Melbourne Viera Costco opens; shoppers camp out to get hard-to-find gaming consoles
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Brevard Costco shoppers, you may now fill your carts.
By 7 a.m. Thursday, the parking lot at the 16-acre site was deceptively empty, but a line of about 200 people wrapped around the building.
The door to the 148,000 square-foot wholesale warehouse rolled up just after 7:30 a.m., admitting a surge of people, some who had been waiting since 8 p.m. Wednesday.
"Let's make this amazing," said warehouse manager Mike Sinanian, as he cut the ceremonial ribbon.
Located at 4305 Pineda Causeway just west of Interstate 95, this the Space Coast's first Costco.
"Today's been a long time in the making," said Todd J. Pokrywa, president of The Viera Company.
He called the Issaquah, Washington-based wholesale warehouse a critical gateway into the newest phase of Viera. It's the first anchor in the Pineda Interchange District, which includes neighborhoods and mixed-use projects in varying stages of development that eventually will span 3,000 acres west of the Costco site.
"We're excited to welcome Costco to Viera and to the Space Coast," Pokrywa said.
Viera High School soccer teammates Conner Floyd, 18, Yordan Torres, 16 and Yorgen Torres were excited, too. They arrived in the Costco parking lot at 1 a.m. Thursday, just in time to watch a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch.
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Armed with chairs, blankets and a small pop-up tent, they were on a mission to score hard-to-find Xbox Series X gaming consoles.
They weren't even the first to arrive.
Justin Balram, Alyssa Benson and Gustavo Gomez of Orlando got there around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. They came in search of another gaming console in short supply: PlayStation's PS5.
But even they weren't first.
Nick Levija and Henry Hernandez, also from the Orlando area and also in search of gaming consoles, set up camp near the front entrance with other friends at about 8 p.m.
"We had a tent, a cot, four chairs and a lot of Red Bull," Levija said.
About 30 minutes before the store opened, Costco employees handed out IOU cards to those at the front of the line to ensure they got the prized electronics.
The Rev. Brad Beaupre, retired pastor of Viera's St. John the Evangelist Catholic Community, was another eager Costco shopper.
"I've been waiting on this for a long time," said Beaupre, who has shopped at Costco in Massachusetts. "I've always felt Costco was better than the others in terms of the products and the attention they give you."
Michael Ayers, president and CEO of the Melbourne Regional Chamber, said Costco has made a significant investment in the Space Coast community, as well as bringing 210 jobs.
"People have been waiting years for this," he said. "It's exciting to see it come to fruition."
Cheryl Clark, senior manager of partnership development for the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce, presented Sinanian with a plaque commemorating the occasion just before he cut the ribbon.
"We're thrilled to have Costco in our community," she said.
Hours for the Melbourne-Viera Costco are 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Memberships start at $60; membership is required to shop.
Suzy Fleming Leonard is a veteran features journalist. You can reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can find her on Facebook: @SuzyFlemingLeonard or on Instagram: @SuzyLeonard
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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Long-awaited Melbourne-Viera Costco opens on the Space Coast