Here are five things that Dayton-area shoppers may not know about Costco Wholesale, which submitted plans last week to build a 154,000-square-foot, members-only retail warehouse in the planned Cornerstone of Centerville development near Wilmington Pike and Feedwire Road — its first Miami Valley location:
• Costco is the second-largest retailer in the U.S., behind only Walmart. Since 2009, Costco’s sales have grown 39 percent and its stock price has doubled, according to Business Week.
• Shoppers go to Costco to buy in bulk. Where else would they find a massive 10-pound bag of organic carrots for $6.99 but in Costco’s produce room last week in Costco’s Mason store. And no, it’s not a produce department, where fruits and vegetables are stored in coolers, but rather, a special refrigerated room, where coolers aren’t necessary.
• Although Costco is known for its grocery offerings, it devotes far more floor space (and floor-to-ceiling vertical space) to non-food items, which generate about two-thirds of Costco’s sales. Flat-screen televisions are the first thing shoppers encounter when they walk in the entrance of the Costco store in Mason, which has erected a fake Christmas-tree display already. And they can buy many items to put beneath that fake tree: guitars, jewelry, cellphones, laptop computers, eyeglasses and car tires, to name a few.
• Costco introduced a hot-dog-and-fountain-drink-for-$1.50 deal in 1985 and has not raised the price in the 28 years that followed. And it has stuck by its $4.99 price for its rotisserie chicken, which Costco proclaimed to be “the new hot dog” in an earnings statement earlier this year in part because the company sells 60 million cooked chickens a year.
• Costco pays its hourly workers an average of $20.89 an hour, not including overtime, and 80 percent of Costco employees have company-sponsored health insurance, according to BusinessWeek.com — a rather generous compensation package compared to other grocers and retailers. Its CEO, Craig Jelinek, has urged Congress to raise the minimum wage, which most retailers oppose.