Costco has built a following in the Twin Cities by letting its member/shoppers browse its warehouse stores for bargains.
Now it's ready to open a store where businesses do the browsing.
The Business Journal says real estate filings show Costco spent $8.3 million to buy a northeast Minneapolis warehouse that will become the company's first Business Center in Minnesota.
Costco already has eight Minnesota stores and another on the way (in Woodbury).
How does a Business Center differ from other Costcos?
The company offers a detailed comparison here, but the short answer is: Business Centers sell businesses the supplies and equipment they need – and sometimes even the products they'll sell.
The Star Tribune says Costco's Business Centers specialize in serving offices, food service, and convenience stores.
Kevin Reich, the Minneapolis city council member whose district includes the warehouse Costco just bought, tells the newspaper all the necessary zoning and regulatory hurdles have already been cleared and the Business Center could open within 18 months, creating a "couple hundred" new jobs.
Sources tell the Business Journal Costco has been searching for a store in that part of the metro area for years and expects will draw customers from St. Paul, St. Anthony, and Roseville, as well as Minneapolis.
Chips, deep fat fryers, halal meat
With Tuesday's opening of a Business Center in Hackensack, New Jersey, Costco now has 13 of them around the country.
The Bergen County Record estimated the opening day shoppers in Hackensack were evenly split between homeowners and business owners.
The owner of a Staten Island convenience store told the Record the selection of chips, snacks, and beverages he found there was wider than at a traditional Costco.
Fatina Habehh told the paper she was impressed with the supply of halal meats in quantities big enough to serve restaurant crowds. She was buying an entire frozen lamb for $112, something she says is also not available at a regular Costco.