Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Last Word on Costco?

I'd liek to think Don Pelton's fact-filled letter to the editor in today's Daily News represents the last word on Costco and Pullman, but given the PARDners proclivity for manufacturing new facts to fit their cause, don't count on it.
Costco is a store for the few

In his letter to the editor (Opinion, Aug. 29), T.V. Reed, head of the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development, tells us Costco is a virtual certainty to come to Pullman because we are a larger and much richer city than Clarkston, where for some reason the management elected to locate its store.

We are told Pullman has 9,000 people who are more than age 25 and have a median income of $50,416 vs. only $29,100 for those in Clarkston. Fellow PARD member Christopher Lupke recently told us per capita retail sales in Clarkston are $21,500, which is far higher than those for any other city in the area and dwarf those for Pullman.

If the poor people in Clarkston spend about 70 percent of their income for groceries and other retail goods, they surely need consumer education on how to manage their income. Those folks have little money left to pay for housing, medical care, education or even taxes.

PARD misunderstands what all the retail spending in Clarkston means. It means that most of that spending originates from areas outside Clarkston such as from Pullman-Moscow.

The average Costco store in Washington centers around about 225,000 people. Steven Peterson in his study for the Moscow Chamber of Commerce found the median income of a Costco shopper is $85,000 and that 42 percent of its customers earn $100,000. The Clarkston Costco store was built to service a trade area from Moscow to the Tri-Cities and beyond. The closest Costco stores to its Clarkston branch are in the Spokane area, Boise, and Portland ( a Walla Walla branch is in the works).

Costco is a store for the few. Wal-Mart is for everyone, with 46 percent of all Americans shopping there each week.

Donald D. Pelton, Pullman
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1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

Don sort of brushed around a major issue with Costco. Costco is membership based. Not everyone can shop at Costco no matter the income level. It's all fine when one can afford the membership, has the inviation to membership and can afford to buy in bulk. Everyone who supports Costco should try to walk in without a membership card and then after shopping, try to purchase the items. Good luck. Costco is about excluding certain classes of people to pass the super secret, wholesale prices to the rest of us.