The exterior of the Lexington Costco
Lexington, KY – Over the last few weeks Jeff Stohlmann oversaw the delivery of 55-trucklaods of just dry goods to his Costco, which opens Friday in Lexington.
The 159,000 square foot warehouse club store was full of activity Thursday as the finishing touches were being put on the store that employs 190, including Stohlmann, its general manager who has moved over from the same position at Costco’s Louisville location.
The Lexington store for the suburban Seattle-based chain of club warehouses is the sixth and final store the group’s Midwest operation will open this year according to Wendy Davis, Costco’s regional vice president. Overall, the Lexington Costco - on the corner of Man O’ War and Polo Club Blvd., across I-75 from Hamburg - is the 457th location in the United States and 641st in the world.
Davis was part of a team from Costco’s regional office in the Chicago area to come help Stohlmann open this store as he did in 2006 when he presided over the opening of Kentucky’s first Costco on the north side of Louisville where he served as GM until taking the role in Lexington. Stohlmann, like Davis, began with the company as a low level employee. He was first hired to collect shopping carts for a Tucson, Ariz. Costco in 1984.
The Lexington store is part of an expansion in the Midwest that saw stores in Fort Wayne and Green Bay open up just this week in addition to Friday’s Lexington opening. Davis said while she and her team have been busy signing up new club members and stocking shelves around the middle part of America, it is all part of a measured expansion.
An employee of the company since 1985 when she was a college student in Fresno, Davis was part of Costco’s initial push into the Midwest when she opened one of five stores in Detroit in 1998. Despite the well documented hard times of Detroit and its surrounding region, those five stores are still operating and there’s now a total of 11 in a forty mile radius of the city, according to the company’s website.
Being the new club store in town, Davis said Costco sets itself apart by selling higher-end items than you could find at other big box warehouse stores.
North Face fleece pullovers available at the Lexington Costco
“We are the Nordstrom of the club industry,” she said. “As you walk around you’ll see with the merchandise we have Louis Vuitton, Prada, North Face, you’re going to see Frye boots and Ugg boots.”
In addition high-end products, Davis said Costco separates itself from its competition through its employees, as the chain is regarded as one of the top paying retailers.
“We believe in paying high wages and providing great benefits. We have a very low turnover and we take care of our employees,” she said. “After one year, our turnover is less than 5 percent, which is very good for the retail industry.”
And that is true from the boardroom to the break room as Davis said the same corporate senior management team is intact from her days in Fresno, expect for one who has retired, but still serves on the board of the publicly traded company.
A look at the inside of the Lexington Costco
The store opens at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18 and will then have hours of 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. One-year memberships start at $55 and include an extra membership card.