Grand Opening of my Costco at North Lakes – Brisbane!

by Maureen on May 29, 2014

Costco North Lakes

When Costco began opening warehouses around Australia a few years ago I was green with envy because they weren’t near me.  I can remember the first opening day of the Costco in Orlando.  I shopped there all the time when I lived in Florida.  Now that I’m in Australia I’ve missed warehouse shopping.

Then came the day that Costco announced it had purchased land north of Brisbane for a new warehouse. Brisbane is only an hour away from me and I knew I’d travel that far to shop at Costco.  This was over a  year ago.  Every few weeks I’d check on the progress.  It was worse than being pregnant.

I got on the Costco lovers Facebook page, the Costco Facebook page, I joined up to be notified when they’d open and last week I went down and bought my membership.  That’s because Costco finally opened today.

Was I there on day one?  You betcha. Now there were some who slept outside so they could get in first but I’m not quite that silly.  I certainly wasn’t alone in wanting to be there on day one because as we got off the highway, the traffic lights weren’t working and there were police at every intersection.  Why?  There was so much traffic going to Costco.  Seriously.  If you’d been in the sky looking down it would have looked like a swarm of bees heading for the entrance.

Costco North Lakes

Usually I feel quite Australian because I have lived here for many years but one step inside Costco and I was 100% Yank.  Jelly Bellies, American bacon, ice tea, enough paper towels and toilet paper to cover the town, boats, hot tubs, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothing, fresh meat and veg, bakery plus an optical and hearing aid stores.

I say that it’s ‘my’ Costco because it’s a 45 minute drive to North Lakes, north of Brisbane.  If they want to put another one on the Sunshine Coast, I would be there on day one too!

Costco North Lakes

The local paper put a story about the Costco opening in their online paper and some people were commenting with things like, “Why do we want an American store?” or “Who’d pay to shop without so much as a peek inside?” or “So much stuff for stupid people to buy.”  One even said one day soon someone would start a website for people of Costco (like Wal-Mart).  They just don’t understand how different this is from a department store.  I shook my head and thought about my visit to the store.  I’d go there again tomorrow if I needed something.  — or maybe just to walk around.

We came out with a full shopping cart and yes, most things made John roll his eyes.  “A big jar of Jelly Bellies?  Seriously?” Then he leaned over and gave me a kiss and said, “You Americans,” and grinned ear to ear.  You might remember that the word you and Americans has never been permitted to be used in the same sentence in our house. I let it pass today.

However, my return eyeroll said in no uncertain terms, “Stuff it!” and then I put in a jumbo container of Skippy peanut butter, eggs and some American bacon.  Charlie was really happy with a huge bag of dog treats and we have enough paper towels for any emergency – for the next five years.

We took Rob with us and he walked for nearly 2 hours.  He must have been exhausted but he said he wouldn’t have missed it for anything.  “It sure is done well, Maureen, even if it IS American.  They really know what they’re doing.”  He’s right.

Want a Jelly Belly?  I have a jumbo jar.

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Shashi @ RunninSrilankan May 30, 2014 at 1:05 am

Maureen – YAY!!! I am so glad Costco opened up somewhat near by – I have one about a 7 minute drive from my house and I am there way too often – I LOVE Costco so I totally understand how thrilled you must be!

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Shashi @ RunninSrilankan May 30, 2014 at 1:05 am

Maureen – YAY!!! I am so glad Costco opened up somewhat near by – I have one about a 7 minute drive from my house and I am there way too often – I LOVE Costco so I totally understand how thrilled you must be!

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John@Kitchen Riffs May 30, 2014 at 1:31 am

Costco is great. I always buy way too much and then need to figure out how to use things, but it’s a fun experience. You American, you. :D BTW, I don’t know if Amazon subscription works as well in Australia as it does in the US, but we’re actually getting things like paper towels delivered via their subscription surface. Their prices are very competitive. Not on everything, but it’s worth investigating.
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Tricia @ Saving room for dessert May 30, 2014 at 2:25 am

So funny – I know you are going to enjoy the Costco – congratulations! Jelly Bellies – yes!

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Liz May 30, 2014 at 2:55 am

I took Katie to our closest Costco a few weeks back…she’d never been but was quite impressed with the ginormous bag of chocolate chips we came home with :) Glad you all had fun and brought home some treasures!

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Melissa @ My Recent Favorite books May 30, 2014 at 3:19 am

Sounds like you had a fun shopping day at Costco! We dont have one near us, but if we did, I would be shopping there often. =)

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Barbara | Creative Culinary May 30, 2014 at 3:19 am

I love Costco so much that I call myself a ‘Costcoaholic.’ My trip has tripled since moving but since it was only an 8 minute drive and you are going so far I won’t complain about the 25 minutes. Much.

The one near me carries great cheese and I love their meat. Too many aisles of tempting prepared foods for my tastes but I’m going today or tomorrow for garden stuff and I know they won’t disappoint.

It’s a shame that there seems to be such disdain for ‘Americans.’ I think for the most part we are a pretty good lot of people; sadly we have Kimye out there representing. UGH! :)
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Ansh May 30, 2014 at 3:31 am

Costco is an experience. Costco is like no other! Costco is how things are done right! Glad it’s opened near you. Pass me some Jelly bean :D
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Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits May 30, 2014 at 4:01 am

You’ll probably be quite jealous when I tell you that I have 3 Costco’s; West, North, and South The furthest is a 20 minute drive. But I do know what a crazy grand opening is like. We had the same traffic build-up as you had for “your” Costco when Ikea opened here.

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A_Boleyn May 30, 2014 at 5:54 am

I have had a membership to Costco for YEARS since a friend first sponsored me on his business’s card. I bought it mainly for my mom who bought several items in bulk. Now I try to stay away unless I absolutely HAVE to go because I can’t walk out without having spent $100-120. Which is crazy for a single person household. I even made my nephew pick up my last 2 blood pressure meds prescriptions on his way into town to run errands or go out to lunch with me since he drives right by the place.

But they have HUGE bags of almonds (whole and blanched and sliced) and pecans, and walnuts and beautiful sides of salmon etc. :)
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Ella-HomeCookingAdventure May 30, 2014 at 6:08 am

It was fun reading your article. While in US I enjoyed our visit to Costco, though everything seemed to me too large sizes, very different from European stores.

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Jacki May 30, 2014 at 6:27 am

How do you live without Costco? It’s our bad/good habit. We picked out a house because Costco was near by (and of course our favorite grocery)- how’s that for sellers amenities? You haven’t lived until you’ve have a rotisserie! And who doesn’t need 10 pounds of chocolate chips? Congrats on your Costco.
We adore Costco! and your blog :)
Jacki

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Maureen May 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm

LOL Jacki! When I lived in Orlando there were two Costco stores and one was only 10 minutes from the house. I shopped there all the time and would store lots of things vacuum sealed in mason jars or vacuum sealed in bags. I’ve already separated the bacon into 8 breakfasts and it ended up being only a dollar per breakfast. (there ARE only two of us and I don’t eat heaps of bacon) Cool!

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maryfrancescooks May 30, 2014 at 6:31 am

Maureen you wouldn’t believe it I was just at the Costco here in New York the other day, it’s such a HUGE destination for people in Manhattan, myself included!!

I’m glad yours finally opened and that you could show your family the “authentic American experience”, Jelly Bellies and all!
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Minnie@thelady8home May 30, 2014 at 6:35 am

hahahahha!! You are hillarious!! I am not a big shopper, so I don’t go to Costco much, but lately I have been wanting to go there more and more, specially since my boys are now running my pantry to the ground. Good for you :)
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InTolerant Chef May 30, 2014 at 8:14 am

I took my visiting dad to Costco here in Canberra earlier in the month and he promptly signed up for membership anticipating the opening of ‘your’ store Maureen. He had a business breakfast yesterday so was at the grandopening by 8am and had a blast!
Dad says bulk buying is handy for him as he lives rurally- but secretly, I think he just loves snacking on all the free samples :)

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Claire @ Claire K Creations May 30, 2014 at 8:20 am

I am so jealous Maureen! I can’t wait to go!

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Lizzy (Good Things) May 30, 2014 at 9:08 am

The Canberra one opened a year or two ago and we make the occasional pilgrimage…. it’s near the airport and not too far from home! I love their fresh flathead fillets… and buying things like Handy Andy cleaning products in bulk.

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Abbe@This is How I Cook May 30, 2014 at 10:06 am

I love Costco! For a few years we couldn’t afford to buy in bulk, but now the good times are back. I was so happy, because I love Costco. Yeah. I said that already! Glad John got his exercise!
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Laura @ Family Spice May 30, 2014 at 10:48 am

Oh, don’t diss MY Costco! LOL! I’m sure Europeans must think us odd for not shopping daily for our food, but we Americans are busy, busy, working hard. That one-stop shop for a month supply of food does this family of five wonders. The hardest part for me is putting away all of the items I bought from a trip to Costco.

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Lauren @ Living the Savory Life May 30, 2014 at 11:17 am

Maureen!! So jealous! Though I don’t know what I would buy. I think I would be overwhelmed. I used to belong when I lived in Seattle. It was good for cheap petrol and meats and spring mix lettuces and the occasional pair of jeans or coffee maker. I do like Costco and I believe that they are a good company who takes care of their employees and I support that. I wonder if it will make its way to the end of the earth over here to Perth?! I hope so.

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Maureen May 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I’ll bet it comes to Perth. I kept saying it would never make it to Queensland and it did. :)

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Joanne T Ferguson May 30, 2014 at 11:30 am

G’day and thanks for your post today Maureen that brightened my day!
I laughed as I was at the very first Costco opening on Long Island and will be at the new one coming in Adelaide!
While I too would not sleep out just to be the first one in!
I think as long as people know their prices….having Costco is a win win!!
Cheers! Joanne

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ray May 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Oh yes! Costco is the best. I love shopping at Costco especially running a business. Buying things by the bulk is great. Costco here where I live sells the 8 inch hotdog in a bun with all you can drink soda for a buck fifty. Now that is my my favorite part when shopping at Costco. I’m you will enjoy shopping there now that it is near you.

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Choc Chip Uru May 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Although we don’t usually buy in bulk, Costco’s charm was something else when it opened up in Sydney! So excited that you get to shop there again :D
Do they also sell the massive pizza outside the store?

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru
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Maureen May 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm

When we went to buy our membership last week they were passing it out like crazy but no pizza outside yesterday. We could buy it ready to cook inside though.

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Hotly Spiced May 30, 2014 at 1:06 pm

I’ve only been to Costco once. I was down in Canberra staying with my SIL (I think I’ve told you all about her!) who’s from Canada and she just loves Costco. She took me there for an outing. I really had no interest in going but anyway. Well…I loved it and $750 later, I emerged. I haven’t been to the one in Sydney because it’s about an hour away and a lot of that is spent sitting in traffic. I’d have loved to have seen a photo of the size of your jelly baby jar – my favourite and I’d love some right now! xx

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Maureen May 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm

I’ve got a photo (minus a few bellies eaten on the way home) for my in my kitchen post. :)

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Roberta May 30, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Every city in the world d should have a Costco. Sp glad you have one near now, Maureen. :)

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cheri May 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm

We shop at Costco all the time, I love this place, the quality is wonderful. Sometimes I go there around lunchtime and there is enough samples for a meal.
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Eha May 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I must admit to feeling torn! I love having a very small carbon footstep and this does not comply! But reading some of the shopping ‘tales’ such as Celia’s and Lorraine’s and now yours part of me would love to go :) ! Do not know that being semi-rural and living on my own warrants all this largesse, but am curious enough to see!! NOW: when is Costco opening in SW Sydney and within a possible reach of me :) ?

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nancy@jamjnr May 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Boats??! Really? My folks love going to the one in Melbourne and when I’m home I’m partial to a trip with Mum too. Didn’t Celia buy lobsters from Costco a couple of weeks back? They were a bargain.

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nancy@jamjnr May 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Boats?! Really? My folks love the Melbourne one and I’m always partial to a visit with Mum when I’m home. Didn’t Celia buy lobsters a couple of weeks ago from Costco? They looked like a real bargain.
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Gourmet Getaways May 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Yes, yes, Jelly Belly for me, please!!! How was the seafood freezer like? Was it stuffed?

Julie
Gourmet Getaways

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 30, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Hehe every time my friend goes there she gets one of those giant jars of Jelly Bellys! I just went here with Celia the other day. I bought underwear for hubby! :P
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Jackie@SyrupAndBiscuits May 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm

YIPPIE!!!!! We’re big Costco shoppers ourselves. I can’t imagine not having access to one. You’ve been deprived much too long. It would interesting to know how different the products are for you versus what we have in the US.
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Carol at Wild Goose Tea May 31, 2014 at 6:28 am

It’s weird thinking about Costco being in other countries. No reason why. But we don’t always need reasons. Well I have two Costco’s ‘near’—sort of—-one is 45 minutes one direction and the other is 45 minutes away in another direction. Luckily I have a friend who goes every week and I tell her what I want and she gets for me. Now if I could just have her come home with me and put it away, life would be perfect. Ha!

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michael May 31, 2014 at 9:48 am

I know you are excited about having a Costo, now all you need is a Sam’s so they keep their prices competitive! My wife loves the Jelley Bellies, she could eat almost the entire bag at one sitting!!

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Maureen May 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm

The prospect of Sam’s or BJ’s would be nice but it will never happen. The population is just too small for any competition. We have a few large cities but Australia has under 24 million people in a country the size of the US. Texas has more people than the entire continent of Australia.

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Emma @ Bake Then Eat May 31, 2014 at 10:02 am

I totally understand your excitement, I have a mega Costco about 10 minutes drive from me and I go and stock up on things all the time, I mean you are right you never know when you will need up to 5 years worth of paper towels or a bag of chocolate chips the size of a small dog! All of life’s necessities all under one roof, what’s not to love?
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Kari @ bite-sized thoughts May 31, 2014 at 6:41 pm

I am so intrigued by Costco – we don’t have them in Western Australia at all, and so I’ve never been in one. I did enjoy wandering Walmart in the US last year and to my naive mind they are similar. I’m probably way off but Walmart was certainly fun to browse, and I’m sure I’d enjoy Costco too :)
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Celia June 1, 2014 at 8:37 am

How excited are you? :D Did you find the Maine lobstah in the freezer section? If not, you have to go back and look for it! :D

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Maureen June 1, 2014 at 8:50 am

I did! John said, “My god, these look like big yabbies!” He’s had a fair few Maine lobsters on our visits back to Maine. :)

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Sarah Stubbs June 1, 2014 at 9:00 am

Do you have to be a member before you can enter the store? I would like to see if it would be beneficial for myself before purchasing one. Please let me know so I dont drive all the way and get turn away!

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Maureen June 1, 2014 at 9:03 am

You must have a membership or visit as a guest with a current member. I’d be happy to take you in as my guest, just let me know. :)

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Sarah Stubbs June 1, 2014 at 9:08 am

That is very lovely of you, thank you. Will let you know as I very eager to see this amazing place :)

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mjskit June 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm

A jumbo jar of jelly beans? I’ve see them every time I go but have always managed to resist them because I know would be the only one eating them. I reach for the jumbo jar of roasted peanuts instead. That way Bobby eats as many as I do. Congratulations on your new Costco! I keep an ongoing Costco list on the fridge and it’s getting quite long. Time to go shopping!
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Nami | Just One Cookbook June 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

We go to Costco once a week or at least once every two weeks! With growing family, Coscto becomes like our regular supermarket… They usually sell pretty good quality stuff that I actually enjoy shopping there. When I first came to the US I was shocked by the size of giant jars and bottles and bags, but now I’m so used to the big size… :D

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Efren Lucas June 7, 2014 at 10:24 am

I am a employer at Costco at the current moment in Santa Rosa CalifoRnia. When I reach my 90 day probation period. Maybe wud like to relocate.

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Eva Taylor June 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm

I remember when we first got a Price Club in Toronto, we were amazed at the enormous quantities offered. Now, more than 20 years later it seems normal! I have my Costco list going right now. I still don’t buy a lot there (too much volume for just the two of us) but I do have the staples.
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Barbara @ Barbara Bakes June 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Yeah!!! Costco’s such a great American company. I’m glad you finally have one in your neck of the woods.

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