After months of planning, preparation and construction, the Warminster Costco opened this past weekend at the corner of Street and Jacksonville roads. The parking lot was full and the membership sign-up line snaked around the entrance as potential customers were eager to see what kind of deals they could find.
Warminster resident Alicia Muller was excited to have a Costco open in her neighborhood, saving her the drive to the next closest location in . She prefers going to the wholesale clubs because fo their larger, bulk items.
"I dislike food shopping," said Muller. "If I go here, I don't have to go the regular supermarket as frequently. I prefer Costco to the other warehouse stores because I think they have a better variety."
Store manager Ron Fortini welcomed the building crowd for Friday's opening, inviting visitors to take advantage of the numerous free sample stations, featuring baked goods, produce and hot choices from the different departments.
"They have been asking us to open here for a long time," said Fortini. "It's a great feeling to have such a warm welcome."
Not everybody who showed up Friday morning was happy to see the new store. Union protestors camped out at both entrances to dispute the company's use of non-union labor. Using giant, inflatable rats to attract attention, the scene was similar to the during construction. Bernard Griggs, a representative from the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, stated in July that the use of non-union, out-of-state workers denied jobs to local residents.
On the scene of the protests Friday morning, Griggs declined requests for comment. Fantini also chose to stay out of the controversy, adding that the protesters have kept their distance from the shoppers and have not created any incidents.
Costco executive Ali Moayeri in July, stating that he worked with Griggs and the local workers, but they did not submit enough bids in time. Moayeri was told that Costco's open shop policy that invites union and non-union labor to work on their sites was the reason for the lack of response.
Located at 100 Veterans Way across the street from Walmart, the new, 147,000 square-foot Costco is the 589th store to open worldwide and ninth in Pennsylvania. The specialty departments include a gas station, bakery, meat, produce, deli, optical, one-hour photo, pharmacy, tire center hearing aid center and food court.