- Costco will be opening a location in Wheaton. (Photo: Associated Press)
Updated to include additional merchant comments.
Costco finally signed on the dotted line to move to Wheaton.
Citybizlist reports that the retail giant signed leases at three Westfield centers, including Westfield Wheaton, or Wheaton Plaza.
Costco will fill a space once occupied by Hecht’s, an anchor store that’s been vacant for years. Initially, Costco officials said they wouldn’t come to Wheaton unless they could build a gas station as well. But neighbors weren’t very happy with the idea of a large gas station in an already-congested area, and The Gazette reported earlier this month gas station approval was no longer a deal-breaker. The county will take up the gas station at a later time.
But Costco is coming at a cost. Montgomery County will be giving the mall $4 million for renovations, something that elected officials said was necessary to attract Costco to Wheaton and that the county would get a return on its investment. In a time of budget crunches and nearly across-the-board furloughs, the desire to attract jobs trumped all. It sounds a bit like another weird deal.
Then there’s all those small mom-and-pop businesses in Wheaton. Some business owners tell us that Costco would breathe life back into the area and help them out, too, but will shoppers really go to five different stores when they could just get everything at Costco?
Bob Schilke thinks so. He owns The Little Bitts Shop on Triangle Lane and sells speciality items used for baking cakes and making candy. He says there is enough diversity among the small businesses in Wheaton that they’ll do fine, maybe even better, with Costco’s addition.
“I think it’s great news. We need the jobs in the Wheaton-area,” he says. “You can’t buy the things we sell in our shop over in Costco. And like Marchone’s, the Italian deli, you can’t buy the meats and canned goods they sell [at Costco].”