Putting Grand Junction’s Costco Rumors to Rest

Costco Warehouse Store – Sam’s Club is the major obstacle to Grand Junction getting a Costco

For years western slope residents have been hoping and wishing that a Costco warehouse store would open in Grand Junction.

Around 2010, rumors started circulating that Costco was considering locating a new store in Grand Junction. People even started proposing possible locations for the new store in the Daily Sentinel’s letters-to-the-editor column.

But Costco never came to Grand Junction, and to this day rumors continue to abound about why the area was passed up.

People blamed the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce for chasing Costco away, saying the Chamber wanted to keep the wage scale low here, and Costco would upend our area’s low-wage apple cart. Costco is known for it’s generous wage and benefits packages, paying a starting salary of around $17/hour, or $45,000/year, and offering employees medical insurance, retirement and more.

Others claim Costco rejected Grand Junction because of our notoriously underfunded District 51 schools. 

None of these are true.

Right from the Horse’s Mouth

I spoke directly with Mike Dobrota, Vice President at Northwest Atlantic, the commercial real estate firm that represents Costco.

Costco opens a few new stores in the U.S. every year, and Mr. Dobrota is in charge of determining the locations in the southwestern U.S. where Costco should open.

I asked Mr. Dobrota about Grand Junction as a potential location for a Costco, and cited all the rumors that have been circulating for so long about why they never opened a store here.

He said the decision about whether to locate a store here has nothing to do with the quality of the schools, the prevailing local wages, the educational level of the workforce or the Chamber of Commerce. He said Grand Junction is presently still on their “small markets list,” and they have been considering the area for some time. (Our area stretches to include Moab, by the way.) He considers demographics when weighing a new location, but the main factors he takes into account, he says, are the size of the market and any competitors in the area. Costco needs about 300,000 people in a trade area to open a new store, but needs even more if a competitor is present. So according to Dobrota, the biggest obstacle to Grand Junction getting a Costco is the presence of Sam’s Club, a direct competitor.

In the mean time, the closest Costco is currently in Gypsum, 110 miles or 1.75 hours’ drive east of here. Dobrota does not consider the Gypsum store to be “in our area,” though, so it’s presence isn’t a factor in whether a Costco will eventually open in Grand Junction.

The Gypsum store opened eleven years ago this year, by the way, and has been a tremendous boon to the town of Gypsum. The store generated enough revenue to help the town pay off a 20-year bond for its new recreation center in just 8 years.

And yes, folks, you read that right. Even the little western slope town of Gypsum, population around 6,800, has a publicly-funded recreation center, an amenity the City of Grand Junction has denied its residents for decades.

Gypsum’s rec center

In case you are interested (and want to be jealous), Gypsum’s rec center has an indoor running track, gymnastics facilities, two full basketball/volleyball courts, lap pool, play pool with water slide and lazy river, sauna, hot tub, climbing wall, fitness classes, strength training equipment, cardio equipment, childcare center, arcade, meeting facilities and more.

All this is paid for by a town of 6,800 people who agreed overwhelmingly to add one cent to their sales tax for the rec center, and a Costco.

But for now, Grand Junction has neither a rec center nor a Costco. But we do have a Sam’s Club that pays a starting wage of $9.97/hour, and a city council that won’t even entertain the idea of a recreation center.

Hurray.

  33 comments for “Putting Grand Junction’s Costco Rumors to Rest

  1. Contrary to popular opinion, Costco is not a price leader operation like Wal-Mart & Sam’s Club.

    Costco shoppers are much wealthier than the typical big-box-store customer. Household income for the average Walmart shopper is between $50,000 and $60,000, according to some accounting and $78,262 in others, compared with $88,596 for Target. But the lowest Costco averages get in estimates is $93,000. The overall average income for a Costco shopper is more like $140,000.

    We live in an area with barely half the number of people in the economic area, but we’ve had a Costco for over 20 years. Why? An affluent retired population.

  2. Costco would be a big thing here in grand junction only because it bring all of stuff that sams club doe starts know they exit. If they did they do what Costco good at doing, having different things to buy. Costco runs rings around sams club. Sams club is always the same nothing new same old stuff. Any of you who don’t have anything constructive to say just stay the hell off of this blog…..

  3. Grand Junction needs a Costco. It would be good competition for Sams and Walmart. We as consumers need more choices for better value and products. I shop on line when I can at Costco but would love to go shopping at a store.

  4. Where would a Costco go do you suppose? If its’ presence enhances its’ surrounding area and or community over all, where should it go?

    I can appreciate the information in the story, but if we had a Costco here, wouldn’t they want to be a good distance from Sam’s Club and Walmart (Rimrock location)? So Clifton or Fruitvale area? I was talking to one of our MCSO’s yesterday and he told me that Clifton is law enforcement’s, troubled-child; hmm what does that say to Costco’s location hunters?

    Fruita, a good distance (30 min) from GJ. I drive 6 & 50 to Fruita nearly every day, can you imagine the traffic increase through “The diamond-of-death,” or on either I-70 or the frontage road (6 & 50)? it’s insane already; the draw to Costco would only increase, so I guess then we wold be able to afford hiring more traffic cops.

    And what of a Rec Center. GJCC has surely screwed this up! When I moved here 24+ years ago, the small town (20k pop), I moved from had a great Rec Center with a full basketball court, a full size swimming pool, meeting rooms and other amenities. We didn’t have a Sam’s Club or a Costco; we didn’t have a Walmart, we had one thing going for us and we used it! Tourism a.k.a “Lodging tax.”

    But what of GJ, the city council doesn’t have a clue as to how to bring about a Rec Center to our area without causing a mass exodus of residences either out of the area or a “NO” vote on the ballot tabs every two years or so.

    In conclusion the same question remains, “Where would a Costco go or a Rec Center do you suppose? If its’ presence enhances its’ surrounding area and or community over all, where should it go?

  5. The reason Costco hasn’t come to GJ is probably due to the lower income residents, not size. Gypsum pulls from a much more affluent pool of shoppers. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  6. I also shop Costco in Gysum but really wish we had one here in Grand Junction. I moved from Colorado Springs and had two Costco’s. We live in Fruita.

  7. People put too much credence in Costco and Kirkland products. I live in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach “Tidewater” area of Va. and belong to Sam’s and B.J.’s, as well as Costco, because Mrs. Kirkland and crew target the upscale formerly known as yuppie market. I have bought many food products on faith over the years that tasted like crap as well as phones, t.v.’s, microwaves, etc. that conked out on me – Costco can also have an incredibly slow return’s line – Walmart is usually faster. I am moving, sight unseen, to G.J. to escape both the physical and political climate of this sweltering swamp and could care less about having the Kirklands around.

    • Instead of building a wall, Trump should shut down all the Walmart’s and La Quintas in America. Getting rid of these two atrocious businesses will definitely be a step towards a brighter future. Walmart is just one big hillbilly play pen.

    • So instead of moving to Colorado, why don’t you pack up your wife, kids, 6 pack of Busch Ultra and move on down to the Everglades or something!! Hoorah!!!

    • Agree! Would definitely move to GJ if Costco arrived and mentality of GJ polticians realized what their community is missing!

  8. If an area needs 300,000 strong to be considered for a Costco store how did Gypsom a 6K town get one? lol my maths not perfect but somethings not adding up!

    • 300,000 in the area, and our area stretches all the way to moab. gypsum area probably covers a ton of mountain towns.

  9. I have spoken with many people in the GJ to Moab areas since we moved to Fruita in July, 2017 about having a Costco in the GJ area. All are consistent in their desire to shop at a Costco vs Sam’s Club. We maintained our membership & purchase online or shop in SLC when we are there, or Spanish Fork, UT.

    I don’t know if a petition would work to demonstrate to Mr. Dobrota the need for another store like Costco in GJ but I would love to start one or sign one. The quality of your goods (Kirkland & other products) is unsurpassed. I haven’t heard of any/many recalls from Costco vs a store like Trader Joe’s who has had quite a few.

    The Costco name & reputation for employee retention & providing them a living salary with benefits is well known & deserved. For this reason alone, I will continue to shop & support Costco.

  10. gj is rightwing and you can bet walmart and sams club, a total of 4 pay off the repub city council in gj so walmart gets to monopolize mesa county

    • Sure, but that’s not a function of Right or Left wing; that’s a function of being bought-out. There are similar situations in left-wing local governments. But to the original point, yes…our city and county “leaders” are anything but.

    • rich i think she just cleared that up that demographics was the issue not city council. way ro REALLY read between those lines though.

  11. gj is rightwing and you can bet walmart and sams club, a total of 4 pay off the repub city council in gj so walmart monopolizes mesa county

  12. I agree with the comments, how did Gypsum get a store, the draw area is not that big and the store is never as busy as the Sam’s here (Sam’s is no competition). We can keep hoping,

  13. Put it between Fruita and GJ, that would really tick the GJ City Counsel off and be cheaper on sales tax and out of the City limits.

  14. I would shop both Costco and Sam’s. When I go to Phoenix I shop both. They carry different items that I like. And of course they are allowed to have liquor inside the stores. (The liquor laws are a whole nother story in CO) Any way, just as Cabelas brings customers from Eastern UT. and all over the western slope so would Costco and both stores ( Sams) would do fine.

  15. I vote for Montrose! Gypsum is a three hour drive for me each way. I would, however, rejoice if a costco came to Grand Junction.

  16. The population reason for not coming here is rediculous! Gypsum obviously has a much smaller population and has done just fine. I sure hope they give us a shot. Businesses always perform better with competition!

  17. We as consumers are really tired of Sam’s Club being our only “choice” if Costco were to come here I for one would go there instead

  18. We drive all that way to Gypsum to shop at Costco because it is a better store and has better products and values. We need a Costco here in Grand Junction.

  19. Whitewater has nothing, not even a truck stop, a liquor store (would do very well here), closest grocery is Orchard Mesa. Tough to empathize with what’s not going on in Happy Valley.

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