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.