Springfield’s Costco, Republic’s Amazon both opening in August

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:57 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - They are brands well-known to people all over the country and many area residents have been excited about their arrival in the Ozarks whether they’re a consumer or a job seeker.

Costco and Amazon are both about to open for business in August.

Angela Bauer, the General Manager of the new Costco in east Springfield, allowed KY3 to get the first look at the inside of its warehouse on Thursday. With its shiny floors, wide aisles and assortment of merchandise already in place, Bauer said she was excited to witness the excitement of area shoppers as the opening is just under three weeks away.

“We will open our doors at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, August 18th,” Bauer revealed. “We’ll have a small ribbon cutting with Mayor McClure. As far as construction goes we’re between 90-95 percent done. There are some final things we have to do as far as finishing up the gas station. We have 242 people on staff at this time and we’ve hired 185-190 employees from within the community with a really exceptional quality of people here in Springfield.”

Costco is a well-known chain of membership-only big-box retail stores. As of 2020, Costco was the fifth largest retailer in the world, and Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said the city had been trying to get the industry giant to come to the Ozarks for years. The new 160,000 square-foot facility has 700 parking places available and the shopping carts in the parking lot are already in place ready to greet the first customers.

“We sell everything from chocolate chips to computers,” Bauer said. “If that doesn’t fancy you we have a pharmacy, an eye doctor on-site, we perform hearing tests, you name it. Our goal is to be a part of the community and make shopping fun and easy.”

This is the sixth Costco construction project that Bauer has overseen and she said that despite the pandemic, acquiring construction materials, merchandise and hiring employees went rather smoothly.

“We work so well with our vendors and construction companies that with our overall reputation we haven’t really had that many challenges,” she said.

And as to what COVID-19 protocols customers will be expected to follow when the warehouse opens?

“We’re always going to follow the CDC guidelines and we’re always going to follow what the city recommends,” Bauer answered.

And if you’d like your own sneak peek, starting on Friday, July 30 you can visit the warehouse’s entry area and sign-up for a membership.

“You can get a feel for the facility and kind of map out what you want to do on grand opening day,” Bauer said.

Meanwhile in Republic another global giant is about to open as the 1.3 million square-foot Amazon Distribution Warehouse is in its final stages of construction.

Amazon is the largest internet revenue company in the world and their distribution warehouses are where employees pick, pack, and ship customer orders.

Republic Community Development Director Andrew Nelson works with Amazon in granting them occupancy clearance and fulfilling the city’s building requirements.

“They targeted August 1st for their employees to start internal operations and we’re told that they may be sending packages out of the facility as early as August 8th,” he said.

The facility will employ 1,800 people and a large mound of dirt located next to the facility is a vivid reminder of an amazing feat at this site. From the time they started moving dirt-to-completion of the facility, Amazon has put up a 28-acre huge warehouse in just over 10 months.

“There was a day we saw a full-sized semi-truck sitting in the middle (of the warehouse) and it kind of looked like a little Hot-Wheels car out there,” Nelson said with a smile. “That really puts it in perspective of how much space is actually under that roof. Early on when it was just a shell I don’t even think you could shout at someone from one end and hear it at the other end.”

Amazon also paid over $4 million for street improvements along Highway MM with new traffic signals, turn lanes and pavement because of the increased traffic.

And the plan is for more improvements and commercial development to follow.

“What we’re seeing already is people are wanting to locate near Amazon,” Nelson explained. “From the logistical standpoint if you’re a supplier proximity is going to be a big deal. There’s also 1,800 employees who are going to be needing housing and food and we’ll be seeing interest in that area because of that. We’re also going to look to partner with the state and county to invest even farther in MM highway. We’re looking at five lanes potentially from James River Freeway all the way to I-44. And then the portion from James River south we’re looking at three lanes. In probably two-to-five years we’ll start engineering and really looking at construction on the highway.”

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