The new 154,000-square-foot warehouse opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday, becoming Costco’s 100th Canadian location. It is also the largest location in the Edmonton region, which now has seven Costco Warehouses.
The new shopping opportunity is expected to increase traffic in the area. Airport officials anticipate extra traffic on area roads at least through the weekend.
However, the president and CEO of EIA said they’re well prepared for the influx of people and vehicles.
“With all the things we’ve had opening and are going to be opening at the airport, we’ve spent a lot of planning over the years for this,” Tom Ruth said on Wednesday morning. “There were new roadways that were put in, new access points. We worked with Alberta Transportation and the local community to make sure that we could handle the traffic.
By 8 a.m., the parking lot of the new store appeared to be nearly full.
“Congestion has been okay. It’s something we planned for,” Ruth said. “The peaks and valleys will be different when you think about store hours, when they open, and passenger, when they’re coming in and out of the airport. We’ve been able to pretty well level all that out.”
“Typical peak shopping traffic usually occurs at different times of the day than peak vehicle traffic to the airport. However, during the first few days that the EIA Costco will be open, there will be additional people coming early to shop, some of whom may be finding their way around EIA for the first time,” the airport said in a media release on Tuesday.
Costco warehouse manager Earle Genik said they anticipate being busy right off the bat, but expect things to settle down over the next week to week-and-a-half.
“I think we’ve learned from our past experiences,” Genik said.
The new airport location is expected to help relieve some of the pressure from the Costco in the area of 23 Avenue and 91 Street in south Edmonton, which Genik said is the busiest location in the city.
“It’s going to allow the people from the south of Edmonton another outlet to shop at,” he said.
Edmonton Transit, Leduc Transit and EIA’s On Airport Transit will provide buses to the Costco warehouse. Additional traffic control personnel were also called in.
The new Nisku Costco, which includes a gas station and liquor store, is located just off the QEII Highway at Airport Road. It sits north of the Premium Outlet Collection EIA mall, which opened in May.
Watch below: Chopper video of the lineup of shoppers at the Premium Outlet Collection Edmonton International Airport shopping centre on opening day.
With files from Karen Bartko, Global News.