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Published October 23 2012

VIDEO: Costco opens first ND store in West Fargo

WEST FARGO – Steve Grant usually has to drive to Maple Grove, Minn., to reach the nearest Costco store. The Garfield, Minn., resident discovered Tuesday morning that the new store in West Fargo is closer – by four miles.

Grant, who retired from the military last year and normally doesn’t shop in the Fargo area, was the first shopper through the doors Tuesday as Costco officially opened its West Fargo warehouse store at 750 23rd Ave. E.

He parked his pickup in the handicapped spot closest to the front door and whipped out a shopping list a mile long.

“I’m going to fill up probably five or six carts. My truck is empty for a reason,” he said with his companion dog, a golden Labrador retriever named Champ, at his side.

Shortly before 8 a.m., West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern and store manager Angela Bauer cut a blue ribbon to mark the store’s official opening.

Mattern welcomed the company to West Fargo – and to North Dakota, as this is Costco’s first store in the state. He remarked about how many people had approached him to talk about Costco, saying, “Never has a store … created so much buzz.”

“This is a great day for not only West Fargo but also the entire metro region,” Mattern said.

Bauer said the company looks forward to “a very long, healthy relationship” with the community.

More than 3,000 people attended the store’s VIP Day from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Bauer said, and similar traffic was expected Tuesday.

VIP Day attendees weren’t able to buy things, but about 400 people signed up for a store membership, which is required to make purchases, said Alice Krantz, membership and marketing coordinator.

Lines at the membership tables remained full well past noon Tuesday.

“It’s going to be a very exciting time,” Krantz said.

For Fargo resident Mary Madrigal, the way Costco treats its employees is one of the main reasons she was excited about the new store.

Madrigal said she is a regular shopper at Costco in the Twin Cities and Chicago areas because she feels the company runs on ethical practices good for the communities they are in.

“We’ve been waiting forever for this,” Madrigal said.

Gwen Bergh, of Havana, N.D., was also patiently waiting for state’s first Costco store to open on Tuesday. Although West Fargo is nearly a 100-mile drive for Bergh, she is often in Fargo for doctor appointments.

Bergh was able to enjoy some of the many samples stationed throughout the store Tuesday.

“My goodness, you hardly needed any lunch after you get through there today, they had so many samples,” Bergh said.

Grant’s only disappointment was that the price of gasoline was about 15 cents higher at the Costco gas station than in Alexandria. He’d brought a half-dozen gas cans and purposely didn’t fill up his pickup before the trip.

But it didn’t dampen his enthusiasm.

“I like testing the water, seeing what it’s like here,” he said.

If you go

What: Costco

When: Store hours are: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. The Costco gas station will open every day at 6 am.

Where: 750 23rd Ave. E, West Fargo

Info: Memberships are required to shop at Costco

Readers can reach Forum reporters Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

Forum reporter Wendy Reuer contributed to this report