New Orleans is getting ready to offer big box warehouse retail shopping inside city limits. A Costco is to open later this month.
Employees at the Costco are just about done stocking shelves in the nearly 150,000-square-foot store.
Customers are stopping by to sign up at the South Carrolton Avenue warehouse near Xavier University. They pay an annual fee in order to buy food and other items at cut-rate prices.
General Manager Pete Carter walked through the changing inventory.
“Right now we open with Christmas. After Christmas it goes into furniture," Carter said. "After that, it goes into lawn and garden and sports. And then the full cycle comes back into furniture, and then back into Christmas again.”
The Costco plan is to offer its own brand of goods, and lower prices for other well-known labels. Those items range from car tires, a pharmacy and an optical department for eye exams and glasses.
The group “Stay Local” promotes buying from local merchants. It says lower prices achieved through bulk buying could force small stores to cut staff.
Carter says the new store plans to hire up to 250 employees.
“Fifty-fifty, full-time/part-time," Carter said. "All employees, both full time and part time, have 100 percent benefits after six months.”
A few miles away in Gentilly, city officials gathered to celebrate a groundbreaking for a new Walmart. Another in that chain is being built in New Orleans East.
The new Costco opens its doors Sept. 21.