quarter,” says company president Jeremy Foti.
The cruise, of course, was booked through
Reduce long-distance phone costs.
Kathy Gambill, owner of home-based
Kreative Botanicals (425-359-5428) in
Everett, Washington, was facing some huge
long-distance phone bills that came from
processing orders. Her solution: prepaid
long-distance phone cards from Costco.
She eliminated long-distance phone service.
“I programmed my phones and use the
cards exclusively,” she says. “I save a lot
Ben Tunnell was introduced to Costco
by his wife, Sherry, seven years ago.
On a warehouse trip to stock his
wine cellar, the Costco cash-register receipt
prompted him to upgrade to Executive membership. “The receipt indicated I could have
saved $55 on that purchase if I’d been an
Executive Member,” Tunnell recalls.
That put him on the path to discovering
big savings for his business, BTI Appraisal
( www.btiappraisal.com) in Los Angeles. His
wife urged him to look at some of the Costco
services, starting with payroll processing. By
switching to the program, Tunnell’s company
realized $750 to $1,000 in savings per year.
“We also get better reports and service than
with our former provider,” he adds.
The switch to check printing was a no-brainer, with obvious savings. But credit-card
processing was a big breakthrough for his
company. “It always had seemed too expensive to get into, so I just never could justify it,”
he says. “Through Costco, it was inexpensive
to start up, and the usage fees weren’t bad.”
What next? He just might be checking out
small-business health insurance and prepaid
overnight delivery. When it comes to Costco,
Tunnell has realized: You can reap really big
savings by using multiple Costco business services.—David Wight
Shop the Business Center. When Jim Costco in Pentagon City, Virginia. She dis-Clark of Clark and Sons Vending in Phoenix played her inspirational cards (www.wigp.
(602-955-3630) selected a new business loca- bizland.com) at a small-business expo in the
tion, he deliberately chose a site halfway warehouse last February and received about
between his home and the Phoenix Costco 100 orders. Many warehouses hold such bus-
Business Center. Clark buys products for his iness expos, either as an annual fund-raiser
snack, drink and cold-item vending ma- for Children’s Miracle Network or on a
chines at the Business Center because it regular basis.
offers more selection than an average ware- Be a print-and-copy cat. Kathleen house. “A snack machine can hold 45 differ- Carney needed a convenient means of ent items,” says Clark. “At Costco we have marketing to potential clients at trade 60 items to pick from.” (Costco Business shows. Carney, the CEO of Hayward, Centers are located in Arizona, California3Ca1lifornia–based Skin Blends ( www.skin
and Washington.) blends.com), a manufacturer of skin-care
Save on ink and toner costs. Luis products, says she found a one-stop solu-
Urtaza motivates his employees through the tion at her local Costco’s Print & Copy
use of color. His Tucson, Arizona–based Center. Carney uses the center for print-
business—Acrylic Idea Factory (520-722- ing and collating her training manual;
1451)—creates custom-designed full-color printing flyers, pens and pencils; and mak-
birthday cards for each of his more than 200 ing a calendar that alerts clients of
employees. “Personalizing a birthday card monthly specials. “I save about half of
creates a better and more personal relation- what I would spend elsewhere,” says
ship between our employees and our com- Carney, who pays 2 cents per copy. “I think
pany,” he says. “We buy 10 black and 15 the average price around here is 5 cents.”
color toner cartridges per month, and we’re (Print & Copy Centers are in nine loca-
saving more than 20 percent at Costco.” tions in Arizona, California, Oregon
Cut energy costs. Upgrade your office, and Washington.)
restaurant and warehouse equipment with
Energy Star–rated appliances: computers, Please ’em with pizza. According to Jane
lights, air conditioners, refrigerators and freez- Applegate’s 201 Great Ideas for Your Small
ers, and more. Member Devin Battley of Business, one smart marketer sent pizza to
Rockville Harley-Davidson in Gaithersburg, potential clients right before lunchtime. With
Maryland ( www.battley.com), did this and it came a note: “For a larger slice of your mar-
says his business will save substantially ket, call me at …” (Our hint: You can’t find a
on energy costs for years to come. Plus, it’s better pizza value than Costco’s Food Court.)
great PR. (Costco sells many Energy Offer rewards for referrals.EngleHomes
Star–rated products. See www.energystar.in Englewood, Colorado (http://EngleHomes
gov/smallbiz for tips.) Colorado.com), offers home buyers an entic-
Participate in a warehouse business ing incentive for a successful referral: a $1,000
expo. That’s what Irene Ford-Smith did at the
Photographer Dennis Crane of Merrillville,
Indiana, who owns Dennis Crane Photographers Inc. ( www.procameraman.com),
has developed some interesting ways of using
his Costco membership. He buys supplies for
his studio, such as file folders, coffee and paper
towels, and he has digital photos printed at the
1-Hour Photo Center. Another item Crane buys
in bulk are blank CDs for storing his digital photos. He’s also in the process of buying Kirkland
Signature dress shirts and khakis as part of the
company work attire and will have his business
logo embroidered on the shirts.
Along with running the studio, Crane teaches
beginning and intermediate photography classes
at a local adult center. He encourages his stu-
dents to go to Costco to get a feel for the different cameras available on the market.
Crane has one additional piece of advice for
other small-business owners: Use your
Connections. Crane turned to an issue of The
Costco Connection for assistance in instructing
his class on the basics of digital photography.
“I used the article in the Costco magazine as an
intro to buying digital,” says Crane. “It exposed
the students, no pun intended, to the world of
digital cameras and printers.”
—Stephanie E. Ponder