Costco competes with Sam's Club in the warehouse wholesale industry, but it's not all about free enterprise, Human Events columnist Steven Greenhut wrote in 2012. Not only was Costco's CEO featured at the Democratic National Convention, the company's tight relationship with Obama's big government dream is a apparently a key tool in Costco's business strategy, Greenhut wrote:
As I wrote in the Orange County Register in 2002, “Costco, the big-box discount warehouse company that sells everything from big-screen TVs to restaurant-quality food products, at first glance seems like a marvel of the free-enterprise system. … But think carefully before you use the words ‘free enterprise’ and ‘Costco’ in the same breath. The company certainly knows how to market goods and services to budget-conscious customers and to maximize profits. Unfortunately, Costco also is adept at manipulating the political process on its own behalf, in a way that smacks of mercantilism (government-controlled markets) rather than capitalism.”
Eminent domain is the tactic Costco appears to use throughout the country, Greenhut writes, as it works its way into communities to compete in the marketplace, such as in Orange County California, where Costco worked to deny a church of their property to build another store:
“But if Costco is just an innocent bystander in a dispute between a city and a church, then why has Costco been involved in similar situations across the country?” I asked. “Such as in Lancaster, Calif., where in 2000 a federal district court struck down the city’s attempted use of eminent domain on Costco’s behalf. According to the court documents, immediately after a competitor, 99 Cents Only Stores, moved into a vacant store next to Costco in Lancaster in 1998, Costco demanded that the city use eminent domain to literally give the 99 Cents Only space to Costco. Otherwise, Costco said it would move to neighboring Palmdale.”
More at this Human Events review of the situation.