Mom starts online push for Costco

Kirsten Stevenson has single-handedly re-ignited interest in bringing Costco to the Kootenays.

If anyone can get the job done, it’s a mom.

Kirsten Stevenson has single-handedly re-ignited interest in bringing Costco to the Kootenays.

So far, the mother of two has collected 629 signatures on a petition that asks the big box company to open a store in the East or West Kootenay – though she prefers a Castlegar location.

“I am originally from the Lower Mainland but have lived in Trail for three years now,” she said.

“I had a bit of a shock at the lack of shopping in Trail, to say the least.”

The feisty mom of an infant and toddler, says she decided to act following Walmart’s announcement that the Trail store was turning into a super centre.

“I’m told that has reduced the amount of baby and children’s clothing (and related goods) by 40 per cent,” said Stevenson.

First, she contacted Costco via email, asking if a nearby location would open any time soon.

“They replied, ‘not at this time,’” she said. “So a few months later I contacted them again asking if there was anything I could do to encourage them to consider the area.”

She hasn’t heard back, and joked her request was probably filed under “crazy.”

But corporate silence hasn’t deterred Stevenson from her goal to collect 1,000 online signatures for the petition, called “Bring Costco to the Kootenays.” Once she reaches or surpasses that target, Stevenson will submit the document to the company, in hopes of sparking interest.

“All my family, friends, and neighbours that I have spoken to about Costco coming to the Koots have had a really positive reaction,” she said. “I think our thriving Kootenay community would not only be able to sustain a Costco, but it would thrive with one. It would be good to change things up around here.”

Prior to gathering signatures, Stevenson did some homework about populace versus existing Costco locations.

The most recent population numbers she found, show 121,000 live in the Kootenays, 64,000 of those in the West.

“Kamloops has a population of 88,000 as of 2011, and they have a Costco,” she reasoned. “Castlegar is a great hub for the area that connects so many of the smaller towns. I know there are a lot of supporters in the Cranbrook area as well. In a perfect world, we would both get one.”

When the Trail Times contacted Costco media relations via email, the company’s response was brief.

“Though there are specific metrics regarding warehouse locations,” wrote Ron Damiani. “It is corporate policy to not provide any commentary regarding our location strategy.”