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Fort Wayne Costco rises

Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 6:48 am

Construction has begun on what will become Fort Wayne's first Costco store later this year.

Crews this week have continued moving earth and erecting the steel framework of a 150,000-square foot building along Lima Road just south of Interstate 69. The store is scheduled to open Oct. 16, said Melanie Crysler, who was recently named “warehouse manager” of the store now under construction.

“We're right on schedule with construction,” she said.

Crysler, who had been an assistant warehouse manager in Detroit, was in Fort Wayne earlier this week visiting the work site. She said that in typical store openings, Costco gets possession of the building five weeks before the new store opens for business.

The stores require that much lead time not only to equip and stock the building, but also to train the staff.

She said staffing at Costco will probably fall between 160 and 180 workers, and the company tries to strike a 50/50 balance between full-time and part-time workers. Some of those workers -- she doesn't yet know how many -- will be transfers from Costco operations elsewhere. But even entry-level hires will start out with an advantage that has helped Costco win a reputation as a desirable place to work: The starting pay is $11.50 an hour, more than 50 percent higher than minimum wage.

According to plans filed with local planners last year, Costco also will include a fuel center. A new Kelley Chevrolet dealership will lie adjacent to Costco, too.

Crysler said Costco will include a grocery store, produce, a bakery, meats and a deli, as well as a wide range of other goods from a tire store, appliances and electronics to a food court and a pharmacy.