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The Path For Costco Was Paved By One California Wholesale Store
The store that paved the way for Costco was a discount retailer named Price Club. Its first location was opened in 1976 in Southern California by Sol Price.
Price Club pioneered the bulk discount model used by Costco and further refined future Costco signatures, including cutting costs with a sparse experience and no advertising.
Price Club carried a wide variety of products, including auto parts, clothing, rice, and Rolex watches, but maintained a limited stock in each category to keep things simple.
Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal actually worked at Price Club’s parent company as an executive, helping to refine the merchandising strategy before he left to start Costco.
Sinegal considered Price to be a mentor for his business strategy. Price Club and Costco merged in 1993, becoming PriceCostco, but the brand dropped "Price" from the name in 1997.