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Augusta Costco grand opening today

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 Walter Sprouse summed up the expectations of many in the economic development community with today’s grand opening of the Augusta Costco.

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Don Green (left) and John Olinzock look at TVs during Tuesday night's member preview party at Costco on River Watch Parkway. The store opens before 8 a.m.   Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
Don Green (left) and John Olinzock look at TVs during Tuesday night's member preview party at Costco on River Watch Parkway. The store opens before 8 a.m.

“Sales tax, sales tax, sales tax,” the Development Authority of Richmond County’s executive director said at a preview party Tuesday evening. “That’s the biggie.”

The store, which opens today, is expected to generate more than $135 million a year, providing a new sales-tax stream.

Bringing a Costco to Augusta has been in talks since 2007, but construction finally began in June. The Augusta Commission spent about $1 million in sales-tax money to build an entrance and road into the property. The commission also committed to give Costco a majority of sales-tax dollars generated by the wholesale store’s sales to help pay back a $10 million loan the developers obtained to finance site preparation costs.

The 100-acre Village at Riverwatch is being developed by the MGHerring Group, and Costco is the first retailer there.

The store brought nearly 200 jobs to the area. Kelly Frasure, the Southeast regional marketing manager, said Costco emphasized hiring local residents.

“We hired a little more local than usual,” she said.

John Olinzock, who was among the 750 people at the invitation-only preview party, said he’s interested in how the store’s presence will affect other stores.

“I think competition is good,” he said.

Comments (18)

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avidreader
2604
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avidreader 11/16/11 - 06:14 am
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200+ jobs for Costco! How

200+ jobs for Costco! How many jobs will Sam's and other retail outlets lose? In these economic times, there's only a certain amount of cash circulating. Maybe I'm wrong; I hope so.

storiesihaveread
332
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storiesihaveread 11/16/11 - 07:33 am
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0

avideader you are correct.

avideader you are correct. Here is what will happen. They (Costco) will go on a hiring blitz, since they are opening up a new store right before the Holidays. Things will slow down after the New Year. The 200 plus people they hired will be trimmed down hours will be cut. I should know my wife works at the other Warehouse club. The cuts in hours and people will affect both clubs. I am waiting for countyman to jump on here and praise god for Costco coming to Augusta...

treerock
0
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treerock 11/16/11 - 08:04 am
0
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this is way too close to the

this is way too close to the augusta canal. the big concrete box can actually be seen from the south carolina side of the river. it kinda dampens the spirit when i pull in a smallmouth and look up at this...

rmwardsr
525
Points
rmwardsr 11/16/11 - 08:46 am
0
0

treerock: It may dampen your

treerock: It may dampen your spirit to see this large store while pulling in a smallmouth from the canal, but to those for whom it is providing a job and paycheck for, it is a Godsend. Move on down the canal a little farther if it bothers you.

draksig
167
Points
draksig 11/16/11 - 09:03 am
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It will not generate that

It will not generate that much in new sales tax revenue unless it brings in more people that woudl not normally shop in Augusta. People may move their dollars from Walmart to Costco but that will actually result in less tax revenue since they are giving most of it back to costco to pay the loan.

bdouglas
3490
Points
bdouglas 11/16/11 - 09:37 am
0
0

I love the photo caption

I love the photo caption where it says, "The store opens before 8 a.m." Well isn't that helpful, non-specific information!

Riverman1
70312
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Riverman1 11/16/11 - 09:45 am
0
0

Facts...we are losing sales

Facts...we are losing sales taxes for the next decade that would have been paid in other stores in town. Secondly, Costco has to borrow money to prepare the construction site? They could have upped the price of their produce or something for a few years and paid for it if they are so poor.

Chillen
16
Points
Chillen 11/16/11 - 10:39 am
0
0

I'm so glad they are here -

I'm so glad they are here - Clark Howard swears by them.

However, you couldn't pay me enough money to go over there during their first few weeks of operation. I'll go to Sam's instead - it will be like a ghost town and I'll get some easy shopping done.

Once the initial euphoria of the new store dies down, then I'll mosey over to Costco.

kiwiinamerica
836
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kiwiinamerica 11/16/11 - 10:41 am
0
0

Uh.....OK............so if a

Unpublished

Uh.....OK............so if a dozen new Wal-Marts and K-Marts opened in Augusta, that would generate even more sales tax and that would make the county even richer? Great! Why not build a Costco on every corner in Augusta!!??

*shaking head*......Who believes this tripe?

As previous posters have stated, this simply generates more competition for a finite amount of disposable income. That may have long term benefits in terms of lower retail prices but more sales tax? I don't think so.

What4
0
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What4 11/16/11 - 10:46 am
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So, if we are giving back

So, if we are giving back most of the sales tax to Costco, this was a great benefit, how? Great for Costco!! Although, it will be wonderful not to have to put up with the pitiful customer experience that is SAM'S Club. Will be interesting to see if Costco is any better.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 11/16/11 - 10:58 am
0
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A Costco opening in an

A Costco opening in an anomaly in the long, slow slide away from compulsive, prodigal consumerism.

The Costco basket is better than no basket at all. But the people in the Augusta SMSA would be better served if our leaders were able to secure high-tech factories and labs paying high wages and salaries. But don't hold your breath waiting for our economy to be led from its present level by industries bringing high-paying jobs.

Ask Margaret Spelling of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, "Why?" Ask Deke. Ask Mr. Hatcher. Dr. Whitson, Mr. Howard, the RCAE, PAGE, self-serving educrats and the GA School Boards Association won't like what they have to tell you.

David Parker
7919
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David Parker 11/16/11 - 11:52 am
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Soooooooo, another store I

Soooooooo, another store I can buy a bunch of things that were made in China.

meh

treerock
0
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treerock 11/16/11 - 12:21 pm
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wardsr: there are a lot of

wardsr: there are a lot of other locations this monstrosity could have gone. or at the very least, they could have kept a much larger buffer zone between augusta's water source and "must have development" and not sliced all of the trees.

there is only so much that people in augusta can buy. building another store with the same chinese crap isn't going to change that. jobs are just going to be moved around, not created.

noway
201
Points
noway 11/16/11 - 12:36 pm
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I like how the article says

I like how the article says that the "majority" of the tax dollars will go back to pay off Costco's loan, which is $10 million. But they are saying the Costco will bring in $145 million in sales tax. Hmmm how is $10 million a "majority"? So what's the truth? and how is all of this sales tax going to be generated? We Augustans only have so much money to spend there or anywhere else around town. It's a nice positive spin though.

bdouglas
3490
Points
bdouglas 11/16/11 - 02:40 pm
0
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@kiwiinamerica: The

@kiwiinamerica: The difference in building a Costco here vs. adding more Walmart or Kmart stores on every corner is that we don't already have a Costco. The closest one is over a two hour drive away from here. Costco will be bringing people in who might not normally have come to Augusta. More Walmart or Kmart stores simply redistributes demand, not create it as Costco has the potential to do. I agree with your comments on there being a finite amount of wealth to go into shopping at these places, but it's different when you're bringing a business in that's new to the region.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 11/16/11 - 10:02 pm
0
0

I wonder why they didn't call

Unpublished

I wonder why they didn't call this shopping mecca "Village at Canal Walk?"

countyman
16776
Points
countyman 11/16/11 - 10:49 pm
0
0

Costco is able to keep a

Costco is able to keep a percentage of their sales tax for a decade.. They're going to have a store in Augusta much longer than ten years.. Choosing between having a $17-$22 million investment and 200 jobs versus having another empty lot is easy.. The Costco located in West Augusta is the only warehouse outside of metro Atlanta in the entire state.. I'm sure Savannah, Macon, Columbus, and even our sister city in SC(Columbia) would love to have one.. Not to mention the Costco is going to jump start a massive 115 acre development..

The addition of Costco into the Augusta market, made Sam's renovate their store and invest millions of dollars into Richmond County.. I'm positive the recent renovation of the Village Plaza and Alexander Plaza were connected to the Sam's remodeling..

P.S The jobs at Walmart and Sams don't start at $11 per hour..fThe average Costco generates $135 million and the average wage of their employees is $48k...

Little Lamb
40055
Points
Little Lamb 11/16/11 - 11:43 pm
0
0

Countyman wrote: Costco is

Countyman wrote:

Costco is able to keep a percentage of their sales tax for a decade. They're going to have a store in Augusta much longer than ten years.

Not necessarily. History has shown than when a temporary tax benefit comes to an end, the beneficiary of the temporary tax benefit looks for greener pastures; and there are plenty of sucker local governments out there ready to lure them away.

Little Lamb
40055
Points
Little Lamb 11/16/11 - 11:47 pm
0
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Pu239 wrote: I wonder why

Pu239 wrote:

I wonder why they didn't call this shopping mecca "Village at Canal Walk?"

Because you enter the shopping center from Riverwatch Parkway. The walking trail of the Augusta Canal is on the other side of the canal. Now it would be interesting if Costco spent some of their billions to build a nice walking bridge over the canal to the towpath. But I'm not holding my breath.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/17/11 - 02:41 am
0
0

"Now it would be interesting

"Now it would be interesting if Costco spent some of their billions to build a nice walking bridge over the canal to the towpath"

I recall there was forum chatter about that way back when the development was first announced. I think that was in concert with the brainstorming about a river beach and how it might be accessible.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/17/11 - 02:45 am
0
0

"It will not generate that

"It will not generate that much in new sales tax revenue unless it brings in more people that would not normally shop in Augusta."

It will. It will draw on people from 50 miles out.

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