BAYONNE, NJ - Perhaps feeling a hint of vindication Mayor James Davis stood at the entrance of Costco Thursday as the nationally recognized retailer opened the doors for the first time to their new Bayonne location.
Customers huddled in the store’s entrance way well before opening time, eager to take advantage of what several referred to separately as great deals and quality products.
While political opponents tried to discredit news of the project as nothing more than a political ploy, Davis stood his ground, and, telling TAPinto Bayonne that at his first meeting with the eventual developer he asked specifically for a Costco to be built on the site, greeted several residents by name as they made their way in the door.
“I’ve been waiting for this day since they announced Costco was coming to Bayonne,” longtime resident Joe Nicoletti said as he made his way up and down the aisles. Referring to himself as the “family shopper” Nicoletti suggested he’d be coming back later in the day and continue shopping at the new location. The good prices, he added, “make life easier.”
Like other stores, Costco management said, the Bayonne warehouse will offer quality, brand-name and private-label merchandise at “incredible values.” Included in the store are a number of specialty departments including Fresh Bakery, Fresh Meat, Pharmacy, Hearing Aid Center, and Food Court. A Costco gas station is also located at the site and open for business.
To keep up with opening day demand there were a number of computer terminals set up just before the store’s entrance allowing new guests to sign up for the memberships required to shop inside. While memberships start at $60 each one employee joked that customers will easily get their value on that in free samples alone. And while the samples on opening day, ranging from steak, pasta, and meatballs, to fresh apples, yogurt, and breakfast bars didn’t disappoint, prospective members were also told of other benefits including the already low prices and availability of discounts on travel, eyewear, and other items.
Talitha Bembry waited anxiously for the doors to open saying she was excited for the “prices and the food,” while Cathy O’Day, an avowed Costco fan said that it was “prices and quality,” that keeps her going back. Both also agreed that the new store upped Bayonne’s reputation.
“This is positive, it’s good for jobs,” Bembry said while O’Day said that the introduction of the sought after brand locally showed that “Bayonne is advancing.”
Asked later about his statement that it was his goal to bring Costco to Bayonne Davis mentioned that the jobs created for Bayonne residents, nearly 100, were an important factor to him. “We can’t just develop our city, we have to created jobs,” and this employer, he said, is ranked nationally as one of the top places to work.
With an April groundbreaking expected on a retail project that will included a fitness center, small supermarket, and “a couple of restaurant chains,” the Costco is only one small component of the overall redevelopment slated for the site that once housed the Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY), Joseph Forgione, founder and principal of JMF Properties reminded TAPinto Bayonne.
Crediting his investment to a “willingness to support development, streamline approvals, and stand behind projects,” by Davis and his Administration, Forgione suggested that in Bayonne redevelopment is a “partnership you don’t see in other communities.”
The introduction of 651 homes to the area also set the Forgione’s plans apart from others he saw, Davis said. “His was the only plan that talked about building a neighborhood.”
Asked whether the all of the new construction, and residents it is slated to bring to Bayonne is changing the complexion of Paterson Nicoletti offered his belief that it is, but for the better. “It’s a great thing,” he suggested, “it’s one of the reasons I stay here.”
“I love it here.”
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