Costco may not hurt local merchants |

Costco may not hurt local merchants

Rex Bovee

Construction of a Costco warehouse store in Carson City probably would not have an adverse affect on local retailers and may actually increase sales, a Chamber of Commerce executive said Wednesday.

And responses ran 66 to five for selling city property to Costco in a Nevada Appeal “Your Two Cents” call-in poll.

Carson City officials have been discussing the possible sale of city property at the south end of Carson Street near Fuji Park to the membership wholesaler. Costco had previously inquired about other sites which ultimately were deemed unsuitable.

“Costco likely would not have the impact on existing businesses that other stores such as major retailers would,” said Larry Osborne, executive vice president of the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Costco is a different kind of store from anything we have – it has a different target market.

“As one of my friends said, you don’t just run into Costco with a $20 bill to pick up an item. A trip to Costco is a shopping expedition. And just because you see something at Costco, this trip doesn’t mean you’ll ever see it again.”

Osborne said comments about Costco from Carson City business people, both since Tuesday’s Nevada Appeal story about the possible land sale and over the past few years, are mostly positive.

“They think it may actually build local sales. We know there are a lot of local people who already have Costco cards and shop at the one in Reno. A store here would reclaim some of those customers for the county,” Osborne said.

Some responses to the Appeal poll bolstered the possibility that local sales would increase:

“I think it would be good for the city and would save driving to Reno,” said Jackie, a Carson City resident.

“Yes, on bringing Costco to Carson City. It would be so much more convenient,” said a Silver Springs resident, Shirley.

“So many of us down here have to drive all the way to Reno every time we want to use Costco, and we sure would use it if it were in Carson City,” said a Minden resident, Phil.

Studies have been published about what happens in a business community when a Wal-Mart or similar large retailer opens up, Osborne said, but there have not been similar studies regarding Costco.

Osborne said local retailers would see some small effects, whether it’s due to an initial flurry of interest when it opened or when Costco items were brought to their business for installation or service.

“But that’s when a business person makes a decision whether to go ahead and provide the best service, thank the customer for it and ask to be considered when the replacement is needed. That’s making lemons into lemonade,” Osborne said.