The Costco story begins in 1976, when entrepreneur Sol Price introduced a groundbreaking retail concept in San Diego, California. Price Club was the world’s first membership warehouse club, a place where efficient buying and operating practices gave members access to unmatched savings.
At first, Price Club was limited exclusively to business members, who could purchase a wide range of supplies and wholesale items. Jim Sinegal, the executive vice-president of merchandising, distribution and marketing, was instrumental in fine-tuning the merchandise and marketing strategies, helping to turn Price Club into a success story that changed the face of retailing worldwide.
Seven years later, Jim Sinegal channeled his expertise into co-founding Costco Wholesale with Jeff Brotman, and together they opened the first warehouse in Seattle, Washington in 1983.
Over the next decade, both Price Club and Costco Wholesale continued to innovate and grow, and in 1993, the two mega-retailers merged, creating a gifted leadership team that soon made Costco the world’s most successful warehouse club.
Today, as the company evolves, it stays true to the qualities that helped attract and retain millions of loyal members around the globe:
Commitment to quality. Costco warehouses carry about 4,000 SKUs (stock keeping units) compared to the 30,000 found at most supermarkets. By carefully choosing products based on quality, price, brand, and features, the company can offer the best value to members.
Entrepreneurial spirit. Throughout the decades, the entrepreneurial drive for excellence has continued to define Costco staff at every level. From its management team to the people on the warehouse floor, everyone is united in a common goal to exceed member expectations.
Employee focus. Costco is often noted for being much more employee-focused than other Fortune 500 companies. By offering fair wages and top-notch benefits, the company has created a workplace culture that attracts positive, high-energy, talented employees.
Costco serves more than 10 million members across Canada, and is one of the nation’s largest retailers, averaging CDN$25 billion in sales per year.
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