Minnesota gets its first Costco today--a Costco Business Center (3311 Broadway NE., Minneapolis, 651-502-7600), only the 17th center in the country.

Many Costco members may be unaware of what's in a business center, since there are so few in the country. For a full description of what to find in a business center, go here. Note the center's limited hours. The business center is open to all Costco members, but will appeal mostly to small businesses and anyone handling an event for large groups, including schools, daycare centers, and large gatherings or parties. 

Shoppers will find commercial grade appliances, pantry goods, loads of candy, snacks, beverages and office supplies but no gas station, liquor store, food court, pharmacy, optical service, hearing aids, apparel, toys, books, tires or sporting goods.

If you go Wednesday, you may even get to meet CEO Craig Jelinek, who is expected to make an appearance in the morning.Small business owners who don't find what they want should ask an employee if it's possible to special order an item. Even items such as major appliances can be special ordered, according to one manager.

Costco's legendary returns and satisfaction policy still applies to purchases made in the business center, but items such as appliances and electronics must be returned within 90 days. 

Broadway St. NE is torn up in front of the store, but two alternate routes make it easier. Off I-35, take the Stinson exit and drive past Broadway to Kennedy St. NE. Go east on Kennedy to Hoover St NE and turn north. Head a couple of blocks through Broadway and Costco's parking lot is on the right. An alternate route is to take Godward St. NE. off Industrial Boulevard. Costco has stationed people with signs at intersections to help during construction. 

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