Costco’s new Stafford store means (small) Business!

Howdy Folks, welcome back to what will be the closing chapter, for now at least, on Costco’s new Stafford store. For those not in the know, Costco announced earlier this year their intent to build a new location in place of a driving range originally planned in the Grid mixed-used development. Located on the grounds of the former Texas Instruments campus, the Costco is a bit difficult to spot from the feeder. When announced, it was noted that this new location would be the first Costco Business Center in Houston! While the Wholesale Business Club format is not brand new, Houston’s only other attempt, a Sam’s Business Center, closed over 10 years ago. When trying to check out the concept online, it was difficult to find direct comparisons to a normal Costco, so I wanted to make documenting that my goal. Most reviews describe the stores as being geared towards small businesses and not standard consumers. Some things I knew going in, the store wouldn’t have any soft lines, or specialty departments. The largest selection by far was to be grocery, and it would feature a massive walk in cooler. Outside of that, I didn’t really know what to expect.

Heading into the store

So far the store proved to be quite the interesting concept. While some online had claimed these stores weren’t really aimed at normal consumers, I’d disagree. The bulk grocery selection you’d expect to find at a normal Costco is mostly present. While you might not be able to do a complete grocery trip at this Costco, as it doesn’t feature service departments, and has limited selections on home geared items like soaps and laundry detergent, it would suffice if you’re like me and not a regular Wholesale club shopper. There are certain groceries and other items that I do purchase in bulk, and this Costco would be fine for that. It really wasn’t busy at all for the grand opening weekend, either, which made for an easy photo taking experience.

Refrigerated Grocery

On my way out, I wanted to check for a few items. While I knew the store didn’t have things like a Pharmacy, Bakery, Deli, etc… Some readers had postulated on the possibility of this store having a tire center, or even a Cafe. While a tire center, even geared towards heavy trucks, was admittedly a stretch, I did figure they might have an in-store Cafe. Unfortunately one was not found, with the front end consisting simply of offices, a large conference room, employee quarters, and the restrooms. There was also some order pickup space at the exit. Based on large signs hanging above the open roof employee space, they either have prepackaged food and drinks or vending machines available. Despite the lack of most other Costco staples, the exit did feature the usual pitch men, plug for Costco Autos, A/C Repair, Gutters, and other displays.

Heading out

Overall, I will probably find myself back at this store occasionally. It’s not terribly convenient to me, but the if the low traffic continues here, that’s a marked advantage. I would recommend that anyone with a Costco Card checkout this store. They do not require, or even offer, a separate membership, and if nothing else from a retail perspective it’s fun to get a look up the supply chain. The product selection is different from say Restaurant Depot, closer to what you’d expect in a Costco, but the quantity and product sources, and closer to a wholesaler than club store. If nothing else, this Costco will likely prove to be an invaluable resource for the multiple small businesses surrounding it in Stafford.