Young philanthropists cook up Canvas and Cupcake Fundraiser

February 19, 2013

Chirag Vedullapalli and Amol Garg, like other 12- and 13-year-olds, love making art.

They also love helping others, and two have teamed up to host an afternoon of creative fun for children in the hopes of raising enough money to fulfill one child’s dream through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

“Both of us are passionate about art and we like giving to charity, so we came up with an idea to help charity and follow our passion at the same time,” said Amol.

Contributed Costco CFO Richard Galanti (left) and CEO W. Craig Jelinek meet with Chirag Vedullapalli and Amol Garg to discuss the young boys’ organization Creative Children for Charity. One of their events is the Canvas and Cupcake Fundraiser, selling paintings (above right) for Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Contributed
Costco CFO Richard Galanti (left) and CEO W. Craig Jelinek meet with Chirag Vedullapalli and Amol Garg to discuss the young boys’ organization Creative Children for Charity. One of their events is the Canvas and Cupcake Fundraiser, selling paintings (above right) for Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The seventh grade student at Pine Lake Middle School added that as he speaks both Hindi and English, art is his third language.

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Costco CEO tells president not to raise middle-class taxes

November 27, 2012

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told President Barack Obama not to raise taxes on the middle class, after the president called Jelinek to discuss the looming “fiscal cliff” — tax hikes and spending cuts poised to go into effect Jan. 1.

Jelinek, Issaquah-based Costco’s CEO since January and a longtime company executive, offered support for a compromise between Obama and Congress to avoid a tax increase for middle-class taxpayers. The president called Jelinek on Nov. 17, in a broad effort to reach out to the business community.

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Costco CEO tells president not to raise middle-class taxes as ‘fiscal cliff’ nears

November 20, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 20, 2012

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told President Barack Obama not to raise taxes on the middle class, after the president called Jelinek to discuss the looming “fiscal cliff” — tax hikes and spending cuts poised to go into effect Jan. 1.

Jelinek, Issaquah-based Costco’s CEO since January and a longtime company executive, offered support for a compromise between Obama and Congress to avoid a tax increase for middle-class taxpayers. The president called Jelinek on Nov. 17, in a broad effort to reach out to the business community.

Costco employs more than 115,000 workers in the United States, including about 2,700 people in Issaquah. Jelinek told the president the company’s middle-class employees and customers — particularly small business owners — “have borne the brunt of the recession.”

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Costco looms large in race between Barack Obama, Mitt Romney

October 30, 2012

Pundits claim the presidential contest could hinge on so-called Walmart moms, but another discount chain is often mentioned on the campaign trail, too.

Jim Sinegal

Both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney embraced Issaquah-based Costco on the stump, albeit for different reasons.

Support from Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal allows Obama to highlight a business success in a feeble economy. The affluent Romney’s affinity for Costco allows the former Massachusetts governor to project a more down-to-earth image.

“Costco’s story is the American story,” Sinegal proclaimed to delegates and dignitaries in a September speech at the Democratic National Convention focused on job creation and the economy.

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University of Washington students protest Palermo’s Pizza at Costco headquarters

August 28, 2012

University of Washington student activists rallied at Costco’s Issaquah headquarters Aug. 24 to protest the chain’s affiliation with Palermo’s Pizza.

The members of UW United Students Against Sweatshops, a labor rights group, demanded to meet Costco CEO Craig Jelinek to request the company end a contract with Milwaukee-based Palermo’s Pizza. The pizza maker is under criticism for labor practices at a Wisconsin plant.

Costco is a major purchaser of Palermo’s Pizza products.

“Costco, a company with an admirable record toward its own employees, has an opportunity to take a stand,” Leo Baunach, UW United Students Against Sweatshops member, said in a statement. “Costco should end their business relationship with Palermo’s and do right by the workers who are fighting for fair treatment in their workplace.”

Costco cofounder supports, hosts President Obama

July 31, 2012

Jim Sinegal

Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election July 23 and defended the president’s economic policies, less than 24 hours before Sinegal hosted Obama at a campaign fundraiser.

Sinegal and cofounder Jeffrey Brotman launched Costco in 1983. Sinegal stepped down as CEO in January and handed the reins to Craig Jelinek.

Costco relocated corporate headquarters to Issaquah in the mid-1990s. The company is the largest employer in the city, encompassing about 2,700 employees.

Sinegal’s support for Obama comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lambasted the president’s small business policies.

“You might be seeing some ads or hearing some folks say that President Obama doesn’t support small business owners,” Sinegal wrote in a blog post on the Obama campaign website and in a mass email to supporters. “But he understands that small businesses grow and prosper because of individual initiative — because entrepreneurs like you and me do the hard work it takes, and that we can’t do it alone.”

Obama attended a $35,800-per-person campaign fundraiser and, later, a $5,000-per-plate dinner at Sinegal’s Hunts Point home.

Costco cofounder Jim Sinegal supports, hosts President Obama

July 24, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. July 24, 2012

Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election Monday and defended the president’s economic policies, less than 24 hours before Sinegal hosts Obama at a campaign fundraiser.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal and cofounder Jeffrey Brotman launched Costco in 1983. Sinegal stepped down as CEO in January and handed the reins to Craig Jelinek.

Costco relocated corporate headquarters to Issaquah in the mid-1990s. The company is the largest employer in the city, encompassing about 2,700 people in corporate offices and at the flagship warehouse in Pickering Place.

Sinegal’s support for Obama’s economic policies comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attacked Obama for the phrase, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Romney used the out-of-context remark to portray Obama as denigrating the success of small business owners.

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Peek behind the scenes as documentary examines ‘Costco Craze’

April 24, 2012

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.

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Morningstar names former Costco leader Jim Sinegal as CEO of the Year

January 17, 2012

Costco cofounder and former leader Jim Sinegal is Morningstar’s 2011 CEO of the Year, executives at the Chicago-based financial data provider announced Jan. 4.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal stepped down as CEO of the Issaquah-based warehouse chain Jan. 1. Craig Jelinek, president and former chief operating officer at the No. 3 retailer in the United States and the largest employer in Issaquah, succeeded Sinegal.

Morningstar recognizes a chief executive each year for showing exemplary corporate stewardship, independent thinking and lasting value for shareholders, and for leaving a legacy in his or her industry.

“James Sinegal, who has served as CEO since co-founding Costco in 1983, has created and maintained value for all company stakeholders during his tenure,” Paul Larson, chief equities strategist and editor of Morningstar StockInvestor, said in a statement. “The average Costco employee is attractively compensated relative to other retail workers, keeping employee turnover low and productivity high. Although its top-notch benefits package and superior wages are costly on the surface, the firm is reimbursed handsomely, generating more than $500,000 in sales per employee.”

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Former Costco leader Jim Sinegal is named CEO of the Year

January 4, 2012

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Jan. 4, 2012

Costco cofounder and former leader Jim Sinegal is Morningstar’s 2011 CEO of the Year, executives at the Chicago-based financial data provider announced Wednesday.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal stepped down as CEO of the Issaquah-based warehouse chain Jan. 1. Craig Jelinek, president and chief operating officer at the No. 3 retailer in the United States and the largest employer in Issaquah, succeeded Sinegal.

Morningstar recognizes a chief executive for showing exemplary corporate stewardship, independent thinking, lasting value for shareholders and leaving a legacy in his or her industry.

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