A tour of the store and dining hall, with pictures

Both stores operate on the same premise: Customers purchase an annual membership that gives them access to bulk merchandise at lower prices than most other grocery stores, plus a discount on gas and other items.


Marie Messenzel / Insider


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

Costco.

Costco.

Muhammad Khurshid/Reuters


Costco had significantly higher sales than Sam’s Club, reporting $192 billion in fiscal 2021, compared with less than half that at $63.9 billion for Sam’s Club.

A Costco truck delivers it to a Costco store in Carlsbad, California.

A Costco truck delivers it to a Costco store in Carlsbad, California.

Mike Blake/Reuters


I visited both stores to get an idea of ​​how they compare in person, off the balance sheet.

Sam's Club Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


When you enter Costco, the greeter checks you to make sure you have your membership card, which is required to make purchases along with alcoholic beverages, food court and some other exceptions.

Photo tour at Costco Membership Rochester NY


Marie Messenzel / Insider


Passing the wagons and greeting, I walked into the gigantic Costco warehouse.

Photo tour of Costco Rochester, New York


Marie Messenzel / Insider


At my site, large electronics are displayed near the entrance, with televisions stacked on huge shelves.

Photo tour of Costco Rochester, New York


Marie Messenzel / Insider


The ceilings are very high, and the stock of products stretches almost all the way. Many of Costco’s biggest products are located along this side wall.

Costco Rochester New York Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


Equip an entire home with the appliances found at Costco, including washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, and more.

Costco Rochester New York Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


Then we finally got to the food. Brand-name snacks mostly consist of central displays, sitting on pallets.

Costco Rochester New York Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


Products are loosely organized by type, such as snacks or baked goods, but it’s surprisingly good to come up with a game plan.

Costco Rochester New York Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


For the most part, each department is within the same main warehouse, but dairy and some fruits and vegetables have separate refrigerated sections outside the main area.

Rochester Costco Photo Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


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

Costco Rochester New York Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


Back in the main warehouse is the bakery with fresh and packaged goods.

Costco Rochester New York Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


Fresh baked goods are displayed right in front of the kitchen.

Rochester Costco Photo Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


You can also buy and order custom cakes in the shop, right in front of the bakery.

Rochester Costco Photo Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


What remains of the back wall next to the bakery is a deli and meat shop.

Rochester Costco Photo Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


This is where you can find the chain’s famous rotisserie chicken for $5.

Rochester Costco Photo Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


Rows and rows of refrigerated cans contain more meat products.

Rochester Costco Photo Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


A few aisles of the refrigerated shelves hold cheese, butter, and all kinds of dips and spreads.

Rochester Costco Photo Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


Beer and hard drinks are available in the main area of ​​the shop, but other alcoholic beverages are only sold at the adjacent liquor store, which has a separate entrance.

Rochester Costco Photo Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


The remaining aisles across from the store are for freezers serving appetizers and desserts, and pantry items in bulk.

Rochester Costco Photo Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


When I first walked in, it almost looked like Costco with large electronics placed near the entrance.

Sam's Club Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


Other than that, the stores had the same main categories of merchandise.

Sam's Club Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


A large area of ​​the entrance was designated to hold these commands.

Sam's Club Tour


Marie Messenzel / Insider


I was surprised to find that at Sam’s Club, all alcohol sales take place in the main store area.

Sam's Club Tour


Marie Meisenzah / Insider


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

Sam's Club Tour


Marie Meisenzah / Insider


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