There were 200 people lined up to be the first to shop at Augusta’s new Costco on Alexander Drive as it opened its doors Wednesday morning.
“This is the best thing that’s hit Augusta in 20 years,” said Basyl Prokosa, who was shopping with his daughter, Natasha McVicker.
Prokosa lives in North Augusta and said the store’s location is one of its best features. He and McVicker, who lives in Columbia County, left their homes at about the same time and made the trip in virtually the same amount of time.
“It’s Augusta, all we have to do is shop,” McVicker said with a laugh.
Prokosa, who has been to Costco stores in other cities, said he expects other stores to take a hit from Costco’s opening.
“Since Costco is here, Sams (Club) will rarely see me,” he said. “They’re more customer oriented and the layout is much better.”
Costco has increased membership fees across the country from $50 to $55, but southeast regional marketing director Kelly Frasure said the Augusta store’s fee is staying at $50 for the next few weeks in honor of the grand opening.
“That’s not happening anywhere else,” Frasure said.
Bringing a Costco to Augusta has been in talks since 2007, but construction finally began in June, as the anchor tenant at the 100-acre Village at Riverwatch. The store hired nearly 200 people and is expected to generate $135 million a year in sales.