COSTCO: Blessing or a Curse?

COSTCO is coming! Before I get going, I want to disclose that Realty World Selzer Realty is the listing agent for the property COSTCO will build on. That doesn’t change what I’m about to write, but it’s always important to be up front.

Will COSTCO mean boom or bust for Ukiah? When you ask someone on the street, they say:

It’s great! It’ll bring new jobs that pay higher-than-average wages for our area. It will lower the cost of consumer goods and make a greater variety of goods available locally. It will help us keep retail dollars in Ukiah and the associated sales tax, too. It’ll make Ukiah a regional shopping hub, bringing shoppers from other local communities. Those visitors will purchase goods and services from others in Ukiah like restaurants or something from a local specialty store, bolstering our local economy. The additional tax revenue will strengthen government services like police and fire protection as well as road maintenance. The increased commercial activity at the Airport Boulevard Business Park will attract other commercial endeavors to the area and we’ll see a flourishing microcosm of commercial activity. People who currently drive to Santa Rosa will save the gas, thus reducing our carbon footprint. These benefits easily outweigh any negatives that COSTCO might bring.

The next person you ask about COSTCO will tell you it’s terrible! COSTCO’s just another big box store that will drive out local businesses, cause traffic congestion specifically at Talmage and Airport Boulevard as well as other intersections, move retail profits from local businesses to COSTCO’s corporate structure, create an ocean of asphalt that contributes to global warming, and add street lights that cause light pollution which will block our view of stars in the night sky. It will be a strain on local resources (e.g., water, sewer, road maintenance) and hurt the communities from which shoppers travel to come to COSTCO. You can’t buy one 12-ounce can of baked beans; you have to buy a gallon, so the money you supposedly save by buying in bulk actually encourages overbuying and waste. These negatives far outweigh any benefits COSTCO could bring.

And the killer is, they’re both right. Whether or not COSTCO is a net gain or loss depends in large part on your personal perspective.

However, objectively (I think), I believe that the average pay for COSTCO employees is higher than the average retail pay in Ukiah, which will bode well for the average working family as they climb the housing ladder, either in a home they wish to own or rent. Also, the commercial area around Airport Boulevard will likely see more activity, which will probably increase real estate prices in that area and bolster future development.

COSTCO is likely to promote an increase in development, which may or may not benefit you personally, but it is likely to lower the cost of shopping in Ukiah.

At the end of each column I always ask if you have a question you would like to see addressed in this article. Well, if you make a suggestion I use, you earn a $5.00 gift card at Schat’s Bakery & Cafe. So let’s hear them.

Next time I’ll write about roofing. If there’s something you would like me to write about or if you have questions about real estate or property management, feel free to contact me at or visit our website at If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.


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