Dear Mr. Sinegal,
I have always loved shopping at Costco. You all offer great value on brand-name merchandise. A few months ago, my family and I moved from Denver, Colorado to Cedar Rapids, in the eastern part of Iowa. Imagine my disappointment when I found out there were not a Costco in Cedar Rapids (the second largest city in the state of Iowa), or even within 100 miles of the Cedar Rapids area (the closest Costco is in Des Moines, greater than 120 miles away).
People move to Cedar Rapids from all over the US (Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Texas, etc.) and all over the world (China, Taiwan, India, etc.) to work for companies such as AEGON, Rockwell Collins, and Quaker Oats. One of the things we miss around here is not having Costco close enough to use for our shopping needs. I even leaned that a small group of locals periodically make the two-plus hours drive to stock up at the Des Moines Costco location.
According to my research, people with an American Express Costco card spend around 1,300 dollars a month on groceries, restaurant outings and gas. However, 98.3 percent of us who move to Iowa discontinue our Costco membership card within a month of moving because of the lack of locations that we can feasibly visit.
Based on conversations with friends, neighbors and coworkers, I believe it would make sense for Costco to at least examine the potential benefits of opening a Costco somewhere along the area known as the Eastern Iowa Corridor %u2013 which includes the communities of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City (separated by just 25 miles) and the communities of Cedar Falls & Waterloo (just over 1 hour to the North).
The economies of Cedar Rapids (rapidly expanding with Rockwell Collins, AEGON and Quaker) and Iowa City (buoyed by the University of Iowa) are very health, and contain a diverse and cosmopolitan population that would relish the chance to support a Costco. There are also already so many of us here who%u2019ve come from other areas and would immediately renew our Costco cards as soon as a location broke ground in the area. In addition, The Cedar Rapids area zip codes 52233 and 52302 would be two areas that I would propose as ideal for Costco, because of large young suburban family populations and easy access to Interstate highway 380 connecting Iowa City to Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls/Waterloo.
In summary, I feel that the following present an undeniable opportunity for Costco to open a successful warehouse in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area:
1. Cedar Rapids is the second largest state in Iowa. Forbes Magazine named Iowa City the third Best Small Metropolitan Area in the United States in 2004.
2. Cedar Rapids has a healthy economy with 10,671 registered businesses. We are now an influx of young suburban middle to upper class families which consists of young people who have return to Iowa after their education. The growing demographic is an ideal target for Costco.
3. People would appreciate this one stop shop to fulfill business and personal need.
4. People are willing to drive to up to four ho a Costco.
5. Iowans are willing and able to support a Costco warehouse.
We want great prices on quality name-brand merchandise that Costco can offer us! We want a Costco of our own!