Costco Business Center Opens with Bulk Quantities, New Delivery Options
Costco Business Center at Tikahtnu Commons on opening day, February 2, 2024.
Subzero fog couldn’t keep shoppers away from Costco Business Center, the newest warehouse club store in Anchorage. At 8 a.m., doors are still closed at Costco’s other stores in town, but member shoppers are welcome on the morning of the new location’s official launch day.
Back to Business
The daily opening at 7 a.m. is one way Costco Business Center caters to its target clientele. Restaurants, offices, and shops can stock up in the morning before their own opening hours.
“We know your time is valuable,” says Rob Parker, senior vice president of Costco Business Center on the store’s website. “Get in, get out, and get back to business.”
Of course, 9-to-5 workers can swing by before their regular shifts, too, and stock up on items for home.
“You can do your grocery shopping here,” says John Rozansky, assistant general manager of merchandise. He’s one of three assistants to General Manager Bob Ripley, who’s in charge of the new location at Tikahtnu Commons. The space was originally a Sam’s Club until 2018, when Walmart closed all three of its warehouse store locations in Alaska.
The space now contains a familiar Costco layout: packaged snacks in the middle, coolers and freezers in the back, and sundries on floor-to-ceiling shelves. The scale is impressive: inside the Costco Business Center, a grown-up feels like a toddler in a regular Costco.
Rozansky observes that the space feels larger because Costco Business Center lacks “ancillary departments.” No food court. No pharmacy. No bakery. No electronics or clothing. No seasonal items, whether Christmas decorations or kayaks.
The middle section of the Costco Business Center looks a lot like any other, but the difference is what’s not pictured: furniture, clothes, rotating seasonal goods, or even a deli. More room for packaged snacks.
That streamlined layout leaves room for a walk-in cooler that’s larger than an entire corner grocery store. Fresh meats, bagged vegetables, and dairy products are all shelved together. Outside the door, freezer cases display New Zealand whole lamb ($144 apiece, at $4.19 per pound) and Australian goat carcass ($3.59 per pound).
Next to that case, shoppers can find 25-pound bags of salt or beans. Just as, when the first Costco opened in Seattle in the ‘80s, warehouse club stores introduced supermarket shoppers to undreamed-of bulk quantities, Costco Business Center deals in bulk that might surprise regular Costco customers.
For example, half of one aisle is devoted to nothing but disposable gloves. Nearby: napkins, shop towels, bar mop towels, and paper toilet seat covers. Shopping bags and takeout boxes share the shelves with cups and plates of every size.
The company says about 70 percent of the inventory at Costco Business Center is not stocked at its other stores in Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Juneau. For instance, single-serving cups of jelly, like a hotel serves for its continental breakfast, are available for anyone to buy and, say, pack in a lunchbox.
Game Changer for Villages
Near the exit, rows of operators coordinate delivery orders to member customers, a service starting in Anchorage but eventually spreading statewide.
Another way the new store caters to business customers is by offering delivery. For commercially zoned businesses in Anchorage, orders placed by 3 p.m. can be delivered the next day. No order is too small, but orders less than $250 have a $25 surcharge. Same-day delivery is also available through Instacart, with a $35 minimum. Costco Business Center also offers pickup services for orders of $1,000 or larger, ready as early as the next day after ordering.
Rozansky, who’s worked at the Debarr and Dimond locations during his twenty-five years with the company, notes one more service that he calls a “game changer” for Alaska villages: 2-Day Delivery for dry goods. About 950 items marked on shelves with a hashtag are eligible for delivery via FedEx anywhere in the state—starting with nearby ZIP codes, Rozansky says, but extending as far as the North Slope eventually.
Costco Business Center is becoming, in essence, the store for all Alaska.