Price Club

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Price Club
FoundedJuly 12, 1976; 45 years ago (1976-07-12)
San Diego, California, U.S.
FounderSol Price
Defunct1997; 25 years ago (1997)
FateMerged with Costco
United States
Number of locations
94 warehouses (1993)
Area served
North America

Price Club was a warehouse store chain, founded by Sol Price in San Diego, California. Price devised the Price Club concept in 1975 after being forced out of FedMart, another retail chain he founded. Price and a few of his friends put up $2.5 million in capital to open the first Price Club on July 12, 1976[1] at 4605 Morena Boulevard, San Diego, the former site of a manufacturing building Howard Hughes once owned.[2][3]

Price Club would eventually merge with one of its competitors, Costco Wholesale, and the combined company would eventually take on the Costco name. The original warehouse that Sol Price started Price Club with is still open, operating as Costco location #401.[4]

The original Price Club location pictured in 2018 under the Costco branding

Club membership was initially only available to business customers, but was later opened to certain groups, such as employees of local businesses, nonprofits, and government.[5] 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.[6]

Price Club merged with rival Costco in 1993[7][8] and the combined company was known as PriceCostco. For a brief period, Price Club and Costco continued to operate as two separate stores with members of either 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 as Costco.


  1. ^ Markowitz, Arthur (1988-08-22). "Discounting Hall of Fame: Sol Price: his deeds speak louder than words - founder of Price Club". Discount Store News. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  2. ^ Coriolis Research Ltd. (June 2004). "Understanding Costco" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  3. ^ The Costco Connection (January 2012). "The empire built on values". Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  4. ^ Costco Wholesale Corporation. "Store 401 Location". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Eisner, Peter (2009-12-15). "Price Club changed America's shopping experience". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  7. ^ White, George & Kraul, Chris (June 17, 1993). "Price Co., Costco Warehouse Stores to Merge". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Bryant, Adam (June 17, 1993). "Costco Set To Merge With Price". New York Times.