By Jill Fox
A breakfast of samples and a tiny coffee to wash it down. That’s what over one thousand customers took part in before 11 a.m. on Thursday when they flocked to the grand opening of Costco for whatever promotions, big box deals and samples they had to offer.
Over 280 residents were in line before the doors opened at the brand new store, complete with a gas station, pharmacy, optical services and more, located at the Northeast corner of Coral Ridge Drive and Wiles Road. Some Costco fanatics waited for almost 40 minutes to purchase a membership for the chance to take a peak inside.
“We had always heard that as far as wholesale is concerned, Costco is the best,” said Parkland resident, Kellie Reda, who was there with her husband, Frank.
Reda said that her husband compared the long wait to buying a timeshare, but they still took advantage of the membership promotion and traded in their Sam’s cards.
Costco General Manager, Ed Flaherty, who has managed stores throughout South Florida for over 19 years said that this was the fastest he had ever seen a store built. After breaking ground last August, the staff had just two weeks in January to receive all of their merchandise and prepare for opening day.
Coral Springs resident, Nancy Werder compared Costco’s product assortment with that of Sam’s Club. “I wanted to see if it was worth investing 60 dollars in a Costco card,” she said.
But, with a grand opening promotion of $10 savings on a membership, and $10 for any existing member who refers a friend to join, it could be worth it.
Coral Springs resident, Kiyou Movafaghi enjoyed his day off in a high-tech massage chair, while others ate their way through the store sampling charcuterie and gathering free rolls of toilet paper.
Flaherty said that they had 26 samples available throughout the store and five separate road shows, including designer handbags and fresh seafood for the grand opening.
With the North Miami location opening on Wednesday and the Coral Springs store the very next day, the corporate Costco presence was strong and all hands were on deck, including Costco CEO, Craig Jelinek, additional associates from corporate and close to 150 employees.
Exclusive to the new location were 77-inch OLED TVs for just under $7,000. Also appearing for the first time in-store were Apple iMacs, which will eventually make their way to other Costco warehouses.
Parkland resident, Ali Wasserman received a text from her friend with photos of everything from the immaculate floors to the 93-inch teddy bears, saying the store was gorgeous and she was in and out by 8:30 a.m..
“She knows I love Costco. I was so excited to check out the new store because I like the convenience, but I’m over the drive over to Pompano,” said Wasserman.
Flaherty explained that Costco understood there was a need for a local warehouse.
“We saw that the Parkland and Coral Springs residents with Costco memberships were shopping all the way in Pompano Beach, and it was just a matter of figuring out when and where,” he said.
Costco is located at 4621 Coral Ridge Drive in Coral Springs. The hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co., a leading full-service public relations firm. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.