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Lodi Costco opens

‘We're real excited’: Area residents get a closer look at the wholesale retailer at Harney Lane, Highway 99

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Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 5:41 am, Sat Jun 11, 2011.

The doors are wide open. Costco customers grab carts and start streaming into the new Lodi store.

On the left are gleaming 55-inch 3D-capable TVs, and employees waiting to develop film in one hour. On the right are neatly folded jeans and workers handing out fliers with coupons.

One customer stares at 30 rotisserie chickens spinning in the Inferno 3500 and while another stops to pick up a loaf of bread. A nearby employee describes a free sample as "good as a breakfast item or by itself."

Customers found a clean, shiny, large store on Thursday that they say will be an improvement over driving to Stockton.

Costco sells most items in bulk quantities, and is located at Harney Lane and Highway 99 in the Reynolds Ranch Shopping Center.

The wholesale retailer has displays with everything from the lavishly expensive to the bulk bargain. At a jewelry counter, there is a $165 necklace featured and an ad for a $57,999 necklace available online. There is the ultimate barbecue grill with a price tag of $1,600 next to a typical backyard charcoal grill that costs $85.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, warehouse manager Denise Zizzo said 6,700 people had walked through the store on the first day or during the preview opening Wednesday.

"The biggest thing we've heard is, everyone is happy we are here. They love the store. They think it's nothing but beautiful," Zizzo said.

The store hired 180 employees, and about 70 to 80 percent are from the surrounding area, she said. A majority of the in-store transfers were Lodi residents who wanted to work closer to home.

During the ribbon-cutting on Thursday, Mayor Bob Johnson said he is excited that Lodi residents will have a new store. He said it has already increased the city's property tax.

"As soon as you people go in and fill up your carts, then our sales tax revenue will go up," he said to the waiting crowd.

Lodi resident Tammy Delemos stood outside listening to the speeches. She recently retired from Staples and was excited to attend her first grand opening. She mainly wanted to get meat and alcohol for upcoming parties.

"We're real excited. We want to support the community. ... This is like Black Friday in June," Delemos said.

While weaving through the aisles, customers can almost get a full meal while choosing from more than a dozen samples, including pork loin, sausage, chicken salad, spinach dip, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, lemon bars and creme brulee.

Customers looking for a quick lunch can stop at the store's cafeteria that offers hot dogs, pizza, chicken Caesar salad, a berry sundae and 59-cent sodas.

The retailer is selling wine from local wineries, including Michael-David, Periano Estate and Jessie's Grove.

Michael-David is in Costco stores throughout the entire United States, and Melissa Phillips-Stroud was handing out table grape vines on Thursday as an opening-day gift.

"The amount of volume Costco does is extraordinary. People don't buy a bottle of wine; they buy a case," Phillips-Stroud said. "Getting your items in the store helps build your brand."

After walking outside of the dairy room, Jean Battaglia said the store is beautiful.

"We just need little tour guides because it is so different than Stockton," she said. "When you live in Lodi, there's not much else to do."

Lodi resident Deena Kirby lives about half a mile down Harney Lane, and wanted to be at the store for the grand opening.

"I wanted to see what happened when the doors open," Kirby said.

She owns All Seasons Carriage at the corner of Harney and Wells lanes, and she wanted to see how traffic will be now that the store is open.

"As a local business owner, I want to see how it will impact my business. I think it's great for Lodi, and it is tax revenue we need," Kirby said.

Hours for the store will be from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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  • Joseph Becket posted at 12:12 pm on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    JBecket1 Posts: 1

    Yes, I love Costco! they have everything, but I am a bit worried... Costco is a great company, but like many nationwide businesses it can have some weak spots. I was surfing the internet and I found this site where people can vent about poor customer service or products they received... it can get really funny. I would recommend you to check it out here.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:02 pm on Tue, Jun 14, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Thank you Costco. Consumer Reports rates your customer service as one of the best, and Sam's Club and Walmart holding down the bottom spots.

  • Kim Lee posted at 4:11 pm on Mon, Jun 13, 2011.

    Kim Lee Posts: 1798

    I went to the Lodi Costco the other day and sure enjoyed the visit!

    What a pleasant experience at this new Costco. There were helpful, knowledgeable and friendly employees everywhere and lots of products available, in almost every category, that were of top quality and great price. What fun!

    Doug Chaney: You are absolutely right. Costco will give you a guest pass and you may buy anything in the warehouse with that guest pass. I used a guest pass several times before I decided to buy a membership. No one I know has ever been denied entry into Costco due to not yet having a membership card.

    Anthony Marino: I agree. Anyone can find something they are interested in when shopping at Costco. They have everything! And you’re right; they have the best return policy around! Costco’s Tire Center is great too. I have saved a lot of money over the years shopping at Costco. My savings take care of that membership fee in no time at all.

    And there is no wonder why so many people go to Costco for the gas prices!

    And, Anthony Marino, you are right again when you said that “…Costco is one of the best wholesale/retail stores in the country, with its proven track record for customer service.”

    Welcome to Lodi, Costco! We’re glad you’re here.

    See you all later… I’m off to Costco to pick up my pictures. :-)

  • Sam Heller posted at 5:15 pm on Sun, Jun 12, 2011.

    Sam Heller Posts: 176

    I buy the $100 executive card and LOVE it. I agree that Costco is not for everyone ... another thing that I love. I have been to WalMart once and will never be back.

    There are WalMart people and Costco people. Ain't life grand that we now have both in Lodi. Shop where you want and enjoy !

    Thank you Costco for coming to Lodi ! I am so glad you are here.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:34 am on Sat, Jun 11, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Jerome, there is also an executive membership that pays back 2% of your purchase money, which I subscribe to as I'm a consumer that uses Costco and its other many services often. My annual rebate check is well over the one hundred dollars that it costs me to be an executive member. I aalso understand that if you're just buying alcohol or using the pharmacy, no membership is needed to purchase alcohol or prescriptions. Check it out and see what you think. They have a very comprehensive website with a great FAQ page and access to email questions with responses in a very reasonable time frame.

  • Anthony Marino posted at 8:14 am on Sat, Jun 11, 2011.

    Anthony Marino Posts: 10


    I could care less about your buying habits or your disdain for paying 50 dollars for a club membership. All I was stating was the benefits of the membership. I was an economics major in school so I justify, use cost benefit analysis on almost all of my purchases. I was justifying for people the reason to pay for the membership and supporting facts why costco is one of the best wholesale/retail stores in the country, with its proven track record for customer service. As well as a means to justify the $50 membership cost with the use of the cash back American Express that is offered (Assuming you pay it off monthly). Lastly, not everything is sold in "Bulk". ie fuel, tires, electronics, specialty items etc.

    Nor was I saying you should pay 50 dollars for an opportunity to look around a store. That would be stupid and clearly the greeter did not realize this.

    Believe me, I don't make all of my everyday purchases there as buying bulk does not always fit for my family. But many of my large electronic purchases and other specialty items are purchased there just because of the upgraded features, extended warranties, better prices and the ability to return the product for any reason at all, no questions asked. Clearly the savings is more the 50 dollars a year that I pay.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 10:24 pm on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2255

    Mr. Marino, you know nothing of me or my buying habits. No, I don't buy in bulk except for only one item that because of my eating habits (which of course are none of your business) I've only been able to find at Wal-Mart. My only reason for checking the store out was to determine if of the things I do need, would Costco be able to fulfill those requirements. Should I have been required to purchase a yearly $50.00 membership for the privilege of walking their aisles and buying nothing? Actually, that sounds like a rather stupid thing to expect of anyone but even stupider of someone to spend that kind of money only to find themselves with nothing but a plastic card with their picture on it that does nothing more than take up a little space in a wallet or purse. Thankfully, someone else at that same Costco store agreed with me.

    With your condescending comment that “How one person can't find anything that they need [at Costco] is beyond me,” you seem to think that everyone has the same purchasing requirements as you. What, everyone buys in bulk and has an American Express card? I’ve already answered the first part of that claim and at my station in life I have no use for any credit card at all except for one that I keep open for emergencies; and it sure isn’t an American Express card.

    My only hope is that someone else might read about my experience and won’t feel compelled to dole out $50.00 unless or until they’re sure they’ll enjoy the benefits of a Costco membership.

  • Anthony Marino posted at 9:27 pm on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Anthony Marino Posts: 10

    I frequent many of the valley Costco's due to travel for work. I find that everyone that i visit to be clean, the people friendly and the product lines to be very useful and right in line with my interests. How one person can't find anything that they need is beyond me. Jerome, you must not eat food, use electronics, use everyday household items or drive a vehicle (gas). Their prices are always competitive(Yes you have to buy in bulk), but the quality is always there. Another benefit to using Costco is the return policy which is the best in the industry, pretty much no questions asked, within reason. With the benefits of the American Express offered by Costco, you get an extra year on warranty items, a % of purchases is given in cash back at the end of the year, and 3% cash back on costco fuel purchases is an added benefit, to the already competitive fuel price.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 8:44 pm on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that Costco issues a temporary one day pass to those who request it, on a one time only basis with no obligation to buy. Maybe it was your putrid attitude that caused you all your emotional pain, Jerome? I'll bet lodisafeway is rolling over in his grave after reading this muddled up comment of yours, huh?

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 8:34 pm on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2255

    Having not been in a Costco for nearly a dozen years, rather than plunk down the $50.00 membership fee immediately, I had hoped to be able to simply look around to see if there would be any benefit to me. After all, what could it hurt? Except for alcohol, without that membership card in hand I wouldn't be able to buy anything, right?

    Well, the guy at the door didn't think so. In fact he was downright rude in letting me know that I would be unable to peruse the aisles today (Friday) unless I headed over to the Membership counter and buy one of the little cards. When I asked him if I would need the card if I desired to buy some booze he said that no I wouldn't, but I had better buy some. Ooh! A challenge no less. So off I went to the Membership counter where I relayed to the employee there precisely what I encountered at the door. I had expected him to support admission policy outlined by the rude guy, but no he told me that I was completely welcome to take as much time as I wanted to look around.

    Yes, the store is very nice - bright and clean - but what brand-new store wouldn't be on its second day in business? Of course the problem was that there was virtually nothing there that I needed, but naturally they had items I wanted like this really cool Acer netbook/tablet computer that I would have found much more worthwhile than the latest Apple iPad. But its price-tag was prohibitive and I thought I'd take a look online before buying one. I visited every aisle and left without buying anything - including the membership card.

    I did run into an old friend of mine who was promoting her family's winery (Oak Ridge Winery) and had a very nice conversation with her. But I took no free samples other than the air I was breathing.

    Beautiful store, some very nice products and hopefully plentiful jobs and sales taxes to help our economy - the only thing lacking was a little courtesy at the front door. On a scale of one to ten, I'll give them an eight.

    But I don't think I'll be back anytime soon.



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