A national retailer who wants to expand into Martin County is not giving up. Costco is now looking at opening a store in Stuart, just a few miles away from where some people in Palm City protested a proposed Costco store last year.
"I love Costco. I think they’re the premier warehouse club," said Sandy Miller, from Palm City.
"When you start building bigger things like that, it’s going to just keep on progressing," said Austin Myszkowski, of Stuart. "That’s not what we want."
Costco hasn't filed any official paperwork with the city of Stuart yet, but the company has talked with city staff about opening up a store north of Indian Street on Kanner Highway.
"Love it, love it, love it," Miller said.
"We’re excited about it," said Michelle Castanedo, from Stuart. "We were just at Costco two days ago. My husband and I drive down there."
"I go out to BJ’s, which is in Jensen, which is right on the border of Port St. Lucie, so it’s a bit of a drive and with traffic and everything I wouldn’t mind having something like that nearby," said Melissa Bradley, of Palm City.
In August, people protested the possibility of a Costco locating in Palm City at Martin Highway and High Meadow Avenue, saying they didn't want the traffic near the neighborhoods and schools there. They said they weren't opposed to a Costco coming to the area in general, but they didn't think that was the right location.
Costco withdrew its application at that time.
Now, people say they think Costco has a better shot at opening up on Kanner Highway in Stuart.
"The entire council seems to be more open to development," said Lea Renfrow, from Stuart.
The president of the Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce said the city leaders in Stuart are more business friendly and welcoming of development than those in Martin County.
"I think Stuart is a little more open minded," Castanedo said. "As long as it’s not too huge and they’ve got good parking, I’m hoping Stuart will say yes."
Stuart City Commissioner Troy McDonald, said cities are where the majority of development should go anyway. He said it seems the general public is interested in Costco. While open to the idea, he'll have to look at the site plan, if one is submitted, before making a final decision.