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COSTCO - A Real Difference Among Stores?

I read here some time ago, and have heard elsewhere, that my local COSTCO (Richmond) pales when put up against other COSTCOs in better neighborhoods. Is this true? If so, where are the "good" COSTCOs in the Bay Area and is it actually worth it to drive 15+ miles to get there? Is their stuff THAT much better?

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  1. I have read that the wine selections can vary quite a bit at COSTCO locations. I don't know about other items. There was a discussion about this on the LA board.

    1. I've noticed a swankier cheese selection in SF than in Richmond, but I haven't paid much attention (think I've been in the SF store a grand total of three times over the length of its existence).

      1. I regularly shop at the Richmond Costco and find it very nice. I'm from So Cal, and I can definitely say the Richmond store is nicer than most So Cal stores. I've never been to a SF store, so I can't comment on that.

        2 Replies
        1. re: chemchef

          Richmond and San Leandro are my usuals. They're both fine w/ me.

          1. re: lexdevil

            Mine, too. Richmond seems the swankier of the two. There's definitely a difference among stores. For example, one item I wanted at Xmas was at the San Mateo store and the Richmond store, but not San Leandro (I asked, they weren't out, they hadn't stocked it at all -- they very nicely did and search and told me which stores had it and how many they had in stock). San Leandro doesn't carry their Kirkland organic kibble (although they do have the "free range, grass fed" bully sticks for dogs).

        2. There seems to be a good deal of localization in each branch. And a lot of it is based on how big each store is, which can vary significantly.

          A couple of years ago there was a good article in the Wall Street Journal about Costco's wine sales. As I recall each store had an individual buyer, so there can be significant differences in each store.

          The lead buyer for the entire chain (I believe) was based in Santa Rosa, and that location is reputed to have the best selection.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Calvinist

            Costco is headquartered in Washington State.

            1. re: Calvinist

              At the time of the WSJ article, David Andrew was wine director and based in WA state. Here are couple links to previous discussions about Costco's wine retailing,
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/41011
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/16773...

            2. San Francisco has a lot of stuff that Richmond doesn't.

              People sometimes report wines in the Vallejo branch that I don't find at either.

              I did find Spanish saffron for $28 an ounce the other day.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I bought one of those mondo jars of saffron as well. Now trying to figure out how to use even half of it. I'll be happy to mail a ziplock baggie full to 'hounds in need.