Costco's Kirkland Signature Line Almost Had a Very Different Name
We can't imagine a world without Kirkland products—but Costco’s discount line was originally named after a city.
Many Costco members will tell you that the greatest buys in the store aren't brand-name products you can find anywhere else—they’re from Costco's private line, known as Kirkland Signature. You can find many affordable and healthy groceries under the Kirkland line, including pantry must-haves such as almond butter and quinoa, at cheaper prices than you would on Amazon. These items alone are worth a trip to Costco, and you can try them even if you’re not a member.
But the Costco products we know and love almost went by a completely different name—one that was associated with Costco's corporate headquarters.
According to a Reader's Digest report, Costco founder and CEO Jim Sinegal first tried to brand Costco's products as "Seattle Signature." Costco wasn't able to secure the rights to that name, so the second-best choice was "Kirkland Signature," named after their first flagship warehouse in the suburb of Kirkland, Washington.
Costco was one of the first major retailers in the United States to recognize the potential of a private-label brand. According to a 2012 article from the Kirkland Reporter, Sinegal first became interested in launching a private-label collection of products during a business trip to the United Kingdom, where he learned that private labels made up more than 50 percent of grocery business overseas.
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The move to launch the Kirkland Signature line of groceries appears to be a good one, considering that many home cooks can't stop raving about how amazing their products are. This may be because many Kirkland Signature items come from manufacturers that also produce their brand-name alternatives. Wine Spectator reports that Kirkland wine, for example, is sourced from carefully selected wineries in charge of some of the best vino on the market.
Regardless of its name, we're super happy that Kirkland Signature is just as delicious as leading national brands—at half the price.