is on a roll
Pat Volchok gives
look at Costco pro-
ducts and services.
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58 ;e Costco Connection OCTOBER 2009 58 ;e Costco Connection MARCH 2010
WITH 1. 5 MILLION pieces sold, it’s highly
likely that if you start looking around airports or wherever people travel, you’ll spot
Costco’s private-label, rugged Kirkland
Signature™ luggage heeling behind travelers
and gliding down airport conveyor belts.
Long considered one of the best-quality
and best-priced buys in the industry, Kirkland Signature luggage, according to rumors
I’d heard, was going down in price and up in
quality. I contacted Costco’s luggage buyer,
Harjit Grewall, to find out.
Harjit reports, “Our wheeled road warriors exemplify the company’s volume equation at its best. The more we sell, the better
our negotiating power. After 14 years of manufacturing, our ability to carve out the best
materials and deals is formidable.”
the case for
Break down to build up
For this latest phase in Kirkland Signature suitcase evolution, Harjit tore the two
sizes of Kirkland Signature luggage apart,
and did the same with other high-end
brands. She then conducted in-depth discussions with each Costco component supplier, focusing on construction, materials
The culmination of this exercise has now
arrived in all warehouses and on Costco.com
in the form of the toughest, lightest and
most ergonomically friendly luggage to ever
carry the Kirkland Signature name.
Building a better case
The stylish, uncluttered good looks of
the new 22- and 27-inch soft-sided Costco
bags tell me Costco is serious about lightening the load.
However, lightness is by no means
everything. Since even non-checked luggage takes a beating, a soft-sided suitcase
must be built with a frame strong enough to
protect belongings, survive luggage handlers and rambunctious children, and act as
a firm foundation for handles and wheels.
Pulling back the interior nylon lining of
a Kirkland Signature suitcase, I find a strong
injection-molded frame. No weighty reinforcements and fasteners are required to
keep sections from jiggling apart.
I’m intrigued with the superior shock-and impact-absorption flexibility of the
lightweight, industrial-strength honeycombed sidewalls. An expensive precision-engineered framing system such as this
shouts out durability and is typically found
only in high-end brands.