This Is What Costco Looked Like in 1983
From the $1.50 hot dog meals to the signature orange shelving, it's safe to say that not much has changed.
There's a story behind the Costco we all know and love. Before the samples, the travel deals, and high-end electronics were around, the idea of Costco was new and fascinating. In the '80s, the concept of buying in bulk was just for small business owners. However, everything changed in 1983, when the first Costco opened in Seattle, WA. This trail-blazing Costco, which still stands strong today, was only a glimpse of what was to come.
We'll be honest, not much has changed since 1983—we still spot giant carts, wood pallets, hundreds of boxes, orange shelves, and big crowds in Costco's throwback photos.
Before there was Costco, there was Price Club. According to Costco's website, Price Club, a warehouse club that opened in San Diego in 1976, only served small businesses. They eventually opened memberships up to the public, which was a huge success. This inspired James Sinegal to launch the first official Costco location in Seattle in 1983. It didn't take long for Costco's business to bloom—the "club" mentality was seen as exclusive, which was pretty appealing to the public.
The first public warehouse was a converted airplane hangar, which was very fitting, considering the immense supply of available products. Costco's goal was simple: Keep costs down and pass the savings onto their members. And the public ate it up.
Obviously, Costco has traded out boxy televisions (like in the above image) for sleek flatscreens. The store has always been a one-stop shop for consumers. Never before could you buy furniture, food, electronics, and jewelry—all in one store. Costco changed the shopping game.
In 1985, a hot dog cart opened inside the store. The price of a hot dog and a soda was $1.50, and if you're a Costco lover like us, you'll know that the price hasn't changed since then. As the Chicago Tribune states, the $1.50 hot dog combo has made it through nearly seven presidential administrations, which is worth celebrating. They've expanded their food menu since then, now selling pizza, churros, chicken bakes, and even acai bowls.
A year after the grand debut, Costco expanded and opened locations in Portland and Spokane. Flash forward more than three decades, the big-box powerhouse is beloved at 550 locations worldwide. Although the products change and adapt to the latest and greatest on the market (we're looking at you, @CostcoDoesItAgain), Costco's mission and methods have stayed the same throughout its history. Never change, Costco.