Camping out at Costco? Fans plan to get to Westgate early ahead of opening day

All prices will be revealed from next Wednesday when the store opens at 8am. Video / Carson Bluck

Fans of big-box store Costco plan to sleep in their cars with a few even camping outside the store for the grand opening.

Keen shoppers have planned to drive and fly from outside Auckland to be there when the doors open at the American superstore on Gunton Drive in Westgate, northwest Auckland.

The store will open at 8am tomorrow after bad weather and Covid delayed the opening day by more than a month.

On the Costco NZ Fans Facebook page dozens of the nearly 80K members have said they have taken the day off work and some say they will camp overnight to beat the queue.

One woman said she was flying from the lower North Island to be there for opening day.

Some had birthdays on opening day and said shopping at Costco was a perfect celebration.

One had a store map and spreadsheet printed of the goods they wanted to check out.

Others said they would wait until the opening day excitement had died down before visiting the store.

Fan page co-creator and self-confessed Costco superfan Jen Davenport was meeting other administrators of the page for the first time on opening day.

“We will be there early and in the t-shirts we have just had printed,” Davenport said.

“I have been to opening days before so I know how busy it will be – It is going to be controlled mayhem.”

Davenport had heard of people camping out at other opening using the Costco trolleys to lie on.

“Have you seen the trolleys? They are huge so they are perfect for that,” she said.

Those spoken to by the Herald said they were going to such an effort because of the different brands Costco was bringing to New Zealand.

They were also just excited to be doing something after two years of Covid restrictions.

A map of the area shows roads will become one-way to ease traffic congestion.  Photo / Costco NZ
A map of the area shows roads will become one-way to ease traffic congestion. Photo / Costco NZ

Thousands of people are expected to visit the store during opening week with many arranging ride shares through social media pages.

Costco NZ is well prepared with 800 permanent carparks and an additional 500
temporary carparks leased for four weeks from nearby Wilson parking.

Plenty of staff would be on hand to show customers around the store. Costco NZ had employed more than 300 people for the large warehouse – including three dozen previously unemployed locals.

Electronic signs had been placed on the Northwestern Motorway exits near the store to warn of traffic delays.

But the official Traffic Management Plan was not ready to be shared with the media after an amendment according to Auckland Transport.

“What we can tell you now is that the TMP was designed by Parallaxx and is then approved by ASM and AT – in consultation with NZ Police,” an AT spokeswoman said.

“Advertisements were placed in the Herald by Costco as well as across social media to notify people of the likely impacts. Costco also worked with local businesses, the local board, and local business associations.”

A mini–Incident Management Team will be on-hand tomorrow, which will be led by Auckland Transport to oversee the opening in real-time and adjust things on the network as needed.

The manager of nearby Miter 10 said he was expecting a busy day but understood Costco NZ was well prepared with comprehensive traffic management and a parking plan.

Greg Priest said his relationship with Costco NZ in the past 18 months had been positive with plenty of updates and information.

“They have plenty of parking and have leased 500 more spots so will have 1300 parks for the next four weeks.

“We are expecting the traffic to be busy but our staff have their own car parks so that won’t be an issue.”

In an Instagram post, Costco NZ said a temporary traffic system would allow traffic to flow one-way into Gunton Drive where there would be access to overflow parking.

Exit would be one-way via Kakano Rd or Northside Drive.

Miter 10 and other retailers near Costco had put up extra signs to let shoppers know which carparks were for their customers only.

Priest was looking forward to a positive ongoing relationship with the superstore.

He believed the businesses were complementary rather than in competition.

“We are happy to have Costco as a neighbor and you will definitely see some orange shirts shopping in there,” he said.

“Our staff will go there for lunch sometimes and I have a card so will be shopping there.”


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