LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) As the doors open Friday morning to Lexington's first Costco, the battle of the warehouse clubs intensifies with the arrival of the main rival for Sam's Club.
After months of construction, the membership warehouse club will greet customers at its Polo Club and Man O' War Boulevard store selling everything from groceries to jewelry.
Like Sam's Club, shoppers need to buy a membership. The Costco membership yearly fees range from $55 to $110.
In addition to selling a range of household goods and groceries, the Lexington store has a food court, gas station, hearing aids and optical departments, pharmacy, and tire service center.
The company's first location, opened in 1976 under the Price Club name, was in a converted airplane hangar on Morena Boulevard in San Diego. Originally serving only small businesses, the company found it could achieve far greater buying clout by also serving a selected audience of non-business members.
With that change, the growth of the warehouse club industry was off and running. In 1983, the first Costco warehouse location was opened in Seattle.
Costco became the first company ever to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years.
When Costco and Price Club merged in 1993, the combined company, operating under the name PriceCostco, had 206 locations generating $16 billion in annual sales.
Since resuming the Costco name in 1997, the company has grown worldwide with total sales in recent fiscal years exceeding $64 billion.