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Costco jammed at VIP function

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

The first wave of Douglas County shoppers flocked north to the Carson City Costco’s VIP Night Thursday evening at 700 Old Clear Creek Road, and the fact that they didn’t have to travel another 30 miles to Reno was at the top of their why-I-love-this-store list.

“This is a big deal,” said an ecstatic Linda Doherty of Minden. “We probably go to Reno three times a month and I think it’s fantastic having it so close to us now. I don’t know why, but this store seems superior to the one in Reno.”

“For our business, we buy candy, soda, toilet paper – that kind of thing – so this will be real handy for us,” said Linda’s husband, Jim Doherty. The couple owns Friendly Fire Indoor Paintball in Carson City with Rachel and Jorgen Christensen of Ruhenstroth.

“I probably shop the Reno Costco once a month,” said Rachel Christensen. “But I’ll most likely be going a lot more now.”

“With Costco, Target and Home Depot here now, the only reason to go to Reno will be to go to the airport,” Jim Doherty said.

“And even though it isn’t in Douglas County, it employs all these people,” Rachel said. “We won’t have to do our Christmas shopping in Reno any more.”

n Manager floating on air. Store manager Bob Tote, who transferred from the Reno Costco, said it’s anyone’s guess how much business the 149,000-square-foot Carson City store will do, but he wasn’t worried Thursday night as he greeted customers and employee family members.

“It’s been amazing so far,” he said. “This is my 11th week, and I saw this place go from walls a foot high to this. I’m floating, literally. And the turnout tonight is unbelievable, especially considering the weather.”

Outside, the snowy parking lot was crammed with cars and only a few empty parking spots.

Tote said the store’s 205 employees were ready to hit the ground running on Friday, the first official day of business.

“We have 18 registers and we’re ready to go,” he said. “We brought in a few extra people to help with the holidays, and we’ll see how it goes from there. I’d love to have to hire 20 or 30 more people if the business warrants it. For now, we’re all just real proud of the store.”

Minden residents Terry and Mike Munoz picket out the Christmas selections they planned to purchase Friday morning when the store opened for regular shopping.

“We have been Costco members for 10 to 15 years, probably coming here two to three times a month,” Mike said.

“With four daughters – three still at home – we do most of our grocery shopping here,” Terry said.

n Teachers will use store. KC Brennan, an art teacher at Jacks Valley and Pinon Hills elementary schools, said she is looking forward to not having to go to Reno so often.

“We went every two weeks or so and called it ‘that dreaded Costco Reno trip,’ and we’ll sure save gas now,” she said. “I’ll bet the Jacks Valley teachers will be here on Friday nights. I wonder if they’ll give teachers Costco cards.”

Mary Soscia of Minden said she’s a twice-monthly Reno Costco shopper but would most likely hit the Carson City store more often.

“I am loving this,” she said. “It’s clean, it’s big , but I do think they could expand the book section a bit. I can hit Costco and then Home Depot and I’m happy.”