By John Schaffner
and Jody Steinberg
The new Costco store opened at the Town Brookhaven development on Peachtree Road amid pent-up anticipation among surrounding residents and shoppers.
The VIP pre-opening party the evening of Oct. 27 drew more than 1,250 people in less than two hours—just to browse and enjoy some food samples. No shopping was allowed for that event. It was just a night to show off Costco’s largest and newest warehouse store in the southeast.
The next morning, just before the 8 a.m. store opening for real business, County Commissioner Elaine Boyer helped cut the ribbon as the 650-space parking lot was filling to three-quarters with vehicles. And the parking lot remained mostly filled during the store’s first week of operations.
The shoppers were not just from Brookhaven. They came from the Toco Hills area of DeKalb, from Gwinnett County and neighboring Buckhead and Sandy Springs in Fulton County.
“It’s like the happening place to be,” said Susan and Joseph Weiner, who own the Bagel Palace in Toco Hills and have been Costco members for more than 20 years.
“We wanted to see if they have anything new and how it’s different from the Dunwoody store. Plus it is closer to home,” added the Weiners. “We still remember when they opened in Long Island, NY, over 20 years ago. We used to sell them bagels.”
Brookhaven resident Tracy Bennett, said, “I live about a mile away and was excited it was opening. My husband and I have been watching the development and waiting for it to open. We’re also excited about the (soon-to-open) gym and Publix,” she added.
“I’ve been a Costco shopper for 20 years and I’m thrilled that there’s one close by,” stated another Brookhaven resident, Jim Carey. “They’ve always got great buys. I spent 40 years in retail and I think they’re a superb retailer … extremely efficient,” he added. “The product mix is a little different here (than other Costco stores), such as the $69 jeans and a brand I haven’t seen.”
Costco warehouse manager Gary Mossner said Brookhaven residents “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.”
“We’re hosting a party this weekend, so the timing is perfect,” said Ashford Park resident Cissy Zelickson during the first shopping day. “We used to belong in Dunwoody but it was too inconvenient. Here, I can swing by during the week.”
Letevin Williams of Gwinnett County said on opening day, “I brought a friend from work, and I came here to eat. It was great. I got more than what I paid for.”
During opening weekend, food samplings were abundant throughout the store—at the ends of just about every aisle –as they were also during the pre-opening, two-hour event that opened the store.
But on any day, there is always the food court. “The $1.50 hot dog is the greatest lunch deal in the world,” Carey stated.
The 146,000-square-foot membership warehouse store in Brookhaven is 23,000 square feet larger than the one located on the border of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road.
Doug Kinney, the manager of community affairs at the new store, said like other Costco’s the Brookhaven location features a variety of specialty departments, including a fresh bakery, meat, produce and deli, optical department with an independent doctor of optometry, 1-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.
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m.to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Kinney explained that Costco is looking for a nearby off-site gas station location in Brookhaven.