KIRKLAND SIGNATURE Wire Ribbon has
been offered under Costco’s private label for
14 years, and it is popular for good reason: It’s
a 50-yard wire ribbon without a single seam,
which means you can cut it to any length,
eliminating the need for measuring and cutting around unsightly seam breaks. Costco
members flock to it each season for gift-wrap-ping, crafts and other decorating projects, and
it shows: More than 1 million ribbons are
sold each fall, making it one of the top-selling
seasonal items (by unit) at Costco.
Craft stores often sell less yardage at
much higher price points. Kirkland Signature
Wire Ribbon comes in widths of 1½ and 2½
inches. The rolls are sold for $6.99 to $7.99,
depending on the design, fabric and edging.
They are manufactured in small factories in
Taiwan, which allows for precise attention to
detail and quality that is
unmatched by other ribbon products.
The ribbon is released
three times a year. Spring
designs, such as ginghams
and solid pastels, come out in
early winter; fall patterns arrive in
warehouses during mid-summer; and holi-day-themed designs are released in early fall.
Each release contains 22 to 24 different
designs, which Costco Buyer Kris Cramer
says takes about four months total to finalize
with the supplier.
While the supplier offers a robust selec-
tion of prints and patterns each season, Kris
can request special designs to be made for
Whether you’re wrapping
a gift, decorating your home
for a celebration or crafting,
be sure to include Kirkland
Signature Wire Ribbon in
THE NEW Kirkland Signature Men’s
Cushioned Crew Socks, available at
Costco and on Costco.com, are
designed like an athletic sock, but
with the functionality of a work sock.
“Members are going to love
these socks for their durability and
comfort,” says Stacey Lazowski,
The socks are made of durable
ring-spun cotton that is soft to the
touch, with spun polyester in the
foot bottom to help wick away moisture. Features include a special 1-inch
comfort top that helps the socks stay up, but
doesn’t dig into the leg; extra cushioning in the
foot bottom, to provide all-day comfort
whether at work or play; and smooth toe
seams, to make the socks comfortable even
when wearing boots.
The high-quality, thicker crew socks are
made in the U.S., with all U.S. components, at
the Slane Hosiery manufacturing plant in High
Point, North Carolina. While many companies
moved their production overseas, searching for
reduced costs, Randy Hutchins, vice president
of new business development of Slane Hosiery
notes Slane has kept its company’s production in
America for almost 100 years.
“We made the decision to stay here and
weather the storm,” says
In addition to supplying private-label sock
programs for various retailers, he attributes the
company’s success to their strong emphasis on
large production runs, which makes working
with Costco a perfect partnership.
“As a contract manufacturer we are dedi-
cated to providing creative and innovative
solutions to our customers,” Hutchins says.
“Our emphasis on production flexibility and
our efficient time-to-market approach has
enabled us to remain globally competitive.”
The packs of six come in white or black
and in sizes large (men’s shoe sizes 8 to 12) and
extra-large (men’s shoe size 13).
Men’s crew socks
SEPTEMBER 2014 ;e Costco Connection 41
KEVIN SMITH, assistant vice president at
Costco’s meatpacking plant in Tracy,
California, recalls getting a call from a buyer
in 1996. “At that time Costco was selling
meatballs made by outside suppliers, and
the buyer wanted to know if we could make
them for less cost,” he says.
Kevin and his crew spent the next two
years developing the formula, with help
from meat scientists and spice company
Griffith Laboratories. The first Kirkland
Signature Cooked Italian Style Beef
Meatballs rolled off the line in 1998. “Over
the years we’ve made five different flavors
and various sizes of meatballs,” Kevin says.
“The current one has the staying power.”
A lot of work goes into finding just the
right taste profile, says Costco food buyer
Becky Schmidt. “When this meatball was
developed, the buyers and our spice vendor
spent more than six months making differ-
ent spice blends into meatballs and running
taste panels,” she says.
The winner: a spice blend with both
Parmesan and Romano cheeses for a great
Italian flavor—but not so powerful that it
can’t be used for non-Italian recipes such as
Swedish meatballs or meatballs in barbecue
sauce, Becky says.
Safety standards in the production pro-
cess are above national requirements. “We
test both raw materials and finished goods,”
Kevin says. “And to be sure taste and quality
levels are consistent, every manager in this
plant has to have one meatball a day, at least.
We’ve all tasted enough of them so if there’s
a change, someone’s going to catch it.”
Each package contains 140 meatballs;
you can prepare all of them for a great party
appetizer or take out a few at a time to mix
with your favorite pasta and sauce for a
quick, hearty meal. (The bag is resealable.)
They can be steamed, baked,
grilled or microwaved.
Cooked Italian-style beef meatballs