A worker tacks up a business hours sign at the entrance. Another swabs a final coat of paint on a pillar. Inside, others hoist pallets to aisles being stacked with food and other items.
All of them are hustling to launch one of the biggest new stores in the Charleston area in recent years.
Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco Wholesale flings open the doors at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Mount Pleasant on its second Charleston-area membership store, the second metro area in South Carolina with two Costco outlets. The Greenville-Spartanburg area sports two, with one in each city. It's the merchant's sixth location in the Palmetto State.
In the Charleston region, the company's expansion adds another element to the members-only shopping landscape, which includes two other big players: Walmart-owned Sam's Club, with one store in North Charleston, and BJ's Wholesale Club, which opened in Summerville last year.
Construction didn't take long on the new Costco, a cavernous, 150,000-square-foot structure at Faison Road and Park Avenue Boulevard. It's near Mount Pleasant Regional Airport off U.S. Highway 17 in the Carolina Park neighborhood. Site work started in December and the building took shape over the first few months of this year.
"Our construction schedule for the company is 110 days," said Marcy Redick, the store's general manager. "It's pretty common for us."
Redick isn't a stranger to the company or the Charleston area. For the past seven years, she managed the big-box Costco in West Ashley, which has been serving the booming region and its 761,000 residents for the past 17 years.
"People have been very vocal about wanting another location in Charleston," Redick said. "There is definitely a demand."
The store is expected to take some of the pressure off of the West Ashley location, too.
"It gets quite busy there on Saturdays," she said.
Members, who pay a minimum of $60 a year, will notice a few different nuances in the new East Cooper store, but for the most part the layout is very similar to the company's West Ashley location.
The optical department is clustered with the other medically related offerings, such as eyewear and the pharmacy. In the West Ashley store, it's near the front entrance.
Detergents will be found closer to bottled water and paper products in the back corner, and the dairy section is configured a little differently than in West Ashley. The cooler and frozen food aisles have been swapped as well, with frozen products closer to checkout.
"To me, it makes sense to hit the freezers last," Redick said.
Also, the store will offer 14 registers, but no self-checkout lanes, unlike the West Ashley location.
"Our employees like to interact with the members since some of them have favorite cashiers," marketing manager Glenn Hough said.
It also won't include a photo lab.
The sprawling store will offer an e-commerce section that showcases products from Costco's online store.
The company also will launch some new products from its private-label Kirkland brand, such as sparkling water and mineral water. Among its new organic line will be lemonade and coconut water.
"I love grand openings because we get things nobody else gets," Hough said as he looked over a display of Cole Haan shoes.
And just in time for football season, a complete selection of chairs and canopies in orange and white and garnet and black await Clemson and South Carolina fans.
The fine wine tables will be stocked, and Redick believes the libations will do very well in Mount Pleasant since they sell strongly in West Ashley.
Some of the meats, including chicken, bison and ground beef, will include organic options. Even an organic cheeseburger will be on the menu at the food court.
And for fans of the chain's long-running $1.50 hot dog and soft drink combination, the store will maintain the special, but customers will have the option to self-place an order at a nearby kiosk. That's not available in West Ashley.
Offerings at the big-box merchant also include produce, electronics, housewares, gasoline, liquor, tires and seasonal items.
Of the 220 positions for the seven-day-a-week store, 140 came locally and 80 transferred to Mount Pleasant from other locations. Only a few remained to be filled as of last week, Redick said.