Costco opens massive new store on Tsuut’ina Nation, the first on a First Nation in North America

Dozens of shoppers were lined up and waiting as Costco opened a new 151,000 sq. ft. store Friday on the Tsuut’ina Nation just southwest of Calgary, its first warehouse to be located on a First Nation in North America.

It’s the first anchor tenant in The Shops at Buffalo Run retail centre, part of the Tsuut’ina Nation’s 1,200-acre Taza retail, office and tourism development.

The store is located at the new Taza Exchange retail development at 12905 Buffalo Run Blvd., at the corner of the newly built southwest Calgary Ring Road and 130th Avenue S.W.

Tsuut’ina Nation Chief Roy Whitney said he wanted to welcome Calgarians and other visitors onto the First Nation to see what he called a beautiful new store.

“It’s going to create opportunities for Calgarians, as well as our own people,” Whitney said at the grand opening ceremony Friday morning, where he was joined by provincial Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson among others. 

At least 88 new jobs have been created with its opening.

“We welcome Costco to Tsuut’ina, and look forward to strengthening our relationship with our neighbours and encourage them to celebrate the inception of Taza with us,” Whitney said in a release before the ceremony.

“It’s an honour to be the home of the first Costco on Indigenous land. Today is a momentous day for both the Nation and for southwest Calgary.”

The new store features a large selection of specialty departments, including an on-site bakery, fresh meat, produce area, rotisserie chicken section, an optical centre — including an on-site independent optometrist — a hearing aid centre, photo centre, tire centre, large food court, liquor pod, gas station with 18 gas pumps, propane station and pharmacy.

Tsuut’ina Nation Chief Roy Whitney said the opening of the new Costco at the Taza Exchange development marked a great day for his nation and for Calgary. (CBC)

The store includes signage in both English and the Tsuut’ina language, Sarcee, and exterior and in-store landscaping and foliage that pays homage to Tsuut’ina landscapes, including rolling hills and planted greenery.

Dozens of shoppers waited outside and watched the ribbon-cutting ceremony so they could be among the first to see the new store.

Cindy Larsen, who was one of the first in line and lives in Calgary, said the store will not only ease congestion at other busy Calgary Costco locations but it will build more ties between people on the First Nation and in neighbouring communities.

“I think more than anything it will open up this community to people who are wondering what’s on this land. I’ve never been out here so to see all the roadways and stuff out here, I think it will be a great boost for this community.”

Costco Wholesale Canada senior vice president David Skinner in a release that with the opening of the company’s seventh location in the Calgary area, Costco can provide southwest Calgary with a more convenient shopping experience.

“We are excited to be working with the Tsuut’ina Nation at Taza, and be able to give our valued members, businesses, and the surrounding community the advantage of shopping locally.”

Costco is the first anchor tenant in The Shops at Buffalo Run retail centre, part of the Tsuut’ina Nation’s 1,200-acre Taza retail, office and tourism development.

“The official opening of SW Calgary Costco validates that Taza is open for business,” said Taza Development Corp. CEO William Briscoe in a release.

More stores and restaurants at the Taza retail, office and tourism development are scheduled to open in summer 2022.

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