Electronic store

Tour of the store and food court, in photos

Both stores operate on the same principle: customers buy annual subscriptions that give them access to bulk products at lower prices than most other grocery stores, as well as a discount on gas and other items.


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Costco has over 500 stores in the United States and Sam’s Club has about 600.

Costco.

Costco.

Mohammad Khursheed/REUTERS


Costco has far higher sales than Sam’s Club, bringing in $192 billion in fiscal 2021, compared to less than half at $63.9 billion for Sam’s Club.

A Costco truck makes a delivery to a Costco store in Carlsbad, California.

A Costco truck makes a delivery to a Costco store in Carlsbad, California.

Mike Blake/Reuters


I visited both stores to get a sense of how they compare in person, beyond the balance sheet.

Sam's Club visit


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


When you enter Costco, a host verifies that you have your membership card, which is required to make purchases in addition to alcohol, food court, and a few other exceptions.

Costco Membership Photo Tour in Rochester NY


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Passing carts and greeters, I entered the gigantic Costco warehouse.

Costco Rochester NY Photo Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


At my house, large electronics are on display near the entrance, with TVs stacked on huge shelves.

Costco Rochester NY Photo Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The ceilings are extremely high and the product inventories extend almost to the top. Many of Costco’s biggest products are located along this side wall.

Visit Costco Rochester NY


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


You can outfit an entire home with Costco appliances, including washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, and more.

Visit Costco Rochester NY


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Then we finally headed to the food. Branded snacks were mostly the central displays, sitting on pallets.

Visit Costco Rochester NY


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Products are loosely organized by type, like snacks or baked goods, but it’s so overwhelming that it’s good to come up with a game plan.

Visit Costco Rochester NY


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


For the most part, each section is inside the main warehouse itself, but dairy and some fruits and vegetables have their own refrigerated sections separate from the main area.

Rochester Costco Photography Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Some staples always seem to be available in the produce section, while others change seasonally.

Visit Costco Rochester NY


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Back in the main warehouse is the bakery with fresh, packaged produce.

Visit Costco Rochester NY


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Fresh pastries are on display just outside the kitchen.

Rochester Costco Photography Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


You can also buy custom cakes and order them in store, right across from the bakery.

Rochester Costco Photography Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The rest of the back wall next to the bakery is a deli and meat counter.

Rochester Costco Photography Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


This is where you can find the chain’s famous $5 roast chickens.

Rochester Costco Photography Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Rows and rows of refrigerated boxes contain more meat products.

Rochester Costco Photography Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


A few aisles of refrigerated shelves hold cheeses, butter, and all sorts of dips and spreads.

Rochester Costco Photography Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Beer and hard sodas are available in the main store area, but other liquor is only sold in the liquor store next door, which has a separate entrance.

Rochester Costco Photography Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The remaining aisles on the other side of the store are dedicated to freezers with entrees and desserts, and bulk pantry products.

Rochester Costco Photography Tour


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


When I first walked inside it almost looked like Costco with big electronics placed near the entrance.

Sam's Club visit


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Otherwise, the stores had the same main merchandise categories.

Sam's Club visit


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Much of the entrance is dedicated to holding these commands.

Sam's Club visit


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


I was surprised to find that at Sam’s Club all alcohol sales are in the main store.

Visiting Sam's Club


Mary Meisenzah / Insider


Sam’s Club had wine and other flavored drinks in the main store, while Costco is generally limited to beer and seltzers.

Visiting Sam's Club


Mary Meisenzah / Insider