Even if you’re not a Costco member, you’ve probably heard that some things in the wholesale club never change. The price of hot dogs in the food court has been constant since 1985. Kirkland Signature products always win out. And free samples await customers at each aisle — despite having taken a brief break at the height of the pandemic.
Even so, other products and services are constantly evolving across the camp, and in 2022 alone, there have been several major changes at Costco stores across the country. Despite rumors of a membership fee increase this year, the cost of joining the club is still $60 for a Business or Gold Star membership, or $120 for an Executive membership.
But this membership card might get you a little more now – or in some cases a little less – than it used to be. Here are some of the most notable changes Costco has made in 2022.
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Another Costco car wash opened
Costco car wash
Earlier this year, many were shocked to learn that some lucky Costco locations come with a little-known added benefit. In addition to discounted fuel and the purchase of quality tires, these shops offer members a convenient car wash service. Priced at $7.99, buyers get an exterior wash and wax, tire and wheel cleaning, undercarriage wash and rust preventive, and spot-free conditioner.
In 2022, Costco added the facility to another location in Norwalk, California, bringing the state to a total of seven car wash facilities and the entire country to 13 total across five states.
According to Yelp reviews, the new Norwalk car wash already has a few fans — but also a few enemies. A satisfied car wash customer gave the site a five star rating and shared: “As far as drive thru car washes go, I think these are great. Visited in May 2022, they even had staff out there to help with your back wiper if needed.” attach tape.”
The story goes on
Another not-so-satisfied Costco member wrote that the car wash actually caused damage to their 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. “NOVELIA HAS CHIPED MY PAINT! I’ve never had this problem going through other car washes, just spend a few bucks more and save yourself the hassle!”
The bakery introduced a variety of mini treats
Costco Mini All American Cakes
Costco is known for its bulk and plus size products. But this year, mini items are all the rage in the bakery department. Costco bakers released mini versions of almost every popular treat this year and even brought back a few discontinued favorites.
In early 2022, Mini All American Cakes returned to Costco in packs of six. This chocolatey treat was followed by the miniaturization of four other popular cakes – Snickerdoodle, Carrot, Red Velvet and the new kid on the bakery block, Raspberry with Buttercream Frosting.
Outside of the cake family, this year Costco shoppers discovered mini chocolate chip cookies (sold in tubs containing 60 cookies total!) and mini cranberry orange biscons.
New Jersey Costcos changed its gas policy
Car gets gas at Costco gas station
Beginning July 5, non-Warehouse members in New Jersey lost their access to Costco’s gas stations. Many states have always required a Costco card to fill up your tank. But in New Jersey, Costco and other gas service wholesalers were told as early as 2004 that restricting members’ access was a violation of state fuel sales laws. So non-members have been able to benefit from this exclusive benefit for almost 20 years.
However, according to Fox Business, the rule could be reversed once again in New Jersey. Some state legislators have lobbied to make Costco’s gas available to all and have even introduced bills to change current policies. Stay tuned, New Jersey.
Costco Next welcomed new vendors
costco next brands
In 2017, Costco Next emerged, giving members another reason to love the big-box retailer. According to Costco, the program includes a selection of limited products from some of Costco’s most trusted suppliers. Members are invited to shop directly from participating vendor websites and receive exclusive prices and discounts.
The list includes a wide range of vendors, from beauty brands to tech companies, and more were added throughout 2022. Costco Next lists a total of 42 handpicked vendors. Check out the full list here.
Costco has ended its mortgage program
Costco announced in May that it would no longer offer a mortgage program to its members. The program originally launched in 2020 and offered participants an advantageous lender fee cap – a $250 cap for Executive members and a $550 cap for all other members.
Costco was not itself a lender but worked with the following mortgage lenders: Box Home Loans, CrossCountry Mortgage, Lending.com, Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, NASB, NBKC Bank, Real Genius, and Strong Home Mortgage. After the program was discontinued, members who wanted to apply for a loan were advised to contact one of these companies they had worked with.
Costco did not provide specific reasons for the termination of the service.
Food court pizza boxes have a fresh new look
Costco food court pizza
If you recently picked up a pizza from the Costco Food Court, chances are you spotted that 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 pizza boxes with the How2Recycle label. The label alerts consumers that the cartons are indeed recyclable – despite previous misconceptions that greasy cartons should be left in the regular landfill.
Costco is committed to creating a greener business, and this change is just one of many helping bring the chain closer to its sustainability goals.
All Costco warehouses have suspended Covid hours
costco covid safety sign
Along with many other stores and large retail chains, Costco introduced special hours at the beginning of the pandemic. This meant seniors, immunocompromised shoppers or those with disabilities and first responders could enter the store an hour before other members on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to shop without exposing themselves to large crowds. In recent years the policy has been switched between two or five days a week depending on the number of Covid cases.
Earlier this year, the chain realized that the extra hours were no longer needed and discontinued them entirely on April 18. Costco has also become lax on many other Covid-related policies. For example, face mask requirements have been dropped across the country and purchase restrictions on various items appear to have fallen by the wayside.
Costco has cut ribbons across the country
The retailer’s New Year’s resolution for 2022 was to open over 20 new locations worldwide — a goal that Costco has largely achieved. More than a handful of these new stores opened on American soil, particularly in the second half of the year.
The city of Riverton, Utah, welcomed its first store in May after almost two years of anticipation. In August, a number of new camps opened in the following US cities: Murrieta, California; Verona, Wisconsin; St Augustine, Florida; and College Station, Texas. Another Costco was added this week in University City, Mo., and six more are expected to follow before the end of the year in Utah, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, California and Washington.
Additionally, 2022 brought confirmation of an imminent store opening in Scarborough, Maine — the state’s first-ever Costco. This development would leave only Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wyoming without wholesale club access.
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