Hello Costco

Published 7:21 pm Saturday, May 5, 2018

Dear Costco,

I’m sorry to hear about your troubles in trying to locate a store in Mississippi.

Mississippians are typically much more welcoming than you have found us.

From what I understand, the Mississippi Supreme Court recently blocked your attempt to locate in the Ridgeland area, ruling that community’s rezoning to accommodate your store was unlawful. A group of residents who live near your proposed location there are worried you’ll bring too much traffic to their area, or something like that.

That’s Ridgeland’s loss.

However, I think I can offer you a better solution anyway. Just west of Jackson in Vicksburg and Warren County, you’ll find a warm, Mississippi welcome.

In fact in the end for many reasons, you’ll likely be happier here than with a Jackson location.

Our area has much to offer. We’re located on I-20, about midway between Jackson and Monroe, Louisiana. More than 27,600 cars cross the bridge coming to and from Vicksburg and Warren County every day on I-20. That’s a lot of potential Costco customers! That also doesn’t account for the significant number of Jackson area residents who drive to Vicksburg every day to go to work.

Mississippians love their cars. You won’t find public transportation here. We think nothing of hopping in our cars and driving an hour or two to shop.

As you know, yours is a destination store. If you build it here, they will come — from Ridgeland and Madison and Brandon and Pearl and elsewhere in Mississippi, as well as from Monroe area of Louisiana and points in between. I’ll bet you a Vicksburg Costco would draw from as far away as Shreveport, Louisiana.

Your store in Birmingham, Alabama, was my first Costco experience and it was love at first sight. Many a Saturday and Sunday I spent strolling leisurely through your cavernous aisles and enjoying the many delicious samplings you offer your customers. Today, I get to your store in Baton Rouge as often as I can.

Not only are your loyal members like me smitten with the quality of the products you offer and the excellent prices, we’re impressed with the way your company does business. With your starting wage of $13 per hour and your average employee hourly wage of $22.50, not including overtime, you value your employees. You reap the benefits from treating your employees well. Your employee turnover rate is less than six percent. In fact, your own employees have ranked your benefits as “second to none.”

You’ll like the employees you find in Vicksburg and Warren County. Our community has an eager and trainable work force just waiting for you here. Our school district will work with you to offer any specialized training or education you need for your workers here.

Our economic development effort, based at the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, will work tirelessly to find the perfect site for you and ease you through the entire process of making your Mississippi store a reality right here in Vicksburg.

Don’t wait too long, though. Economic development here is about to heat up. Strike while you can. Get in on the ground floor of the boom that’s about to take place in Vicksburg and Warren County.

Mississippians would love Vicksburg Costco! We want, need and deserve a Costco, and Vicksburg will welcome you with open arms!

What do you say? Just come take a look. I’ll bet you’ll like what you find here.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at jan.griffey@vicksburgpost.com.