesaler, and charge a penny over the winery plus shipping, the state might lose a whole lot in sales tax revenue.

Article was discussed on egullet, a search under costco in the wine folder will show it. I posted the original comment

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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The wine selection is good, and is consistently the lowest-priced in town.

Costco's world head quarters is located here in Issaquah Washington; about 15 miles east of Seattle. A friend of mine who is very wine knowledgeable says that many Costco executives love good wine. Since they live in the area, many "east side" Costcos get a very good selction. I don't know about elsewhere in the country. *Supposedly* Costco gets great deals on wine by purchasing high volumes of the lower quality wines of a particular vitner in exchange for getting the higher quality wines at a lower price.

For example; the Kirkland Costco (about 15 miles north of Issaquah) currently have several different types of Penfolds wine, such as Bin 28 shiraz, bin 407 cab sauv... I guess this is why I was able to pick up two bottles of 1997 Penfolds Grange for a mere $129 a bottle. I wish I had gotten there earlier to gather up a case. Other local stores are selling the '97 Grange for $180.

They do rotate their inventory quickly, and it seems once the store's supply is gone, they replenish it with something else.

I now visit Costco weekly for this very reason. Usually I walk out empty handed which is very hard to do.

Edited by Really Nice! (log)

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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