Published in section C1, Wednesday April 1st, 2009

Costco to open next spring

Commerce The number of small businesses in city helped bring giant
retailer to Saint John

SAINT JOHN - Costco is targeting an opening date of spring 2010 for its new Saint John location.

Costco Canada spokesman Ron Damiani confirmed the date Tuesday.

"For us, getting into the Saint John market was very important," Damiani said.

The wholesale retailer will construct the store on Retail Drive in the East Point Shopping development.

Costco Wholesale Corporation is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the world based on sales volume.

Damiani said the company wanted to move into the Saint John market because of three factors: population size, population demographics and the number of small businesses operating in the city.

"Wholesale is essentially what we are and we consider ourselves to be a hybrid retailer," Damiani said.

"We act as a wholesaler for small business owners because they often don't have a lot of leverage.

"One of our most important customers are small business owners."

East Point developer Troy Northrup confirmed Monday the land transaction enabling Costco to come to town has been finalized and work to prepare the site was underway. The store will sit on approximately 13 acres in the East Point development.

Crews will work to level the site and prepare the pad for the store.

Northrup is targeting late July or early August as a completion date for the site work.

The store will be Costco's second in New Brunswick. Costco has been operating in Moncton since 1995.