Saturday, June 22, 2024

What It Was Like To Shop At The First Costco – Tasting Table

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Price created a big-bulk warehouse empire with Price Club, but by the time the ’90s rolled around, it was tough keeping up with competitors like Sam’s Club and Costco. Thus began the war of the warehouses. As Price confirmed to Fortune Magazine in 2003, Sam’s Club — an off-shoot of Wal-Mart — had once tried to buy Price Club, but Price declined the offer. “We were good at innovating, but when it came to expanding and controlling, we weren’t so good,” he admitted. But by 1993, it was clear that Costco — the small warehouse store that had evolved into a chain over time — wasn’t going anywhere.

In fact, the chain, co-owned by Price’s one-time employee Sinegal, was only gaining momentum. So when the duo talked business in 1993, merging was the obvious path forward. Every Costco location, including the very first one, was renamed PriceCostco. An employee who had worked at Price Club since 1984 told Business Insider about the red (Costco) vs. blue (Price Club) mentality that employees experienced during the merger. “The first thing the folks at the warehouse would ask me is, ‘Are you red or blue?'”

Employees who had worked at Costco since ’83 were suddenly working alongside their former competitors. Just a few years later, the wholesale retailer dropped “Price” from its name and was once again known as “Costco”, putting an end to the war of the warehouses … at least between Price Club and Costco.

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