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Originally published January 8, 2009 at 12:17 PM | Page modified January 8, 2009 at 12:45 PM

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Costco says it got ahead of road closures

Costco Wholesale says it stocked its stores in Oregon and Washington before the current closures of I-5 and I-90.

Seattle Times business reporter

Costco Wholesale says it anticipated the current road closures by shipping products early from its Auburn distribution center. That will keep its stores across the region stocked while the company waits for I-5 and I-90 to open.

Costco's 38 stores in Washington and Oregon have remained open through the snow and rainstorms of the past month, except for the closure of a Spokane store for one day last week.

"Some days business was impacted so much that you wonder whether you should be open at all. People couldn't get to us," said Doug Schutt, chief operating officer for Costco's northern division.

Costco officials expect I-5 to be closed until the weekend but have heard I-90 could open this afternoon.

When I-90 opens, the company plans to route trucks through Snoqualmie Pass and south to its Oregon stores. If I-90 stays closed until the weekend, Costco is prepared to make shipments from another distribution center in northern California and have manufacturers deliver goods directly to the Oregon stores.

The problem with direct shipments is that some stores will receive too much product, but it's better than running out, Schutt said.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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