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First Costco Business Center coming to San Diego

In less than two weeks, San Diego consumers will have another option for shopping: Costco Wholesale Corp. is opening up its first Business Center warehouse in the county.

The Issaquah, Wash.-based publicly traded company will open the doors to its eighth Costco Business Center in the United States on Sept. 15, which will be located on off Othello Avenue in the Kearny Mesa area.

The business center will offer more business-oriented products than the regular Costco warehouses, according to Phil Lind, vice president of Costco Business Centers, with specialized items for food service, office and convenience stores.

"Our Business Centers cater to businesses by offering products for their specific needs," Lind said. "We carry more than 4,000 diverse items in our warehouse including vending products, convenience store items, restaurant and institutional foods, hospitality products and office necessities such as office supplies, office furniture, janitorial and break room supplies."

Lind added that more than 70 percent of business center items are not carried at any regular Costco or other warehouse stores.

Some of the items the business center will carry in common with the standard Costco are refrigerated, frozen and bakery items; fresh meat and produce; and a wider assortment of candy, snacks and beverages. There will also be a food court.

The layout of the San Diego business center will be similar to standard Costco (Nasdaq: COST) warehouses, but will open much earlier.

This location will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be closed Sundays.

All Costco members will be allowed to shop here, regardless of whether they own a business or not.

The business center will also offer next-business-day delivery to most businesses within the San Diego area on orders placed by 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

There is no minimum order requirement for delivery, but a $20 delivery surcharge is added to orders under $250.

To celebrate the opening, Costco will hold a two-day expo Sept. 15 and 16, which will have specials on hundreds of items.

The business center is located inside the old Home Depot Expo, which went out of business at the beginning of 2009. Costco has renovated the building, with the hiring of Seattle-based Ferguson Construction.

"We look forward to providing all San Diego-area Costco Business Members a one-stop shopping experience at our Costco Business Center," said Robert Clark, San Diego Costco Business Center warehouse manager.

The first Costco Business Center opened in 1996. Now there are centers in Lynnwood, Wash.; Fife, Wash.; Hayward, Calif.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz. Commerce, Calif. and Hawthorne, Calif.

Costco currently operates 572 warehouses including 416 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico; 79 in Canada; 32 in Mexico; 22 in the United Kingdom; nine in Japan; seven in Korea, six in Taiwan and one in Australia.

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