Shelagh Coon hopes to spend more time at Costco and less time driving there.

The big-box, bulk-bargain giant cut the ribbon on its newest store Friday, located on Elmira Road near Paisley Road in Guelph.

For Coon, it’s just down the street – much better than the drive to Kitchener she had been making every second Thursday.

“We’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time,” she said while inside the new store.

Other opening day shoppers were equally enthused.

“I’ve been looking forward to it since they broke ground,” said Patricia Gathercole, who had also been shopping at the Kitchener store and works within plain sight of the Guelph location.

“I would stand at the office window … and I’d be looking out the window, just waiting for the ‘We’re opening soon!’ sign.”

Despite being in a city where residents fought for years to keep Walmart from setting up shop, there was little public outcry about Costco’s arrival.

Marty Williams, executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association, says he sees Walmart and Costco as a different shopping experience than smaller downtown merchants, attracting a different clientele.

“We have owner-operators down here who are cultivating a certain look and feel. We’re not in competition with Costco,” he said.

“There’s lots of room for all kinds of players.”

The new Costco store will employ 280 people, said store general manager Darryl Bednis.