The first Costco Wholesale in Louisiana opens this weekend, and the surprising thing is where it's located.
It's been generations since New Orleans has been a draw for shoppers in other parts of the metro, but the Costco opening on Carrollton this weekend seems to have changed a trend.
"It used to be that everybody came into the city to shop, on Canal St., and then of course a lot of that went away. But the pendulum has swung and it's coming back again. I think this is very good for the City of New Orleans," says UNO economist Dr. Dub Lane.
After years of malls and big box retailers opening in the suburbs, the sales tax dollars are again flowing in the city, he says, as along with chain restaurants moving into New Orleans, city dwellers don't have to drive out of the city nearly as much any more.
Lane says the Walmart opening in the Lower Garden District before Katrina was really the beginning of this trend. "The difference here is we only have one Costco in town, so Jefferson Parish people actually will have to come here (to New Orleans).
"I think it's a change in the culture. We see more and more people moving back into the city. Think of the Rouse's (grocery store, the first in the city in 50 years) down in the CBD. It's really changed that area, tremendously."
Costco says they will open its first membership warehouse in New Orleans on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 a.m. The 148,500-square-foot warehouse is located at 3900 Dublin St., at the northwest corner of Interstate 10 and South Carrollton Avenue (the former Carrollton Shopping Center), across from Xavier University.
"Costco is very excited to be a part of the rebuilding of New Orleans," said Warehouse Manager Pete Carter. "The enthusiasm and excitement we have received from the community has been amazing. Costco looks forward to bringing great customer service and quality products to Louisiana."
This new Costco location will feature a variety of convenient specialty departments, including a Gas Station, Optical Department with Independent Doctor of Optometry, 1-Hour Photo, Pharmacy, Tire Center, Hearing Aid Center, Food Court, and Fine Wine and Liquor, plus Costco Services such as Travel and Auto Buying.