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Mar 28, 2012 08:21 PM

Costco for Restaurant Supplies [split from Chains]

( Since this discussion was focused on Seattle area Restaurant Supply options, we moved it to the Seattle board from the Chains board, at: -- The Chowhound Team )

>>> I LOVE their new commercial restaurant section but realize not that many Costco's offer this specialty department.<<<

Can you tell us again which Costco you go to that has this commercial restaurant section? Other than the Business Centers I've never seen this. No mention of it on the website either.

EDIT: Just read your post on another Costco thread and it does appear you mean the Business Center, I assume in Fife (WA). I go to the Lynnwood (WA) one all the time.

These are special stores, not regular Costcos, even though they are open to all Costco members. There are a total of about eight or ten of them, all basically on the West Coast, and the company is not planning on adding any more at the present time. So I don't believe they are adding any new departments to regular Costcos.

Here's a list of Business Center Locations:

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  1. Tukwila Costco. Hope you check it out AND provide your feedback.

    19 Replies
    1. re: shasta21

      Well, I'll be damned. I'm going there tomorrow to check it out.

      1. re: acgold7

        GREAT! Be sure to check out the various sizes of "beyond reasonably-priced" stock pots. I use the 20 quart all the time for making stocks/broths and doing live crabs.

        I can't help but notice how dead the Tukwila 'Cash & Carry' (restaurant supply) is since Costco opened their own with far better prices! Love the extended hours that comes with it.

        1. re: shasta21

          Will do. I'm guessing they have a subset of the same restaurant supply merch they have at the Business centers, but it will be interesting to see how they integrate this into a regular store.

          1. re: acgold7

            i need to shop for some pans to fit glasstop stove. carbon steel?interested if the business center has good choices or should i go to tukwilla. i usually only go that way for the airport.
            incidentally have you been to the 2 year old filapino shopping centered around seafood city?

            1. re: divadmas

              I would imagine that the Business Center will have a much, much bigger selection than a section in a regular store. I'll report back after my visit to Tukwila tomorrow.

              Carbon Steel will rust. Restaurants use aluminum, and so do I.

              I'm sure I should know what and where Seafood City is, but embarrassingly, I don't.

              1. re: acgold7

                looking forward to your report.
                my memory is bad now, i worry about aluminum.
                i once melted aluminum off a steel clad pan on a gas stove. that was scary.
                google seafood city. i think it is in the southcenter mall east of 1-5 opposite where you head west for seatac airport. on the back side of mall, not real big but has all things filapino - fish market, chicken feet, produce, bakery, fast food, funny colored drinks. near the new indoor skydiving outfit. that looks fun.

                1. re: divadmas

                  Sounds like a great place to stop for lunch on the way down.... or back... or both.

                  1. re: divadmas

                    Okay, so just got back from the Tukwila store (pronounced, in that silly illogical Seattle way, as "Tuck Willa"), and there's both good news and bad news.

                    The good news is that Shasta is absolutely right: this is a regular warehouse with a complete Restaurant Supplies section, almost as if they dropped a Business Center into a regular store.

                    The bad news is that it is the only one, or at least is the only one for now.

                    This store is enormous -- at least twice and possibly three times the size of a regular warehouse. It's been open for close to 30 years now but the clerks there told me they just "opened up the back" and "put in the restaurant section" last November because they had "all this extra space." They said they have always had a wider array of goods than a typical store because they were so much bigger. While it does not appear to have quite the selection of a business center, it sure comes close.

                    It's a little hard to navigate because it isn't laid out like a regular Costco -- blowing out the back wall to make room for the restaurant stuff and to add the extra cooler rooms makes it look a bit like a puzzle, and much of the restaurant stuff is co-mingled with the consumer stuff you'd find at any Costco.

                    There's a wide array of cookware and gadgets available, and looks to be mostly the same inventory as the Business Center. Most cookware is aluminum, regular and nonstick, for restaurant use, but they have some stainless as well.

                    Meats are interesting: while regular stores have mostly Choice and some Prime, and Business Centers have mostly Choice and some Select, this one has all three grades.

                    The place was a jam-packed madhouse, and of course only half the checkstands were manned, leading to an interminable wait for checkout.

                    So while this is clearly way better than your average Costco and is the best of both worlds, I'm a little puzzled as to why they would do this less than 20 minutes away from an actual Business Center. It's great to go to if you don't have a Business Center nearby, but in this case, you do.

                    I'm still doing a little more digging on this, but from what I was able to get them to tell me, there are no plans for any more of these, because the existing stores just aren't big enough. But -- and this is just me guessing here -- I suppose they might consider doing this for new construction in the future if the space could be had cheaply enough and this proves to be a success.

                    A thought just occurred to me -- I wonder if this location used to be a depot or distribution center, given its huge size and the fact that the main entrance doesn't face the access road at all -- the loading docks do. When you go to the end of "Costco Drive" you see the gas station at the end of the road on the right, and then behind that, on the same lot, is a Home Depot. The huge unmarked building on your left is the actual Costco, and unless you knew that you'd not know to circle around it to get to the main entrance and parking lot. There's no signage anywhere.

                    I've asked the Mods to split this off into a separate thread, either here (because Costco is a chain) or in the Seattle Board (because it's just one location, only in that area).

                    1. re: acgold7

                      Very much enjoyed reading your in-depth review of the Tukwila, WA Costco.

                      I guess they don't feel any signs are needed because 'you just follow the traffic that automatically flows into their parking lot'. lol

                      But, here's a little secret: after the first 'wave' of customers leave, there will likely be a spot in the FIRST ROW (just a few feet from the front doors) just waiting for the second wave of customers. ....every two hours after opening?

                      I am so enamored to the Tukwila Costco, that I am not that familiar with what other Seattle area Costco's have to offer. Actually, the only Costco's I have visited are:
                      Federal Way, Seattle, Issaquah and two stores down in Portland, OR.

                      I always enjoy Rella's mention of the stores in Virginia and what folks back there consider worthy of their $$$$. If I remember right, Rella is from our area and is familiar with these stores?

                      With your mention of the Business Center Costco's, I will have to research WHICH Costco's are considered "Business Centers". You have me curious!

                      You mentioned about using another thread because of this being a 'local issue/interest. Not sure how this works. If I don't see my post, I will know why. lol

                      Not thinking about it in time (your visit today), I wanted to suggest checking out the ONE AND ONLY "VITA MIXER". Sometimes, there are demos. Having a Vita Mixer for over 20 years and loving and using it almost daily, - at Costco you can save around $150.00!!! If anyone does smoothies, soups and everything else from chopping to making ice cream, this is the machine you might want to check out. It's certainly worth the investment. IMO

                      I also hope Costco decides to carry the LARGE (130 L) Co2 tanks for their Soda Stream beverage makers. (I think these may be specific sized units made for Costco.) So, why not stock the replacement tanks??? ANYONE WHO ALSO OWNS ONE OF THESE UNITS, - PLEASE CONSIDER PUTTING IN A REQUEST FOR THIS ITEM ON YOUR NEXT COSTCO VISIT?) Otherwise, there are only TWO retailers who stock this replacement (130 L Co2 tank) in WESTERN WA. (downtown Seattle Uwajimaya, or West Seattle - Ace Hardware). That said, I thoroughly enjoy making my own "controlled carbonated" beverages. It would also be nice to be able to purchase, from Costco, the syrups for this beverage unit. But, Bed Bath & Beyond isn't a bad place to shop for "all things Soda Stream" - except they only carry the smaller unit and replacement tanks.

                      1. re: shasta21

                        >>>With your mention of the Business Center Costco's, I will have to research WHICH Costco's are considered "Business Centers". You have me curious!<<<

                        I posted a link above in my first reply in this subthread that shows the eight Business Centers Costco has. There are two in WA -- Lynnwood and Fife. There are four in CA and one each in Vegas and Phoenix.

                        1. re: acgold7

                          Thanks! Next time I'm either north or south, I'll check the Business Centers out.

                          However, since I received my one and only red-light camera ticket in FIFE, I avoid doing any business in Fife; even though I won my case. (Front tires were over the front white lines at the stop sign.)

                          Have you (or anyone else) heard when Costco starts selling liquor (June 1st), if all Costco's will carry the SAME liquors/brands, OR if some stores will have a better selection?

                        2. re: shasta21

                          Costco carries Vita Mix? I've been shopping around for one and this is a great reason to head to one with a business center.

                          1. re: Lauren

                            They've been demoing the VitaMix at our local regular Costco (Woodinville) nearly continuously for the past couple of years.

                            I don't know if the Business Centers have them. They have them online:


                            1. re: Lauren

                              I can't guarantee that Costco Business Centers carry the Vita Mixer; but, the Tukwila, WA store that has the commercial restaurant supply section definitely carries this mixer. Worth the trip.

                          2. re: acgold7

                            And just to put a period on this one, my contact at Corporate says they have no plans to do any more stores like this, and confirms they were just trying to find a way to use up that extra space at Tukwila.

                            1. re: acgold7

                              Interesting. Nice that you do such great research! Here I was thinking that, at least, a few other stores had this same feature; yet, so many people didn't know what I was talking about. lol Now, I feel even more fortunate to live near this Tukwila Costco. Not only that, but "Direct Discount Liquidators" stocks a lot of Kirkland brand and other Costco returned and discontinued merchandise. This is within a couple of miles from this Costco. I found a huge restaurant serving tray for $11.00. I had already bought the stand ($19.00?) from the store. Since this is an ultra light-weight, but sturdy unit, it's great to have around to use on a temporary basis. (Think summer time BBQ side table)

                              1. re: shasta21

                                "Direct Discount Liquidators" ? Oh, man, now I have to drive down to Tukwila again....

                                For the record, I think it's actually called Discount Direct:


                                1. re: acgold7

                                  After I said, "Direct Discount", I wondered if I got that right. Should have researched it before I replied. Give me a 50/50 shot and I'll blow it every time. Should have turned "right", turned "left". lol

                                  Anyway, know you do your research and therefore you probably checked for a Discount Direct up your way? After "Stupid Prices", aka "Smart Buys" went out of business, it seemed to take forever to find another liquidator that took on Costco merchandise. They had been open about 10 months before I discovered them. Now, I'm hooked. (However, I do stay away from their food items. They look nasty; old or near expiration date OR expired.

                                  1. re: shasta21

                                    The site I linked to above just lists the Tukwila location, so it may be a one-off.