- Costco opened its first warehouse store in Seattle in 1983. Before that, there was Price Club, which opened in 1976.
- The two big-box stores merged in 1993 and became PriceCostco.
- Watch the video above to see what Costco looked like 40 years ago.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: Costco is one of the most popular big-box stores in the United States. It’s known for selling everything in bulk from toilet paper to seafood.
Jerry Seinfeld: Look at this can of tuna.
Narrator: Although the members-only wholesaler first opened in 1983, today’s stores don’t look much different than they did almost 40 years ago.
Before the first Costco warehouse opened, there was Price Club, which opened in 1976.
The first location was in a converted airplane hangar in San Diego, California. At the time, it served only small businesses.
Its executive vice president of merchandising, distribution, and marketing, Jim Sinegal, played a big role in its initial success.
After leaving Price Club, Sinegal and Jeff Brotman worked together to co-found Costco Wholesale, which they basically modeled after Price Club.
The first Costco Wholesale store opened in 1983 in Seattle. Annual club membership was just $25 at the time. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about the same annual fee today.
Stores quickly expanded across the Pacific Northwest. 200,000 people held Costco memberships by the end of 1984 and another year later, the company filed for an IPO. Soon, it became a $1 billion company.
Ten years after the first Costco store opened, Price Club and Costco merged to form PriceCostco.
In 1997, PriceCostco changed its name to Costco Companies, Inc. Today, it goes by Costco Wholesale Corporation – or as most people know it, just Costco.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.