Costco in Idaho Falls is officially open. Its opening kicked off with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday morning.
As opening day went on, the new store saw a packed parking lot and lines in front of the building to buy memberships at one of the many sign-up tables.
Some people just wanted to stop by to see the place. Others had multiple carts overflowing with their purchases.
Kristi Parker recently renewed her Costco membership when she heard the Idaho Falls location would be opening. She had held one before but canceled it a year ago.
“Driving to Pocatello just got to be too far,” Parker said.
For another local resident, Kara Petersen, this is her first time as a Costco membership. She decided she had to get one since it is just two minutes from her house.
“This is a really beautiful store, very-well organized, clean, and it’s not as chaotic as I thought it would be. There’s short lines and everything is in stock, especially all their cleaning stuff,” Petersen said.
Not all shoppers on Friday were locals. Shopper Willard Ceccarello was from Star Valley, Wyoming. He has long been a member of Costco in California, but when he moved to Wyoming, he was disappointed to realize how far he was from one of his favorite stores.
When he heard the Idaho Falls opening would coincide with a planned trip to Idaho, he decided it would be the perfect time to make a purchase he had long been contemplating: a brand new smart TV.
Prior to the opening, 6,000 people had signed up for memberships through the Idaho Falls location, though Manager Greg Gillingham is expecting the store to eventually have around 20,000 members.
The building is 180,000 square feet making it the biggest Costco in Idaho. More than 200 people were hired for the store; more than 4,000 applied.
The store’s opening is the result of years of effort by the city to encourage the company to build here. In 2012, the City Council passed the “Costco ordinance” which was an economic development incentive program aimed at bringing in larger businesses that had the potential to aid the local economy. Those incentives include waived fees and near-site improvements to streets and other infrastructure for businesses that will create 100 jobs at $15 per hour. Incentive waivers for Costco totaled about $131,000 after representatives agreed to $21 million in capital improvements, which will include sewer and sidewalk improvements.