Shoppers received a rock star welcome from cheering staff as they walked through the doors of Saskatoon’s newest Costco.
The 148,000 square foot store opened Thursday morning, with nearly 300 people coming through the doors within the first five minutes.
“This is exciting because it’s on our side of town and we don’t have to go far now,” said Charlene Herman, who lives in the Avalon neighbourhood.
“I just want to fly around the place to see where all the deals are!”
For more than a decade, Saskatoon’s only Costco was on Marquis Drive in the north end. The new location is on the southern edge of the city.
“This has been a long time coming. A lot of pent-up demand, a lot of people have been waiting for us to open in the south end of the city,” said Ron Damiani, a spokesman for Costco.
Damiani said demand for a new store began several years ago, but shopping around for a big enough piece of land to house a massive warehouse and parking lot took time.
“It’s quite a game to be able to get the right land, the right place at the right price,” he said.
Things moved quickly once all the papers were signed. The south store was built in 110 days, with workers moving into the space to prepare for opening little more than a month ago.
The store has 225 permanent employees, half of whom are full-time, and around 40-50 seasonal staff.
“At a time when things have slowed down in the economy, this is a good reminder that Saskatoon is still a real destination for people,” said Mayor Charlie Clark as he greeted patrons at the door.
The lure of a brand new space even brought Nicole Nicklin and her family of five out from Warman.
“Oh my goodness, when we arrived, we loved the parking lot. We noticed they still have that allowance to park in between lanes so that was really nice,” she said.
Others who spoke to 650 CKOM praised the new location’s layout and friendly staff, who were on hand especially to help people navigate the warehouse.
“It’s long overdue in south Saskatoon and it’s needed desperately. Glad to be open today,” said Brad Burgart.
Burgart had stopped outside the store to snap a photo while managing to hold an armload of new purchases. His pockets were also lined with just a few of the dozens of full-size samples being given out.
“Well over 35 to 40 sample vendors,” he said. “Just messaged my wife and let her know what she’s missing.”
The new Costco store is located at 225 Market Drive, off Highway 16.