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Price Club was the pioneer of the warehouse store, founded by Sol Price in San Diego, California. Price came up with the Price Club concept in 1975 after being forced out of FedMart, another retail chain he founded. He and a few friends put up $2.5 million in capital to open the first Price Club on July 12, 1976 at 4605 Morena Boulevard, San Diego, the former site of a manufacturing building once owned by Howard Hughes, now Costco warehouse 401.
Club membership was initially only available to business customers, but was later opened up to certain groups, such as employees of local businesses, nonprofits, or government. The company charged shoppers a $25 annual membership fee to purchase bulk products at discount prices in a no-frills warehouse setting. Price Club's high sales volume enabled Price to give his employees more benefits and higher wages than typical retailers. The company expanded throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. In 1992, Price Club earned $134.1 million on $6.6 billion in revenue from 94 locations.
Price Club merged with rival Costco in 1993 and the combined company was known as PriceCostco. For a brief period of time, both Price Club and Costco continued to operate as two separate stores with members of each chain being able to shop at both stores with their membership cards. In 1997, PriceCostco became Costco Wholesale Corporation and the remaining Price Clubs were rebranded with the Costco marque.
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- Coriolis Research Ltd. (June 2004). "Understanding Costco". Retrieved 2011-01-05.
- The Costco Connection (January 2012). "The empire built on values". Retrieved 2011-01-05.
- Costco Wholesale Corporation. "Store 401 Location". Retrieved 2011-01-05.
- Muir, Frederick (1985-03-11). "Price Co. ties its success to low prices: 9-year-old retailing giant nearly doubled earnings each year". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
- Eisner, Peter (2009-12-15). "Price Club changed America's shopping experience". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
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