Costco Opens at South Dakota and New York Ave, NE Today

2441 Market St NE

At long last DC’s first Costco opened today at 2441 Market St, NE (at the intersection of New York and South Dakota Ave, NE):

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From a press release:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray, other District government leaders, retailer Costco Wholesale and development-team partners today celebrated the grand opening of a new 154,000-square-foot membership warehouse at 2441 Market Street NE in The Shops at Dakota Crossing. Located in one of the District’s gateway communities, Fort Lincoln New Town, the highly anticipated retail anchor brings a variety of convenient specialty departments to its newest area store, located near the intersection of New York and South Dakota Avenues NE in Ward 5.

“Costco Wholesale’s opening in The Shops at Dakota Crossing today signals a huge milestone for retail in the District,” said Mayor Gray. “Having the big-box retailer call the District home as this shopping center’s anchor tenant means that many more District residents can partake in its discount shopping options here, thereby slowing retail leakage and keeping tax dollars in our jurisdiction – two critical elements of my administration’s economic-development strategy.”

The local Costco warehouse will offer quality name-brand and private-label merchandise, and it will feature a fresh bakery, fresh meat, fresh produce, a fresh deli with rotisserie chicken, an optical department with an independent doctor of optometry, a 1-hour photo, a pharmacy, a tire center, hearing aid center, a food court, and fine wines and liquors. This first Costco Wholesale warehouse in the District of Columbia will be the company’s 448th in the United States and Puerto Rico and the 619th worldwide.

The Shops at Dakota Crossing is located just inside the District line off South Dakota Avenue NE and a short distance from heavily traveled Route 50 and D.C. 295/Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Situated on a 44-acre site, Costco Wholesale is the first retail tenant to open for business at The Shops at Dakota Crossing, which broke ground in February of this year. Including the anchor tenant, the center will house 430,000 square feet of retail space and 2,000 parking spaces. Additionally, the project will create 1,200 new jobs (permanent and construction) in the District and generate $634 million in tax revenues for the District over the next 30 years.

Right now I’m in a split household – I want to join but my wife doesn’t think it’s worth the membership. Anyone think they will join? Is the $55 annual membership worth it? Anyone know how the prices compare to Target? For those who are members – what do you usually get there?

113 Comment

  • I anticipate this store being a complete cluster akin to the Columbia Heights Target.

    A small part of me wants to join, but I’m waiting 6 months to see how it shakes out.

  • I think Costco is brilliant. If you have cause to buy in bulk, you can save the $55 in one visit. The quantity in which they sell most things can be impractical for a city dweller with a small space. And transporting without a car is near impossible.

    • How? We had a Costco membership for a year, but it was a struggle to find anything that was cheaper to buy in bulk than to buy in normal-sized portions at Harris Teeter. The two-pack of Greek yogurt was a deal, as were the huge jars of Maranatha almond butter (which I made sure to stock up on before out membership expired), but that’s really it. And only the yuppie VA locations carry the almond butter. I’m not even sure the amount we saved from these purchases exceeded the cost of the membership. So I’m skeptical that people are saving as much as they think they are.

  • I doubt this will be anything like DCUSA, for a very important reason. They could not have picked a more Metrorail-inaccessible site anywhere in DC. It’s ashame, I was looking forward to this, but there’s no way to get there if you don’t have a car.

  • It’s worth it, but only for certain things. Paper towels, toilet paper, and a number of other non-perishables can be purchased in bulk quantities for deep discounts that easily make up the cost of membership. Plus, the convenience factor of only having to buy those things a few times a year is nice.

    If you’re living in a small apartment where storage space is at a premium, however, then you can’t really purchase items like that in bulk. And it certainly is not worth purchasing some perishables, unless you go through tomatoes really quickly.

  • Allison

    I just go to gawk. They sell pudding in paint cans, people. PAINT CANS!

  • You get 2 cards, you can share the fee with you friend.

  • We used to go to the Costco at Pentagon City but canceled our membership when the Columbia Heights Target opened. Costco is probably cheaper, but we have no room to store bulk products. And, Target is pretty reasonable. Add to that the convenience of Target, which is one block from us, and we just stopped making the trek to Costco. I doubt that this new Costco, at the far edge of DC, changes our calculus much.

  • They should’ve added liquor. All of these massive chains have the ability to add liquor to one of their stores.

  • Costco is great – and they compensate their employees better than any big box retailer.
    Great for families larger than 4 – but for a single person or couple – a bit much.
    Also – their prices on wine are great!

    • I don’t shop at Costco because I don’t have a car and I live in a studio apartment with limited storage space. But I work with workforce development issues and the tangential community of job-quality advocates, and you’re right that Costco is one of the better big-box retailers out there, for those who want their shopping dollars to support more responsible corporations. Not only does Costco offer better wages, they also invest far more time and money in their employee training/development and have much better employee retention than the industry standard. (Sadly, too many large retailers take a “churn and burn” approach, meaning they pay and train their employees as little as possible and don’t give a crap if their employees quit after a short time because they prefer to just keep bringing in new people at new-employee wages.) The Costco example is actually a great rebuttal to the tired old mega-retail industry argument that it’s absolutely impossible to offer better wages/benefits to employees AND keep prices low for consumers. (And yes, unfortunately, even the more beloved-Target is basically the same as Walmart when it comes to employee wages and benefits–Walmart just gets dinged more often because they’re ginormous and therefore have a much greater impact on their entire supply chain and the overall economy.)

  • If you know someone with a Costco membership pay them for a gift card. You can use a gift card even if you don’t have a membership to check it out. I personally LOVE COSTCO. Go to the one in Pentagon City pretty often to get home staples.

  • For single people living in studios or 1br apts, it really isn’t worth it. One, a single person doesn’t go through enough “stuff” to warrant it, and to be honest, you generally don’t have enough storage room as everything you buy there is in bulk. I used to be a bachelor living in a 1 br apt and believe me, storing 30 rolls of toilet paper or a package of 10 boxes of pasta is tricky.

    If there are two of you, and you have the space, you would probably save the $55 bucks in one or two visits. If you have kids, or entertain a lot , you save even more. Their wine and beer prices are generally unbeaten anywhere.

    Their meat selection is easily Whole Foods quality (if not generally better) for half the cost.

    I am married and have a kid now and (to my chagrin) end up entertaining a lot, throwing dinner parties and such, and we easily save thousands a year by shopping at Costco.

    It is a no-brainer and I am glad I don’t have to spend my Costco dollars in VA anymore.

    And to anony’s point, I doubt it will be a cluster in the way Target in Columbia Heights is…as small as it sounds, charging $55 a person keeps an amazing amount of the “riff-raff” out.

    • Yeah, they have really good quality meat, cheese, etc. I have a friend who competes in national barbecue competitions and he buys ribs there.

    • “Riff-raff”…really? Is it so terrible being forced to shop side by side with people who can’t afford a $55 membership fee? (Or who choose not to because they prefer to browse or maybe just buy something small here and there instead of in bulk?). I don’t think anyone would argue that the DCUSA Target is a beacon of calm and serenity, but judging from some of the comments here, neither is the existing Costco in Pentagon City.

    • Unless you are a prepper.

  • I shop at the Costco in Pentagon City. I find that for things like toilet paper and paper towels, Costco’s prices are higher than when those things go on sale at Target or a grocery store. I do buy a lot of vegetables there, and it’s my go-to place for beer/wine. It’s great if you like to entertain – they have a decent cheese selection and prices are much cheaper than the grocery store. Definitely split the membership with a friend – you may have to tell a little white lie to do so.

  • T

    Confession: We are huge Costco dorks and drove by last night just to “scope it out” before opening day — we will be heading over there tonight. The parking lot is HUUUGE.

    A few notes on Costco:
    1. We don’t always save money
    2. Generic (Kirkland) brand is seriously high quality – better than many name brands
    3. They sell quality meat (i.e., choice and prime cut steak) for the price of “select” grade at the grocery store (downside: you have to buy packs of 4 steaks) (Upside: I get to eat more steak).
    4. Some Costcos sell Ahi tuna (yummm…) – the one in Woodbridge does, for example
    5. Paper products – toilet paper and paper towels especially
    6. Organic milk and eggs at great prices and great quality
    7. Often they have great deals on electronics
    8. Mmmmm hot dogs from the food court.
    9. It’s just fun to walk around and sample everything.

    Costco at Pentagon City is a crowded nightmare. We have high hopes for this one in DC — I really hope they can manage the inevitable crowd!

    • anon. gardener

      All this. Although really the only reason you need for buying a membership is the cheese danish. Seriously.

      I will add high quality shampoo and conditioner to the list, and things like Allegra/claritin/prilosec/advil etc etc for mad cheap prices. Gorgeous flower bouquets. Excellent coffee – the Kirkland brand is roasted by Starbucks, and they have Mayorga too. great deals on men’s shirts, ties and pants for work. The Pentagon City Costco is a total cluster, and I usually prefer to go to the one in Greenbelt. Hopefully this will be our new go-to place.

      Plus, get the exec membership and the amex card if you can. you get back a percentage of your purchases – at a minimum it will pay for your subsequent membership fee. we put everthing we can on the card, and get a nice fat check once or twice a year.

    • Totally agree with all of your points, especially point 3. The meat selection is awesome. Not only is the tuna great, but most of their seafood, both frozen and fresh, are great deals.

      Yes, Target sales are great to stock up on your favorite paper products, but Costco kills in value of quality meat.

    • I have never been to Costco, but the wife and I are going to join now. Consumer Reports loves Costco, and that’s enough evidence for me.

    • I used to think the Pentagon City Costco was a nightmare. Then I went to the one in Springfield. SO MUCH WORSE.

  • We have a smaller house with limited storage space, but we love Costco. There are some products where the deals cannot be beat, especially for the quality of the product you receive. We use our membership to buy toilet paper, paper towels, olive oil, meats (very high quality at a good price), wine, cheeses, soda, mouthwash, shampoo, soap, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, coffee, batteries, and a number of other items. Recently, I bought a laptop through their website. They have great return policies; they doubled the manufacturer’s warranty (for free); and they have their own helpline that contacted the laptop’s manufacturer for me when I did not receive the correct software. There are so many other services and products they offer too that we have not yet taken advantage of, but plan too– eyeglasses, tires, etc. Even if you only go a few times a year, you will save more than the cost of the $55 membership. I know I sound like I work for Costco. I don’t, but I would! That’s the other great thing about the company — they treat their workers very well in terms of wages, benefits, and respect for employees. Far better than Target and Walmart. I can’t wait to check out the new DC store!

    • Oops. I posted this above comment a few times because I didn’t think it went through. Sorry, POP! Anyway, I forgot to add that you also get the Costco Connection Magazine each month, which is surprisingly well-done and interesting.

  • I love Costco and am super excited for the DC one so I can avoid the cluster at the Pentagon City parking lot. They have a very good wine selection and it’s one of the few things you don’t have to buy in bulk there. I love the bakery and meat department (granted you need to freeze 90% of the stuff for later use, but it’s always good). Also have great deals on clothes, electronics, etc. It’s a wonderful store.

  • Costco membership is worth it for certain items. We found this especially true if you have a child. Diapers, wipes, formula, milk, cheese sticks, etc. Even better if you get the mailer with the coupons for items you need. As others mention you have to buy in bulk and finding space can be a challenge.

  • FYI, here is an interesting article on Costco, which treats its employees much better than most chain retailers.

  • The $55/year is worth gaining the access to the meats given how hard it is to find a decent cut of steak at local groceries… Everything is thin cut at CH giant and GA Ave Safeway, which may serve more, but defeats the purpose of getting some of the cuts. Who wants a thin cut porterhouse?

  • Hopefully this takes some of the pressure off the Pentagon City location, which is still way closer for many people in NW DC.

    • yeah, what a terrible location. who the hell lives around there and why would they pick such an inaccessible place. I’m certain that for most people who live in NWDC the pentagon city Costco would be faster and easier to reach by car (not to mention metro if you just have to buy a few items). Also assuming it’s even slightly more convenient for you to get to because you live in NEDC, why pay 5% more in sales tax on your large purchases.

      • Considering the location, it’s probably going to see far more customers from Maryland than from DC. Which is good, because DC gets their tax dollars.

      • Pentagon City Costco is rumored to be closing. It’s a small store for the company and is limited in its current location. Also sits on extremely valuable land.

        • T

          Interesting. i would think it’s a cash cow.

          Also, word is there will also be a new Costco opening up in Wheaton next year.

          • It’s looking close to being completed. Being in Montgomery County though, I don’t think it will be allowed to have any kind of alcohol at all, which is a total bummer. Will be interesting to see the 30 packs of paper towels on the Metro though…

        • I’d be surprised if that location closed without at least trying to relocate nearby. It was at one time the busiest Costco in the country.

      • DC Sales Tax=6%
        VA Sales Tax=5%

        DC Food Tax=0%
        VA Food Tax=2.5%

        You pay 1% more for goods, but 2.5% less for food. Certainly cheaper tax-wise than the Pentagon City location.

  • I am a single person living in an condo with decent, but not a crazy amount of storage space, but I still love Costco. I joined this year because I hosted a couple of events and I saved more than the $55 membership fee on the food alone. Eg, a big sheet cake for $18; giant fruit bowl for $5. The quality overall is really good.

    Price wise for day to day goods, you can do better at Target, CVS, or regular supermarkets if you are the type of person to compare prices and keep on top of sales. But some of the better Costco deals aren’t even on the food (especially if you have a small household that doesn’t go through a gallon of ketchup), but things like tires, eyeglasses, appliances.

    This is actually a couple of miles farther for me than the Pentagon City Costco, but the parking lot at PC is such a mess that I might switch to this one, and keep my dollars in DC. It is just fun to walk around the aisles and see what’s there, because it changes a lot. But I’m just a Costco nerd. I’m checking this out next week.

    • I do love my Costco. While I think that I may end up spending more on some things, I definitely get a price break on things like hummus, yogurt, razor blades, OTC medicine, batteries, cheese, detergent, meat, bottled drinks, nonperishable staples and produce. They usually have some great combination deal going on that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. And much as the eventual cost at checkout pains me, to me it is worthwhile to pay for it all in one shot and be done shopping for the next 6 months vs. saving a little money, but having to run out again and again for the things I need.

  • I’m not sure that anyone has mentioned this but if you drink Naked smoothies or the Bolthouse farm stuff, COSTCO is the way to go. They are much cheaper than anyone else. We also get meat and cheese there.

  • I have a big house with a big basement. buying in bulk from costco probably saves us a few hundred a year. We have a lot of people that visit overnight and host family and friends and larger get togethers on a regular basis. Anything non perishable is an excellent buy. Getting cleaning supplies is a smart move because you’ll use it eventually and the grocery store/cvs/target markup on that stuff is outrageous. I find the meat to taste great and I freeze a ton of it. Also, individually wrapped things like granola bars and even some semi-perishable stuff will keep long enough that you can go through 30.

    If you can afford the space to store stuff, you won’t regret it.

    Costco frees up a lot of money that i can spend on other stuff.

    • +1 we go there for produce which is much cheaper and better than the crappy DC supermarkets (except whole foods which is expensive). Another reason why we need less safeways and more TJs and whole foods. Harris Teeter is decent too.

  • I’ve been a member since 07/1988!!! I need to write them and find out if they have a quarter century member perk!

    I live in the city too and have a small space. However the $110 annual fee is worth what I save all year long. I get all my personal hygene items there, prepared foods and bottled water. In one visit I probably save enough to cover the annual fee. Paying for the Executive Member programs gets me a 2% rebate of my total receipts over the year. The other geniouse thing I do is have my parents on my second card. They buy a lot so the 2% rebate is usually about $200/$300 bucks per year which covers my annual fee and then allows me to treat myself to something I’ve been eyeing in electronics. Just last week I went to the optical with my new reading glass Rx and got two new frames with lens for $225. My eye doctor quoted me close to $500 with frames.

    I can’t wait to price out spirits. I hear the Kirkland Vodka is manufactured by Ketel One. I will know right away!!!

  • The Costco web site does not mention wine/beer for DC the way it does for PC. I expect traffic issues for this location (same as PC), but really, who metros to a Costco? I am sure it will be jam packed and well, that is just more tax $$ for DC!

    • Who metros to a Costco? Um, people who don’t own a car (and can’t afford Zipcar). Granted, you can’t carry an enormous load of merchandise on rail or bus, but between the cleaning supplies, personal items, OTC medications, etc. it sounds like a carless person could actually buy a fair amount of stuff and still stay under a 30lb or so limit of what could be feasible to haul via public transportaion.

  • Join — if only to encourage their business model!

    From an old NY Times article:
    “Costco’s average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam’s Club. And Costco’s health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco “it’s better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder.”

    CEO Jim Sinegal begs to differ. He rejects Wall Street’s assumption that to succeed in discount retailing, companies must pay poorly and skimp on benefits, or must ratchet up prices to meet Wall Street’s profit demands.

  • costco cake is the best cake around.

    i have the executive membership and the 2% rebate more than pays for the membership every year.

    wild caught sockeye salmon frozen at sea
    organic eggs
    olive oil
    organic spinach
    baby wipes
    usda prime sirloin
    various household appliances, got a vitamix for $100 less than retail

    the list goes on

    plus the pizza in the food court is literally the best pizza in the world. literally. no exaggeration. none.

  • This Costco will sell beer, wine and booze. It was on the news last night! This Costco will eventually have gas, which is WAY cheaper. We (family of 3) are longtime members of Costco. The membership fee does pay for itself if you know what to buy! If you make a few big purchases a year, combined with the small savings on paper goods and good, it is great. Things we have bought lately:
    Dyson cordless vac, best price anywhere.
    Playmobil sets for the kid, some 50% less than retail
    Holiday stamps
    Ray Ban sunglasses

    We also buy:
    Paper towels/toilet paper
    Dental floss
    Chicken stock
    Coffee beans
    Jelly beans
    Naked smoothies
    Clif bars
    Shaving cream
    Razor blades
    Rotisserie chicken
    Etc etc

    They also send out a coupon book every month that 10/12 months a year has pretty great savings. If you have a car and the storage space and research and make a few larger purchases, it’s worth it IMO.

  • If you belong to any organization that has occasional parties/events, it’s really worth having. I don’t shop there for myself, but when a party is held, everything is from Costco.

  • Can you imagine the size of the loss prevention staff there?

    • Oh do tell why you believe shoplifting will be worse there than other costcos?

      • because there is a lot of crime nearby. and it’s a super fast getaway to the east of the city.

        this area used to be a major dumping ground for bodies and burning cars. thugs know this area very well.

    • Do you mean at Costco in general or at this particular location? In general, I’m sure Costco has an ample loss protection staff, as do most big-box retailer. If this was a reference to the income level of the surrounding customer base, I can assure you from having worked in retail in the past that all kinds of people shoplift, and for all kinds of reasons besides that they’re poor–they’re teenagers being rebellious, they like the rush of getting away with it, or they simply don’t feel like paying, even if they have plenty of money (remember Winona Ryder, anybody?) And in much of the retail industry, stores lose more to internal theft than customer shoplifting, anyway.

  • I plan to check this out. Always looking for a good bargain. Of course, I’ll ask my Mom first.

  • THIS IS THE NEWS OF THE YEAR. I’ve been anticipating today for so long. It’s like a dream come true. Okay, a bit over the top, but I’m very nearly serious. Costco is one of the happiest places on earth.

    I also find it amusing that people complain about the number of people in their household, the size of their storage space, and their state of car ownership in relation to shopping at Costco. Uh, maybe this isn’t a good store for you but it is for many, so maybe this isn’t, you know, relevant to your life? I don’t shop at Baby Gap, but I don’t care if they build one or where they put it.

    It’s also never occurred to us to go to the one in Pentagon City. Blech. We always went to MD. UNTIL NOW. Wheeeeee!!!!!

  • I am a single person living in a 500-square foot studio but I manage to cram a surprising amount of Costco stuff in there. My staples are paper towels, toilet paper, bottled water (Kirkland brand is abour $4 for a 24 pack – I just paid more than that for one bottle at Union Station!), and kitty litter. Seriously, if you have cats, $11 for 42 pounds of litter cannot be beat. Also, the goat cheese and Gruyere are amazing deals – two giant logs of goat cheese for about the same as one small one at Harris Teeter, and the Gryuere I think is about $8something/lb. Strawberries when they have them are a great deal as well – I can finish off their 4 lb box in less than a week. Things like Benadryl, Cetaphil, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. are also much cheaper there. Honestly, I haven’t had any issues with storage – my solution is one of those cubbyholed Ikea bookcases with everything arranged in there neatly.

    • i live two blocks from this costco, in NE DC. it’s called the Gateway neighborhood, and is extremely quaint. i. am. ecstatic. what folks aren’t mentioning is that it will possibly have a target in that complex. yippee!

  • I wonder if they will be carrying their Grey Goose, er I mean Kirklands Vodka. I’d join just for that alone.

  • The wife and I are going tonight! We normally go to the Pentagon City one 2-3 times a month, but are quite excited to shop in DC, stop paying the VA 2.5% food tax, and what goods we do buy to pay tax in DC instead of VA.

    We are certainly excited this finally opened!

  • Protein powder is unbelievably cheap at Costco. If you take supplements that will pay for the cost of membership alone.

    Also, there are usually extremely deep cuts in rental car rates for Costco members– I’ve often recouped the cost of membership with one rental.

  • Yeah, I think they’ll have liquor. Here’s Biden with a case of Jack Daniels!

  • I’ve never been to a Costco, I’d be interested in checking it out just to see what i’ve been hearing about for so long… but I don’t want to pay $55 just to get in the door… Does anyone know if you need a membership to just go and look around?


    • I think you can go in and get a tour. However, they definitely won’t let you buy anything unless your a member. I took a friend with me to get stuff for his new apartment and I had to pay his $500 bill. If you’re using a credit or debit card, the member’s name has to be on the card.

    • anon. gardener

      They will let you in to take a look, but you can’t buy anything.

      We have often lent our card to friends – we get 2% of whatever they spend! – and they used their own plastic to pay.

    • The one time I accidentally got in to a Costco (had no idea you had to be a member) they let me buy stuff, but I got to the register and did not realize that you had to use their credit card or pay cash. Ooops!

  • I have been a member for over 10 years. My membership fee is offset by the discounts I receive from my food puchases on day one. I love that I can now purchase even some organic items from there! The prices due to the bulk buying, are always the lowest in my experience, and the quality is excellent, too. The downside is one must have extra space for these bulk items (extra refrigerator and cabinets). I do still shop at Wegman’s and Giant’s for hard to find items and for those items that I do not want a large quantity of due to potential spoilage.

  • LOVE Costco.
    It’s convenient to stock up and not have to buy so much all the time – TP, Paper towels, etc.
    -Mayorga coffee – you can grind it in store or take whole beans home with you.
    -Quinoa – huge bags, SUPER cheap.
    -Kirkland plain fat free greek yogurt. YUM.
    -Jalapeno greek yogurt dip (I forget the name) that is addictive
    -Kettle chips. With above dip. The best
    -Cabbot extra sharp cheddar with the black wrap. AMAZING.

    We’re a married couple, some a lot of the produce is too big for us – however, I still get some of it – used to go with another couple and split stuff, which made it a lot easier. I recommend that if you have friends that also like Costco (like, they take 4 boxes of pasta and you take one cantalope)

  • PS: if they could open a Wegmans closer to the city, I’d be SO happy. why can’t this happen? We drive out to Lanham and hit that Costco and Wegmans (that Costco has gas), so it’s a good half a day commitment. Would love a Wegmans nearer to the city!

  • If you have a dog, buy a yearly supply of Frontline, the difference from prices at Petco/PetSmart or online pay for the membership and them some!

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