Even if you’re not a Costco member, you’ve surely heard that some things at the wholesale club never change. The food court hot dog price has held firm since 1985. Kirkland Signature Products always prevail. And free samples await customers in every aisle, though they took a brief interruption at the height of the pandemic.
Even so, other products and services in the warehouse are constantly evolving, and in 2022 alone, several major changes have been made to Costco stores nationwide. Despite the traffic rumors of an increase in membership fees this yearthe cost of club admission is still $60 for a Business or Gold Star membership or $120 for an Executive membership.
But, that membership card can now earn you a little more – or in some cases, a little less – than before. Here are some of the most notable changes Costco has made in 2022.
Earlier this year, many were shocked to learn that a few lucky Costco locations come with a little-known added benefit. In addition to filling up at a discount and buying quality tires, these stores offer members a convenient car wash service. For a price of $7.99, buyers receive an exterior wash and wax, tire and wheel cleaning, undercarriage wash, and rust inhibitor and spot-free rinse.
In 2022, Costco added the equipment to another location in Norwalk, California, bringing the state to a total of seven car washes and the entire country to a total of 13 in five states.
According Yelp Reviews, the new Norwalk car wash already has some fans, but also some haters. A happy customer of the car wash gave the location five stars and shared, “As far as drive-through car washes go, I think this one is great. I like that there’s two payment terminals to help keep the line, on my visit in May 2022 they even had employees there who would tape your rear wiper if needed.”
Another not-so-satisfied Costco member wrote that the car wash actually caused damage to his vehicle. “I’ve never seen a costco car wash before and was curious because it was only 7.99 compared to other drive-thru car washes,” she shared. “CURIOSITY HAS SPARKED MY PAINT! I’ve never had this problem at other car washes, spend a few extra bucks and avoid the stress!”
Costco is well known for its bulk and oversized products. But this year in the bakery department, mini items were all the rage. Costco Bakers launched mini versions of nearly every favorite treat this year, and even brought back a few discontinued favorites.
Early 2022, Mini All American Cakes are back at Costco in packs of six. This chocolate treat was then followed by the miniaturization of four other popular cakes–SnickerdoodleCarrot, Red Velvet and the new kid on the block, Raspberry with Buttercream Frosting.
Outside of the cake family, Costco shoppers discovered Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies this year (sold in jars of 60 cookies total!) and Mini Orange Bisconie Cranberries.
Starting July 5, non-Members of the New Jersey Warehouse lost their access to Costco gas stations. In many states, a Costco card has always been required to refuel. But in New Jersey, Costco and other wholesalers offering gas services were told in 2004 that restricting access to members was a violation of state laws on the sale of fuel. Thus, non-members have been able to enjoy this exclusive benefit for almost 20 years.
However, the rule in New Jersey can be reversed yet again, according to fox business. A few state lawmakers have campaigned to make Costco gas available to everyone and have even introduced bills to change the current policy. Stay tuned, New Jersey.
In 2017, Costco Next appeared, giving members another reason to love the big-box retailer. According to Costco, the program offers a limited product selection from some of Costco’s most trusted suppliers. Members are encouraged to shop and purchase directly from participating vendor websites and benefit from exclusive prices and discounts.
A wide range of vendors, from beauty brands to tech companies, are included in the list and more added in 2022. Skincare company Boscia, art brand Disney by Dowdle and tableware and design brand Fitz & Floyd were among the additions, bringing the Costco Next list to a total of 42 vendors selected at the hand. See the full list here.
Costco announced in May that it no longer offer a mortgage program to its members. The program originally launched in 2020 and offered an advantageous cap on lender fees to those who participated – a cap of $250 for executive members and a cap of $550 for all other members.
Costco was not a lender itself, but instead worked with the following mortgage companies: Box Home Loans, CrossCountry Mortgage, Lending.com, Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, NASB, NBKC Bank, Real Genius, and Strong Home Mortgage. When the program ended, members in the process of applying for a loan were asked to contact one of these companies they were working with.
Costco did not provide a specific rationale for ending the service.
If you’ve recently bought a pizza at the Costco food court, you’ve probably noticed this little change on the box (or maybe you were too focused on your delicious pie to notice, we don’t blame you).
Earlier this year, Costco upgraded all of its cardboard pizza boxes to include the How2Recycle label. The label lets consumers know that the boxes are in fact recyclable, despite previous misconceptions that cardboard containing grease should remain in the normal trash pile.
Costco is committed to creating a more environmentally responsible business, and this change is just one of many helping to bring the chain closer to its sustainability goals.
Along with many other stores and major retail chains, Costco launched special hours at the start of the pandemic. This meant that on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, seniors, immunocompromised or disabled shoppers, and first responders, could access the store an hour before other members to shop without exposing themselves to large crowds. Over the past two years, the policy has swung between being available two or five days a week, depending on the number of Covid cases.
Earlier this year, the channel determined that the special hours were no longer necessary and shut them down completely on April 18. Costco has also become lax about many other Covid-related policies. For example, face mask requirements have been removed across the country and purchase limits on various items appear to have been dropped.
The retailer’s 2022 New Year’s resolution was to open more than 20 new sites worldwide— a goal that Costco has more than achieved. More than a handful of these new stores opened on US soil, particularly in the second half of the year.
The town of Riverton, Utah welcomed its first store in May after nearly two years of anticipation. In August, a slew of new warehouses opened in the following US cities: Murrieta, California; Verona, Wisconsin; St. Augustine, Florida; and College Station, Texas. Another Costco was added in University City, Mo. this week, and six more are expected to follow before the end of the year in Utah, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, California and Washington.
Additionally, 2022 has brought confirmation of an upcoming opening a store in Scarborough, Maine– the very first Costco in the state. This development would just leave Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wyoming without wholesale club access.