Costco Australia: My Costco-sized slice of home.
I'll admit that Australia is not so different from America that I feel as though I'm living in a completely different world and desperately crave a slice of America. However, there is something to be said for walking into a place that looks and feels like any other Costco location in the US. Truly. It looks the same, offers the same services (vision, hearing, tyres, travel, petrol or gasoline, home and auto), and sells almost the same products including the Kirkland Signature brand. There are a few differences, of course. For example, you're not likely to find a small tub of vegemite anywhere else in the world.
Costco as we know it today, was founded as PriceCostco in 1983. The first store or warehouse was, and still is, in Seattle, WA. Within that first year, two additional stores were established in Portland, OR and Spokane, WA. As of the end of last year, there are now 558 stores in the US (including D.C. and Puerto Rico), 102 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the UK, 27 in Japan, 16 in South Korea, 13 in Taiwan, 12 in Australia, 3 in Spain, 1 in Iceland, 1 in France, and 1 in China (Shanghai). Your Costco membership gets you in to any of these stores around the world.
The Kirkland Signature brand was created in 1992 as a private label to demonstrate "brand name quality products at discounted prices." The name Kirkland comes from the location of the original headquarters, which was Kirkland, WA. The Kirkland Signature brand was kept even though their headquarters are now located in Issaquah, WA.
There are two Costco Wholesale stores in the Brisbane area. I am slightly closer to the store in Ipswich, which is only about a 30-35 minute drive. The other one is north of the city in North Lakes. I go once every two weeks or so to take advantage of certain food items and lower fuel prices.
As in the US, gas prices at Costco are generally 10-20 cents cheaper per gallon (or liter) than your regular gas station. So, if you figure that there are approximately 4 liters per gallon, then the 10-20 cent difference x 4 ends up being fairly significant. The picture below was taken on the 29th January 2021. I filled up with the regular unleaded at A$1.157/liter, which converts to approximately A$4.35/gallon. Had I gotten petrol in the city, I would have paid closer to A$5.50/gallon. It definitely makes it worthwhile to drive 30 minutes to Ipswich to fill my tank.
As you can see from the photos, it really is just like a US Costco store. I have to say that living internationally, today, has got to be significantly easier than say 30 years ago. With the advancement in technology, commerce and travel options, we can have all the comforts of home at the press of a button. I can see my son's face while talking to him in real time even though there are 7,200 miles between us. And there are no long distance phone charges. I can even order my favorite American things from Costco.com.au or Amazon Australia.
So, if you ever find yourself in a far away location and homesick for the good ole US of A, there is likely to be a Costco just down the road where you can get a hot dog and a drink for just a couple dollars.