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Why doesn’t Asheville have a Costco yet?


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Why is there no Costco in Asheville? We’ve gotten this question so many times that it (finally) made it onto our 21 Questions for 2021 – a list of questions we’ll be covering this year that you, our dear readers, sent our way.

While we do have a Sam’s Club (645 Patton Ave.), Costco – another membership-only chain that sells products in warehouse volumes at wholesale prices – has long been rumored to be considering Asheville, but so far, no dice. The closest Costcos are in Greenville and Spartanburg, SC (about an hour away). If the demand is this high, why is Costco not in Asheville? Here’s what we found out.

🏗 Costco has 558 warehouses in the US (and 803 total here and internationally) and has stuck with a mostly brick and mortar model while other businesses have increasingly pivoted to online sales.

🏗 Costco bases its decision on where to put new stores on a lot of factors, including demographics, land costs, and geography. According to area real estate mavens, Costco has looked here before, but each warehouse requires about 20 acres of land – and that can be hard to come by in our mountainous (and expensive) area. They also want to be visible from main roads and interstates.

🏗 The Asheville metro area’s population should hit 500,000 by 2025 – a number that could affect whether Costo eventually opens here. Our smaller population size means that stores like Trader Joe’s were also slow to arrive. Other demographic factors they consider include household income and education level.

🏗 They’ve supposedly scoped out both the Asheville Outlets and Enka Center, currently in development, as possible store locations. One potential spot? Airport Road, though available sites would need some major adjustments.

🏗 There are also two Sam’s Clubs in the area – besides the Patton Avenue location, there’s one in Hendersonville, as well as many grocery stores (grocery items are one of Costco’s specialties). So, the competition is stiff.

Why do people want a Costco so badly? Folks mention the high quality of products and the competitive wages + benefits the company offers its employees. Oh, and the $1.50 hot dog + soda combo.🌭🥤

If a Costco were coming to Asheville, expect them to keep mum about it. They don’t typically announce where their next stores will be opening until late in the game – keep track here.

Want to help support the effort to bring a warehouse to Asheville? There’s a Facebook group for that.