This post might be useful if you're trying to decide between the two.
I've been a Costco member for the past 2 years. In that time, a BJ's warehouse store opened about 5 minutes from my house (right across the street from Fairway). Now, Costco is not that far away but it is two towns over. It would be wonderful if I could do all my shopping closer to home, i.e. at Fairway and BJ's (but still driving 3 towns over to get to Trader Joe's every other week). So when my Costco membership lapsed, I decided to give BJ's a try. I signed up for the 60-day trial membership to see if I could make a go of it.
Here are some of the things Costco has but BJ's doesn't:
- organic brown rice
- Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers
- Flax Plus granola
- old-fashioned rolled oats
- organic peanut butter
- organic (low-sugar) strawberry preserves
- organic frozen corn and mixed vegetables
- organic soy milk
- Kirkland signature mesquite seasoning
- organic dried thyme, oregano and basil
- fish sticks (which are mostly fish and a very thin layer of breading)
- Kirkland toilet paper (which is awesome, by the way)
Some thingss that BJ's has going for it:
- the fruits and veggies are generally fresh (though not the last time I went) and many of the veggies are are sold in smaller quantities (Costco sells, I think, a 7# bag of organic carrots but BJ's carries a reasonable 3# bag)
- I really liked the layout of BJ's. The aisles are all clearly marked so you don't have to walk down every aisle to find something. Costco recently changed the whole store around and you couldn't find anything or anyone to ask--it was quite frustrating.
- BJ's has self-checkout lanes which is great for getting in and out quickly.
- My kids love the fact that they have those car shopping carts (which drive me insane with their inability to be maneuvered)
The first couple of weeks of the BJs trial membership, I thought I might try to have a membership at both places but I didn't think I could re-coup my membership fee. Or maybe I could make BJ's work by plugging the holes with Trader Joe's. I think I decided against that particular option because:
- while Trader Joe's carries the Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers, they are smaller than the Costco ones and cost more per burger
- Trader Joe's fish sticks are smaller and cost almost two times as much as the ones carried at Costco.
- Flax Plus is far more expensive at Trader Joe's than Costco
I'm disappointed in my local Costco because they stopped carrying organic quinoa and organic sugar. I know I really should write a letter and maybe these two items will come back. Despite my disappointment, it makes more sense to continue as a Costco member. The fruits are not the worst (I stay away from their bananas though) and they have a nice organic spinach they carry. Also, I mainly buy fruits and veggies at Fairway and Trader Joe's (only sometimes though because their produce is iffy although I can rely on their celery and lettuce being fresh) since I can get organics there (especially the Dirty Dozen.
I wish BJ's had worked out. It would have been super-convenient. I'm going to focus on only having to go far every other week (Trader Joe's and Costco one week and Fairway only the other week). I don't want to drag the kids to three stores at every shopping excursion. So I have to be smart about what and how much I buy.
Do you have a wholesale club membership? Has it worked out for you?