Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This Costco is bigger and brighter -- but I still can't find anything

The new Costco Wholesale in Wayne sells alcohol, including Kirkland Signature wines, unlike the unaffiliated liquor store at the Hackensack warehouse, where I have shopped for years. These boxes hold three 750-milliliter bottles of Dom Perignon Champagne from France and a bonus ice bucket for a bracing $435.99, below.


The new Costco Wholesale in Wayne -- across the road from the old one -- has been open for nearly two months.

But when I shopped there the other day, I found members wandering around just like me, and asking each other for help to find wine, food and other items.

After I finished an errand in Clifton, less than 5 miles away, I used my car's navigation system, which took me past the old store in the Willowbrook Mall.

The new store, in the adjacent Wayne Towne Center mall, was built on the site of a Fortunoff that closed years ago and was demolished.

The exterior color scheme of the new store -- shades of brown and gray -- is a departure from the nearly all-white Costco in Hackensack.

The new Wayne store is supposed to have a gas station, but I didn't see it, just a large parking lot packed with cars and a relatively small entrance.

I imagine the new Wayne Costco is a preview of what loyal Hackensack customers can expect when a bigger Costco opens three miles away in Teterboro --now scheduled for November 2015 -- and the Hackensack warehouse closes.

The Teterboro store will have a gas station, but I haven't seen any word on whether it will carry Kirkland Signature wines.

These farmed Black Tiger Shrimp from Indonesia are eight to the pound, a size I haven't seen in my Hackensack Costco, where I have bought farmed shrimp for years. But now I only buy wild-caught Gulf Shrimp from Mexico or the United States.

Fresh-water lobster tails are previously frozen, as are cooked lobsters, king crab and other shellfish I saw at the Wayne Costco on Monday. I have tried previously frozen Dungeness Crabs from Costco and haven't liked them, but the king crab legs remain juicy after a little steaming.

The only reason for me to shop at the Wayne Costco is the large selection of wine, above and below, including inexpensive bottles of Kirkland Signature California Cabernet ($7.99 for 1.5 liters) and Prosecco from Italy ($6.99).

An unusual 3-liter bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut, a dry champagne from France known for its yellow label, was $299.99, left.

Treasure hunt

What isn't new at the bigger and brighter Wayne Costco is the "treasure hunt" members must embark on in trying to find items they have purchased before.

It's well-known Costco employees move items around, and place new items on the ends of aisles to attract shoppers' attention.

I had a list with me on Monday, but in searching for what I needed, I came across several items that I bought impulsively:

  • Kirkland Signature Coconut Juice in 11.1-ounce containers -- with nothing added -- for $9.89, a few dollars less that the Vita brand next to it on the shelf.

  • A 30-ounce tin of Starbucks Hot Cocoa powder ($9.99), which makes 42 cups, if you follow the recommended two heaping tablespoons of powder per cup of milk (that seems excessive).

  • Organic Dates from Made in Nature ($8.79), and canned wild Alaskan Pink Salmon (six 6-ounce cans for $12.99).

  • Kirkland Signature Prosecco, a sparkling wine from Italy, for $6.99, displayed just inside the entrance, far from the main wine section.

Among items on my list, two 16-ounce jars of Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard were only $5.49 ($6.99 with a $1.50 instant coupon), and a 1-pound package of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix was $4.89.

I also found 1.5-liter bottles of Kirkland Signature's wonderful California Cabernet for the equivalent of only $4 per bottle, but couldn't find the store brand of the French champagne I enjoyed last year.

This Ninja food blender and food processor at the new Wayne Costco is rated at 1.5 horsepower, compared to a 2-horsepower system I saw in a Target ad for the same $149.99. My wife couldn't find this item at the Hackensack Costco.

The food counter and number of tables in the new Wayne Costco are about the same as those in the old Wayne store and in the Hackensack Costco. One difference between Wayne and Hackensack is that the tire counter is inside the main store, but members with returns must enter through the exit, forcing them to swim against the tide of members leaving with their purchases.

Costco Wholesale, 149 Route 23, Wayne; 1-973-339-4006. Liquor department, gas station.

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