Fortune 250 sales giant Costco Wholesale has chosen Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. as the site of its next store, it was announced at a press conference in Ringgold on Friday morning.
To be located adjacent to I-75 at Exit 353 on Scruggs Road, near Cloud Springs Road, the wholesaler is expected to generate close to $200 million in sales and provide approximately 200 new jobs to the area.
The development, formerly known as the Hilltop Project, is expected to open for business this August, just in time for back-to-school shoppers, said Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Ronnie Cobb. Joining Mayor Cobb in making the announcement were Georgia State Senator Jeff Mullis and Catoosa County Board of Commissioners Chairman Keith Greene.
With construction due to start by this weekend the site is expected to be construction ready by May 24. Wright Brothers Construction has been awarded the contract to build the full-service store.
Senator Mullis remarked, “This is a great day not only for Catoosa County, but for the entire region of Northwest Georgia. This was truly a team effort.”
According to Mayor Cobb, “We are a gateway city to Georgia, this location is off the first exit in the state off I-75. In the very near future you should see expansion on every corner of that location.” He continued, “We are currently in discussion with other, as of now unnamed, major players.”
Mr. Greene said, “We have a commitment from Costco to hire first from within Catoosa County. With the recent loss of a plant here we lost a net of 231 jobs. This project should net around 200 full and part-time jobs. With Costco a part-time employee of up to 20 hours per week is eligible for full benefits.”
Mayor Cobb said Costco had selected Fort Oglethorpe as a site last June. Asked as to why the secrecy surrounding the project, he responded, “It was simply the existence of a confidentiality agreement that was in place. I probably looked like Pinocchio every time someone asked me a question,” he laughed.
Senator Mullis added, “As you saw earlier, there was not a done deal until just a few moments ago.”
Costco operates an international chain of membership warehouses that carry quality, brand name merchandise, officials said.
According to Jim Senegal, president and CEO, “Costco is able to offer lower prices and better values by eliminating virtually all the frills and costs historically associated with conventional wholesalers and retailers. We run a tight operation with extremely low overhead which enables us to pass on dramatic savings to our members.”
Costco employs 142,000-plus employees worldwide, 90 percent of whom are benefits eligible. Its average hourly wage is $18.63. Currently there are 29.8 million households enrolled as members and 54.5 million individual members. For those who do not qualify as a business member, Costco offers a Gold Star Membership for $50 annually which includes a spouse card.