How The World's Smallest And Largest Costco Stores Compare

Costco is known for many things, such as its incredibly low-priced hot dog that outpaces the entire MLB in sales, as well as the sheer size of its stores. So, it is kind of hard to imagine what the scope of the largest Costco store would be and what it would mean to be the smallest. But they do, indeed, exist, and for all the similarities, these locations have some interesting differences that put them in contrast.

The largest Costco store is understandably in a large state in the U.S. The location at 300 West in Salt Lake City, Utah clocks in at 235,000 square feet. For perspective, the company reports that the average size of its stores — known as warehouses — is around 147,000 square feet. This hybrid Costco houses not just a regular store but also a Costco Business Center.

It follows that the smallest Costco must be in one of the smaller U.S. states, right? It's actually in the biggest state by milage (though one of the smallest by population), but in a rather confounding area. The Juneau, Alaska Costco is just 76,696 square feet, a little over half the size of most stores. While it is the state capital, Juneau sits on the Alaskan panhandle surrounded by towering mountains and water. As such, there are no roads that connect the city with other locations within the state and the larger U.S., making shipping in items costly. This fact, coupled with Juneau's small population, makes for a fittingly small store.

Size doesn't always matter

So what does all that size get a customer? A lot. Among the items that the world's largest Costco carries are whole animals for roasting, such as pigs and lambs, as well as pallets of foodstuffs and other items. This is due to the business center, which is focused on B2B sales, such as restaurants and schools, and was added to the then-average sized Salt Lake City store as part of an experiment in expanded offerings. The Costco Business Center allows the store to stock an additional 2,700 items. The store even has three walk-in coolers for dairy and other perishable items that are each 3,000 square feet.

If you think that Juneauites are getting a raw deal, think again. The store is less than half the size of the Utah store, but it works for residents who can always use these hacks to make the most of their Costco. The store stocks about 3,200 items, which is only slightly less than the average of 3,800 items for a regular Costco warehouse, including its popular and high-quality Kirkland house brands. Gas and fresh baked goods can't be found, but it does boast a pharmacy and — hallelujah — a food court, because the only real crime would be to deprive the good folks of Juneau of that amazing hot dog meal deal.