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A Costco Business Center is like a supersized version of the Costco warehouse you know and love. Be prepared for bulk EVERYTHING. And when I say bulk, I mean bulkier than the typical Costco sizes you’re used to.
What’s the difference between Costco Business Center and Costco, you ask? While Costco warehouse savings offer excellent value for everyday shoppers, the business side is a different ball game. And no, you don’t need to own a business to shop there.
But before you breeze through traffic lights to buy in extra bulk, here’s what you need to know about Costco Business Centers:
1. All members can shop at a Costco Business Center — even if you don’t own a business.
No, you don’t need to run or own a business to shop at Costco Business Center locations. Anyone with a Costco membership (Basic or Executive) can reap the extra-bulk benefits.
But if you’re trying to shop at a Costco Business Center without a membership, sorry. You’ll have to show your Costco membership card at the door to get in.
2. There are only 24 Costco Business Center locations across the U.S.
While there are 583 Costco warehouse locations in the United States, there are only 24 Costco Business Center locations. Ten of those locations are in California, but you’ll find one or two locations in select states across the country.
So unless you live in the San Francisco or Los Angeles area, Costco Business Centers are far less available to everyday shoppers. To find the closest Costco Business location near you, use the store locator (and be sure to check off the “Business Center” filter before you scroll through the results).
3. You won’t find clothing, books, or sporting goods, but you’ll find a larger selection of bulk drinks, candy, snacks, and commercial supplies.
Business Centers aren’t your average warehouses. In fact, over 70% of the items are different than what your local Costco warehouse sells. You won’t find a pharmacy, food samples, or alcohol, nor will you find clothing, books, or sporting goods.
Instead, you’ll find a wide selection of beverages in bulk, like different brands of water, soft drinks, juice, sports drinks, and energy drinks. You’ll also find a killer candy aisle and a huge walk-in refrigerator with fresh and frozen groceries in massive sizes.
These are the main items available in huge selections at Costco Business Centers:
- Candy and Snacks
- Commercial Appliances
- Janitorial Supplies
- Office Supplies
- Restaurant Supplies and Equipment
4. Costco Business Centers aren’t always ideal for everyday shoppers.
If you’re picking up a whopping 242 fluid ounces of Clorox bleach from the warehouse, you’re either running a business or you’re up to something sketchy.
Not everyone can benefit from massively bulk items, especially perishable foods like meats, cheeses, and dairy. However, if you operate a restaurant, vending machines, convenience stores, or a snack counter, Costco Business Centers may be one of the best places to stock up on inventory for cheap.
With that said, the Business Center DOES make sense for non-business owners when it comes to certain items and occasions …
5. But if you’re planning a big party, a wedding, or hosting a large event, buying in extra-bulk can help you save.
If you’re planning a big bash and have a lot of mouths to feed, Costco Business items like candy, tableware, and single-serve snacks are a great solution to stocking up in bulk.
Buy single-flavor packs of gum, mints, and chocolate in the candy aisle and use them as party favors or stuff them in goodie bags. You can also check out the large selection of tableware, napkins, serving utensils, and tablecloths for weddings and large catering events. And if you’re hosting a barbecue for the whole neighborhood? Don’t miss the single-serve snacks like chips, cookies, crackers, and more in bulk.
6. The best time to shop at Costco Business Centers is before 10 a.m.
Costco Business Center hours are different than regular Costco warehouse hours. They open much earlier at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday. These are the Costco Business Center hours:
- Monday – Saturday: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Sunday: Closed
According to Costco, the early morning is typically the slowest time for shoppers, so they recommend shopping before 10 a.m. to beat the crowds and daily bustle.
7. Look out for Savings Events where you can buy Costco favorites and brand-new items for less.
Think of Savings Events as the Costco Coupon Book for Business Centers. Just like Costco, there’s no coupon clipping involved with these limited-time offers. Instead savings are automatically applied at the register.
You can even preview Savings Events online two weeks before they begin — so if you’re planning a big trip to the warehouse, take a sneak peek at the savings and write up your shopping list early.
8. You can only order Costco Business Delivery to commercial addresses, and only 18 locations offer delivery.
While there are 24 Costco Business locations in the U.S., only 18 of them offer Business Delivery. You’ll only be eligible if you live in one of these areas and have your items delivered to a commercial address (no residential addresses allowed):
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Salt Lake City
- San Diego
- San Francisco Bay
- San Jose
Don’t forget — Costco delivery is also available at regular Costco warehouse locations.
9. Online prices for Costco Business Centers are slightly lower than on Costco.com.
Since over 70% of Business Center items are different than those in Costco warehouses, it’s hard to compare prices across the two.
However, I found that online prices for the same items are sometimes cheaper through Costco Business than they are on Costco.com. I found this 15-Pack of Trident Sugar-Free Gum for $13.99 on Costco.com. The same item (in the same size) sold for $13.29 on CostcoBusinessDelivery.com.
So it’s not a big difference overall, but it’s something. And obviously, the bigger you buy, the more value you’ll get. So it’s safe to say that Costco Business Centers can help you save more in certain situations.