Peek behind the scenes as documentary examines ‘Costco Craze’

April 24, 2012

By Staff

Issaquah-based Costco sells $4 billion in produce, almost $2 billion in televisions, 55 million rotisserie chickens, 2.6 billion gallons of gasoline and 3 million pairs of eyeglasses each year.

The largest warehouse club chain on the planet is the subject of a CNBC documentary, “The Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant,” scheduled to debut April 26.

Costco, as the largest employer in Issaquah, employs about 2,700 people in corporate offices and at the flagship warehouse in Pickering Place.

What to know

‘The Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant’

Carl Quintanilla examines how Costco expanded to 600 stores and $93 billion in annual sales by attracting affluent customers and shoppers on a budget. The documentary also explores the “Costco Effect” — the tendency of Costco members to succumb to discounts and buy more than expected.

The documentary introduces viewers to 76-year-old Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal. Quintanilla joins Sinegal on a marathon, multistore tour.

Craig Jelinek succeeded Sinegal as Costco CEO in January.

In Issaquah, a daily parade of anxious vendors trek to Costco headquarters to show off wares.

The company headquarters relocated from Kirkland to Issaquah in 1996 — hence the Kirkland Signature name on store-brand products.

CNBC follows the chain’s head toy buyer through the intense process of narrowing down more than 1,000 toys to a handful.

Viewers also meet Costco wine buyer Annette Alvarez-Peters, a global force in the wine industry. Costco is the top importer of high-end French wines on the globe.

Though Costco sells a broad array of items — luxury purses, Swiss watches, dog food — the best-selling item is toilet paper. The warehouse giant sells more than 1 billion rolls each year, or enough to wrap around the Earth 1,200 times.

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