Wow; I was so honored to collaborate with Lisa Keating of EncinoMom Magazine. We’ve worked together on a few projects in the past, but for me this one was special! Could I go on a tour of the new Costco in Woodland Hills and write an exclusive on the store as well as cover the Grand Opening Party that night? YES YES YES! Working and living in the West Valley for over 30 years, and being a big fan of Costco, I have been anticipating the opening of this new store and the experience did not disappoint!
As I pulled into the parking lot, workers scurried to get every thing finished in time for the Grand Opening. The new gas station was all clean and ready to go and opened just a few minutes after I left. Prices here are so competitive that waiting a few minutes to save $10 on a tank of gas is time well spent.
I was able to park easily right outside the front entrance. The store was still closed to the public. I met my host, JoDee Taylor, Director Social Media & Training for Costco Warehouse, to walk the space before the VIP Grand Opening Party and the first shoppers arrived.
As I entered the newest warehouse – one of 686 in the world, it was familiar and yet eerily empty of guests. No baskets in the aisles, but all lined up for the next day’s opening. Everything was neatly stacked in 154,000 square feet of shiny new warehouse space. Costco has so many great products of high quality from jewelry and wines of every caliber to every day items from their famous toilet paper, and cleaning supplies, to bakery fresh breads and fresh produce.
The new store has a Pharmacy, Optical Department and even offers checks and services like payroll for businesses, travel services and a large selection of gift cards for experiences or dining out. This store also boasts luxury brands like Chanel and Burberry Leather Goods, Rolex Watches, Cristal Champagne, Screaming Eagle Wine and prime meats and seafood.
This new Costco has something for literally everyone including the family dog! I love the high quality of everything that I have ever used from Costco. My husband bought me some sparkly bling for an anniversary gift a few years ago, trusting the high ethics of the corporate culture, knowing that all the merchandise is top notch and that you can trust what you are buying is actually the quality stated. All that’s missing is the famous little blue box, but at half the price for the same quality diamond, you can go nuts on wrapping paper, ribbons and bows and still have enough money to contribute open an IRA!
The relocation of the Canoga Park store was more than five years from concept to completion. As the anchor store of what is being hailed as the New Downtown of the San Fernando Valley – The Village, Costco brings 330 employees to service its members including a Pharmacy, Optical Department, a Food Court and Photo Center.
Later in the evening, I returned for the VIP Grand Opening Party. They pulled out all the stops. Buffet tables throughout the store were laid with everything from Shrimp Cocktail, to BBQ Brisket, there were Enchiladas, Chicken, Sausages, Meatballs, Sandwiches and staples like Kirkland All Beef Hot Dogs and Pizza. Expecting a crowd of 2000, 5000 people poured through the doors by the time I left. Members of the West Valley Warner Center Chamber of Commerce and other community leaders were all in line, ooh-ing and ah-ing about the new store’s beauty.
I was most impressed with the interaction of Craig Jelinek, Costco CEO and President with the employees. Many thanking him for his leadership as he shook hands and patted people on the back for a job well done. Each employee I met took obvious pride in welcoming the customers and community to the event. Everyone was truly celebrating the arrival of the newest business in Woodland Hills.
Kathy Rappaport is the Owner and Photographer at Flash Frozen Photography, Inc. in Woodland Hills. For more photos and captions see Kathy’s Blog (click here). Kathy enjoys reporting on neighborhood events. Her studio specializes in portraits of people and pets.