By John Schaffner

Bill Ayde, lead maintenance worker with Costco, builds a brace for a large flat-screen TV that will greet visitors as they walk into the 146,000-square-foot membership warehouse store in Brookhaven, which opens Oct. 28.

Costco is donating 500 backpacks to two Brookhaven elementary schools in conjunction with the Oct. 28 opening of its new 146,000-square-foot membership warehouse in Brookhaven.

The new membership warehouse is Costco’s largest and the first of the three large commercial buildings to open in the mixed-use Town Brookhaven on Peachtree Road, the Sembler Co. development that includes residential apartment homes above ground-floor retail and restaurants. A Publix Supermarket and LA Fitness center are scheduled to open in Town Brookhaven early in 2011.

Costco is located at 500 Brookhaven Ave., in the development at the intersection with Hermance Drive and adjacent to Oglethorpe University. Previously, the closest Costco for residents in Buckhead and Brookhaven was the company’s 123,000-square-foot membership warehouse on Peachtree Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs.

“We are thrilled to be bringing Costco’s low warehouse prices to the residents of Brookhaven,” said warehouse manager Gary Mossner. “They have been asking us to open here for a long time, and it’s a great feeling to have such a warm welcome. We already have made an impact on the local job market, and we look forward to contributing to the community in many ways.”

Doug Kinney, the manager of community affairs at the new Costco store, told a recent meeting of the Brookhaven Community Coalition that the company has a history of contributing to the schools in communities where it has membership warehouses. The donation of backpacks is an example of that support, he said.

He said 200 of the backpacks would go to Ashford Park Elementary School students and the remainder will be distributed to Woodward Elementary School students.

Kinney, who came to the Brookhaven Costco from the company’s membership warehouse in Alpharetta, was joined at the BCC meeting by Shari Wolfe, who previously was with the Costco store in Sandy Springs.

Like other Costco stores, the Brookhaven location will feature a variety of specialty departments, including a fresh bakery, meat, produce and deli, optical department with an independent doctor of optometry, one-hour photo, pharmacy, tire center, hearing aid center and food court. Kinney said the store will offer a wide selection of fine wines and beers, but will not sell liquor, as the Sandy Springs location does.

Kinney explained that Costco is looking for a nearby off-site gas station location in Brookhaven. He said the Town Brookhaven location has just 650 parking spots available and more than 700 spaces would have to be available in order to have the gas station on-site.