Thousands already have signed up for memberships

LOVES PARK — Fred Pitthan of Rockford signed up Wednesday for the basic Gold Star membership at Costco Wholesale, which opens its 150,000-square-foot retail warehouse to the public at 8 a.m. Aug. 23.

"I heard about the beef," Pitthan said, explaining one of the reasons he plans to shop at Costco. The store offers "prime" cuts of some beef, a higher grade than the typical "choice" most offered elsewhere. Another reason he plans to shop at the business: "The selection," he said.

Pitthan is one of more than 5,000 people who have purchased memberships since Costco set up sign-ups in the area, said Nathan Gentry, general manager. That's on top of more than "7,000 already on the books" who live in the immediate area and already had memberships, he said. Gentry is encouraging those who want to save time to sign up for memberships before the grand opening; he expects about 800 people will do so that day.

To sign up, go to 5000 Stadium Drive (across from Mercyhealth's Javon Bea Hospital & Physician Clinic on Riverside Boulevard) starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Those who sign up at the site can get grand opening discounts and coupons. A Gold Star membership costs $60, an Executive membership costs $120.

Coming: Saturday at, a closer look at what you need to know about Costco and a photo gallery of the Register Star's sneak peek inside the Loves Park store. A story and photos will appear Sunday in the newspaper.

Georgette Braun: 815-987-1331;; @GeorgetteBraun