Lines. Lines. Lines.
The new Costco Wholesale Corporation store opened for regular business Thursday morning with lines of cars in both directions on South Bradley Road, lines of customers at the outdoor food court and lines of shoppers inside.
Costco first came to Santa Maria in November of 1988. Officials said the decision to open at a new location was an easy one as it had outgrown its former location, about a mile south of the new Enos Ranch development store.
The new store is 18-percent larger, at 156,000 square feet, compared to the original 132,000 square feet.
“In addition to exciting new and expanded services, the relocation of the Santa Maria facility will provide our members with an extensive product selection in numerous categories, including fine wine, apparel and electronics,” said manager Jim Blount.
The new location features expanded meat and deli departments, a photo center and an optical department with an independent doctor of optometry, Blount added. There's also the outdoor food court, a hearing aid center, produce section, bakery and pharmacy, along with a tire center.
The new store has 350 employees compared to the 270 at the former store.
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Costco is currently working to decommission its original Santa Maria store. City leaders said they are working to find a new tenant for the building.
“The city and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Commission are actively trying to help find a new occupant for the old Costco space,” said Mark van de Kamp, city spokesman.
Costco, one of 125 stores in California, is the first business to open in the Enos Ranch mixed-use development.
Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant opened Monday, and will be followed by Lowe's Home Improvement next month.
When complete, the Enos Ranch development will include new car dealerships, restaurants, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Old Navy.
“We are really pleased at how it has all come together. We still got plenty of work ahead of us,” said Nick Tompkins, Enos Ranch developer.
Construction on the project began last year with the relocation of the old Enos family ranch house from its perch near Highway 101 and Betteravia Road to its new home across the property near College Drive. The project is expected to be complete by early next year.
The old farmhouse will be the centerpiece of a new city park which will be next to a more than 300-unit apartment complex.
Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.