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Ever had relatives, friends or Twitter pals in other parts of the country tout something they found at a Costco where they are and then be told by staffers at a Spokane Costco that they've never heard of it?
After 20 years just off U.S. 95, Black Sheep Sporting Goods has moved to a larger building that was most recently occupied by Wholesale Sports. The new location, at 3534 N. Government Way next to the Costco Wholesale outlet, will provide Black Sheep with 50,000 square feet of leased floor space. Wholesale Sports closed at that location this spring, and Black Sheep started moving product into the building this month. Black Sheep Sporting Goods had been located at 308 W. Seale Ave., on the east side of U.S. 95, since 1993, said Brian Knoll. It had 20,000 square feet of floor space at that location/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (CdA Press photo: Gabe Green)
Question: What do you Black Sheep fans/customers think of this move?
A frozen mixed berry product potentially linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A in seven states was also sold at Costco stores throughout Idaho, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported this week. Idaho has had no reports of illness associated with Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend. Still, the frozen berry mix was sold from the Costco store in Coeur d’Alene since January 2013. The outbreak’s first cases indicate the problem began at the end of January. Townsend Farms voluntarily recalled Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend in 3 lb. bags with UPC 0 78414 404448. The recalled codes are T012415 through T053115 followed by a letter. The code is located on the back of the package. Costco has removed the berries from its shelves and has attempted to notify all customers who purchased the recalled berries. People who have any of the Townsend berry mix in their freezers should check carefully for the affected lot numbers and discard the product/spokeswoman Cynthia Taggart, Panhandle Health District. More here.
Question: Do you buy frozen fruit?
Driving a 1998 Subaru wagon with 205 thousand miles on it doesn’t put me in a hurry to get anywhere. I find keeping a lackadaisical throttle foot to be an effective survival technique designed to milk every remaining mile out my noble Japanese steed. It’s also indicative of my thrift-artist financial situation, which as it stands requires I shop religiously at Costco as if it were a giant welfare box store.
If I need groceries, I go to Costco. If I need a shirt, I go to Costco. If I need tires, I go to Discount Tire; Costco’s nitrogen-filled tires scare me. But that doesn’t affect my general complacency when tooling around a Costco parking lot to find a vacant space, nor does it negate my outrage at the affront to my dignity that took place there recently.
Ready for a little more Walmart?
Wal-Mart Stores will open its second Spokane Valley location on Oct. 17. That's next Wednesday.
The new store, on East Sprague, is
east west of the Costco store on Sprague.
It plans to have roughly 350 full- and part-time workers, according to a company news release.
The average wage for full-time hourly workers is $13 per hour, the company said.
It will have 148,000 square feet of space and will be open 24 hours a day.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. will open the store, followed by checks handed out to a number of local groups, including Greater Spokane Meals on Wheels and Spokane Valley Partners.
It's not exactly an international incident, but some Bellingham Costco shoppers are requesting American-only hours because they complain the warehouse is overrun by bargain-seeking Canadians. They've launched a Facebook page, named “Bellingham Costco needs a special time just for Americans.” The page complains the Canadian shoppers “can be rude. The lines are crazy. We aren't on a vacation and have an RV to hang out in like those Canadians. We just want to go shopping, not go on an adventure. Costco used to have special opening hours for preferred customers. Why cant [sic] they do that for us loyal American customers?” the page says. Photos on the page show cars with Canadian license plates taking up multiple parking spaces and crowding Costco gas station lines, while comments also complain about Canadians buying too much milk/Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)
Question: Is this a problem at local Costco?
First off, no, we won't hand out a coupon for Total Wine to the winner of this Office Hours contest.
Last week we ran a story describing plans by Total Wine to open two big megastores in Spokane. Total Wine, you might remember, is one of the nation's largest alcohol retailers. It's big.
That story also raised the question when another competing chain liquor retailer, BevMo!, might show up in Spokane. The story quoted a BevMo! spokeswoman saying: “Not yet, but you never know…it might not be all that long.” The California firm has two Washington locations, in Silverdale and Tacoma.
We're offering a gift card to Atticus coffee shop to the lucky reader who can come closest to the opening date of the first BevMo! store in Spokane County.
Right: a $10 certificate for good ol' coffee or tea from Atticus, if your guess is closest to the opening date. Not the announcement date; the date the store actually opens for business in Spokane.
Submit entries here under this post; leave your guess in this date form: MM/DD/YY.
In case of ties, we'll figure out some sort of solution. Workers or employees of BevMo! and Cowles Co. are not eligible.
On his Facebook wall, Councilman DanG reports: “If you're going to succeed in business, you need damn fine customer service. I'd rather wait in line at Albertsons for Patty or Denise than use the self-checkout. I think wise businesses will recognize that top-flight customer service is better than being checked out by a robot.”“
Question: Which do you prefer? Self checkout? Or check out by a store clerk?
Wednesday's major SR business story is the summary of the variety of retailers (90 and counting) planning to sell booze come June 1, when I-1183 takes effect.
Here's an online map, tooled by the SR's Mike Tigas, that displays those 90 stores: http://data.spokesman.com/i1183-transition/liquor-retailer-licensees/
Also worth checking is the state list of all applicants to date, at http://liq.wa.gov/records/frequently-requested-lists and click on the link for “off-premises licensees.” Note, that list includes applicants for both beer/wine and for spirits. You would need to sort the full list to see just the spirits applications.
Brian Smith, of the state liquor board, said the agency has been “working overtime” to add new names to the list. That list should be new every Monday, Smith said.
Good luck finding a store that DOESN'T sell liquor in June.
A Spokane man caught shoplifting from Costco on New Year's Eve upped the judicial ante by pointing a gun at a store employee, according to police.
Todd E. Miller, 39, is jailed on $30,000 bond after he was arrested Saturday at the store at 7619 N. Division St. Store employee Troy Humphrey said he contacted Miller about 6 p.m. after he spotted him stealing merchandise, according to court documents.
Humphrey tried to escort Miller to the back of the store, but Miller pointed a gun at him and fled, police say.
Police contacted Miller in a parking lot near the store. Officer Shawn Pegram says Miller showed him where he'd discarded the stolen merchandise. Pegram found a gun on the front passenger seat of the car in which he was sitting, according to court documents.
Miller appeared before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese Tuesday on a first-degree robbery charge.
Police say a man who stole a pair of shoes at knifepoint from the Northtown Mall on Wednesday had asked the store employee for help with his out-of-gas car just before the robbery.
The employee helped the man pushed his Red Dodge Ram pickup into a parking spot, only to be threatened 30 minutes later after confronting him for stealing a pair of shoes from Champs Sports, police say.
Police identified Jason M. Giles, 33, (pictured) as a suspect on Thursday after he was arrested in a similar robbery at Costco, 7619 N. Division St.
A Costco employee confronted Giles about 4:45 p.m. after observing him hide merchandise in his coat and try to leave the store. Giles punched the employee and bit another employee before pulling a knife and trying to stab another, according to court documents prepared by police.
Giles was arrested on charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and possession of methamphetamine. Detectives met with him at the jail and booked him on an additional robbery charge for the Champs Sports incident.
Giles appeared in Spokane County Superior Court via video from the jail, where he remains on $50,000 bond and a probation hold. He has a previous conviction for second-degree assault for a shooting in 2009.
We asked recently when Walmart would get around to breaking ground on a new store in Spokane Valley.
In March 2010 the company first announced it had plans for the store, west of the Costco at 5200 E. Sprague. Our first story said:
Walmart says it will square off with Costco Wholesale Corp. in the Spokane Valley.
The Bentonville, Ark., retail behemoth announced Thursday it will build a 151,000-square-foot retail center on a parcel of land due west of Costco’s store at 5601 E. Sprague Ave.
OLYMPIA – In an effort to get voters to end the state's liquor monopoly, Costco this week made the largest contribution in history – nearly $9 million – to a state ballot campaign.
The discount retail giant based in Issaquah, Wash., nearly doubled down on its contributions this year to the Yes on Initiative 1183 campaign, on which it had already spent more than $12 million through cash contributions and in-kind services such as employee time for gathering signatures in less than a month to get the proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot…
Costco Wholesale Corp.'s fiscal fourth-quarter net income climbed 11 percent as the wholesale club operator made more money on membership fees and saw its sales rise. The Issaquah, Wash., company also said Wednesday that it will raise annual membership fees starting next month. Costco's net income rose to $478 million, or $1.08 per share, for the period ended Aug. 28. That's up from $432 million, or 97 cents per share, a year earlier. … Costco said that it will raise annual membership fees by $5 to $55 for U.S. individual, business and business add-on members as well as Canada business members beginning Nov. 1. Executive membership annual fees will also increase in the U.S. and Canada to $110 from $100/AP via King5. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Are you a Costco member? Do you mind paying extra money for your Costco membership?
Yes, we've become fixated on simple-to-read blog lists.
Today's list, via Dealnews.com, is a rundown of what they call the 10 deal-friendliest retail sites. TWo of the sites are from Seattle: Amazon and Costco.
4. Best Buy
7. Home Depot
For the full story, go to the page at DealNews.
OLYMPIA — We may have to stop calling Initiative 1183, the ballot measure that would get the state out of the wholesale land retail liquor business, “The Costco Initiative.”
The proposal now has another source of funding: Trader Joe's.
Costco is by far and away the biggest source of cash for I-1183, and this will be the discount giant's second attempt to change state liquor laws in a way that would allow it to sell and possibly distribute liquor in its stores.
Costco has put roughly $1,082637.40 in cash into the campaign. And that doesn't count more than $1.2 million it chalked up through in-kind contributions for things like employees who were paid for their time manning the signature gathering tables in the stores or the national petition gathering firm it hired on the way to setting a record for the fastest qualifying signature campaign in state historyo.
Late last month, Trader Joe's tossed $50,000 into the pot. So as of July 26, it became the 98 percent Costco initiative. The date May 26 on the PDC form, is wrong, but of course we all figured that because no one would let a check for 50K sit around for two months before taking it to the bank.
So what does this mean? Maybe if I-1183 passes, Washington residents won't have to pay a fee and join Costco to get a really good deal on booze.
OLYMPIA — As expected, a new proposal to privatize the liquor system in Washington was filed late Friday.
Supporters include Costco, Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Restaurant Association for a proposal that would let retailers with at least 10,000 square feet obtain liquor licenses and pay 17 percent of their gross revenues to the state. Businesses that get distribution licenses would pay 10 percent of gross the first two years and 5 percent every year after that.
The state would auction off its distribution warehouse and stores. Supporters say they want to inject competition into the liquor biz. They think it's a better plan than the two that voters turned down last year.
They expect to be seeking signatures as soon as wording is checked and petitions are printed, in about a month. The deadline is early July and ordinarily that wouldn't be enough to get all the signatures needed, but last year Costco set up tables at its warehouse stores and grabbed a boatload of signatures fairly quickly.
The state might also order a study on whether it makes economic sense to sell or lease its wholesale liquor distribution system — if a bill on that topic can make it through the Legislature.
About a year ago the SR published news that Wal-Mart would put another new store in Spokane Valley, about six blocks east of the Costco, about 5601 E. Sprague.
There hasn't been a lot of progress so far on that project, which we wrote about first here. Why not?
We tracked down Wal-Mart's regional contacts to find out when the project will get going. Here's the reply:
- Construction will start in late summer or early fall. Think August or September.
- It will take 12 to 14 months after groundbreaking before the new Wal-Mart opens.
- A Spokane Valley hiring center will be set up roughly 90 days before the doors open. That hiring office will have an online component for job applicants. It's here.
The store will include a garden center with outside sales area covering about 4,700 square feet (very large).
It is slated to include an indoor pharmacy, a full-service grocery and a Subway sandwich store inside.
When finished, it will be about 155,000 square feet.
Seattle-based Amazon scored No. 1 in a recent online survey of shoppers asked to rate companies' customer service.
The survey, provided by the Temkin Group, asked people to rate their shopping experiences with 143 different companies.
Using about 6,000 surveys from purchases made this past January, the Temkin ratings looked at a number of factors customers used in judging the experience of buying products online.
The result was a factor that Temkin called the “net goodness” rating that came from three major components: Functional, Accessible and Emotional. To get more information on the method Temkin used, go to the Temkin overview.
The survey mostly looked at retailers, banks, hotels and financial institutions.
Kohl's was ranked No. 2. Notably, another Seattle company, Costco, ranked No. 3 in the ratings. Others in the top five were Lowe's and Sam's Club.
Chart credit: Temkin Corp.
On his Facebook wall, Otis G tells of a close encounter in the Spokane Valley Costco food court involving a store worker recently. As the worker handed him a sausage, Otis said: “Thanks, brother!” Only to have the dude huff at him. Otis wasn't sure why he got that treatment in return, until he saw the dude's name tag, identifying him as a her. At that point, he didn't know whether to apologize or leave. So he opted for the latter. Otis: “I felt terrible about it when I got back to work, and it made for quite a discussion. It was universally voted that in a situation like that, you don't try to explain or apologize. You just make a hasty exit.”
Question: Did Otis make the right call by beating a retreat in a situation like this?
Mr. Bloggy: We know that Walmart is the Carnival of Horror of badly shaped and
garbed people-things. Costco, on the other hand, serves a much higher
grade of folks, but I am beginning to experience just the littlest
little bit of resentment towards the Corporate Warlords of Costcoland
and their fussy refusal to stock and sell sleeveless tees, or in the
Vernacular of Most of America(tm) “wifebeaters.” The beater of spouses
style of undergarment has been my favorite for my entire adult life and
since I am always leaving them in the apartments and homes of my
multiple conquests I must quite too often replenish my supply. And where
else to buy a 22 pack of white sleeveless tees than at Costco. But,
erm, guess what, homes? They don’t carry them! (Full post below)
Question: What do you buy in bulk at Costco?
Voltron: Everyone acts like Wal Mart is the devil because of their supposedly low wages and benefits. Hello, clerks at stores like Fred Meyer and Super 1 don’t make much either. People go for the best deal — period. Nobody says, you know what, “I’d like to spend an extra $20 bucks today because Wal Mart is evil.” If you want to pretend you’re taking a stand against corporate America, please. You’re just bowing down to a different corporate god. It’s trendy to say, “Ohh, I would never shop at Wal Mart.” Whatever. Those same people think they’re extra special cause they have a Costco membership. I got news for you. Those two store chains aren’t very different. I am going to Wal Mart this weekend on 9/11 so that the terrorists don’t win. God Bless Wal Mart and God Bless America.
Question: Do any of you WalMart haters have a Costco card? What difference do you see between WalMart & Costco?