Photo: Ashley Schafer
In anticipation of the new Midland-based Costco store opening on Nov. 12, employees are working hard to get members signed up.
The membership-based wholesale retailer is located at 4816 Bay City Road and will feature an eight-pump fuel station, a tire center, an optical center, a pharmacy, food court and more.
Costco will open in Midland with more than 200 new employees, about 160 of which are hired from the area and about 60 of which are transfers from Costcos all over the country, said General Manager Mark Zuerner in a Midland Business Alliance virtual event. He said they had almost 10,000 applications and hundreds of interviews. Of those hired, 40% will be full-time and 60% will be part-time, which is expected to be opposite that by the end of the first year.
You might have noticed the more than 20 Costco pop-up tents scattered around town, and throughout the region, in places like Clare and Mount Pleasant. Because Costco will draw in shoppers from outside Midland, the tents are also strategically placed outside Midland. The closest Costco north of Midland is in Traverse City and other nearby locations include East Lansing at the Detroit area.
Each tent station is manned by two or three Costco employees, some of which are Midland natives and other are transfer employees from other stores. Each day they get assigned to a new location and get to meet a different round of their new coworkers. They wave to passing drivers and garner honks and waves back. Many of the employees expressed they were looking forward to working inside the warehouse.
Some of the Midland locations include Planet Fitness, Meijer, Bickford Senior Living and YaYa’s Flame Broiled Chicken.
Katina Ortega, a frond-end assistant from Toledo, Ohio, worked in various Costco optical offices and since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, her role has shifted. So, she’s been helping sell memberships in Midland for a couple weeks and she said she absolutely loves the community. So much so that she wants to transfer to the Midland store, if possible.
“I’m not a city girl. This small, quaint town is perfect,” she said. “This is beautiful and the people are so nice.”
She said they’ve signed up more than 6,000 people already for memberships, with a goal of 14,000 in the region. However, the number of sign-ups each tent gets a day just depends on the location and the day.
“We could be here one day and get 25 sign-ups and then we could be here the next and get five,” Ortega said.
She raved about the products Costco carries – which goes beyond just food – and she also praised the family-like atmosphere that Costco creates for all it’s employees.
To learn more about Costco, visit www.costco.com