The Best Wholesale Club for Customers Living in the Country

Navigating the Wholesale Landscape: A Comprehensive Analysis of BJ's Wholesale, Sam's Club, and Costco

When living in the country it may be a day-long adventure (maybe even more) to get to the closest wholesale club.  They can be great places to save money by buying in bulk but can also mean spending extra if you don’t do your homework.  Make sure to check the latest ad for sale items and special buys.  All of the clubs require a membership but upgrading membership often means free shipping.  Perfect for when a club is not nearby.

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Wholesale clubs have become staples in the retail landscape, offering consumers the allure of bulk shopping and discounted prices. Among the major players in this industry are BJ’s Wholesale, Sam’s Club, and Costco. In this comprehensive analysis, we’ll explore the pros and cons of joining these wholesale clubs, helping you make an informed decision about which one aligns best with your needs.



  1. Quality and Variety:

    Costco is renowned for its commitment to offering high-quality products. The store carries a vast array of items, from groceries and electronics to furniture and clothing, ensuring that members have access to a diverse selection of quality goods.  Costco stocks grocery items similarly to a gourmet grocery store.  If you are looking for higher end food, Costco is a good way to save.

  2. Generous Return Policy:

    Costco’s liberal return policy is a significant advantage. Members can return almost any product with no time limit, providing a risk-free shopping experience. This policy adds to the overall customer satisfaction and trust in the brand.

  3. Kirkland Signature Brand:

    Costco’s private label, Kirkland Signature, is often regarded for its quality and affordability. Members can enjoy exclusive access to a range of Kirkland products, spanning various categories, offering significant savings without compromising on quality.

  4. Services and Perks:

    Costco offers additional services such as travel deals, car rentals, and insurance, adding value beyond traditional retail offerings. The store’s executive membership provides cashback rewards and exclusive access to certain promotions, making it an appealing option for frequent shoppers.  All memberships allow at least two family members to have membership cards.

  5. Bulk Packaging:

    The emphasis on bulk purchasing is suitable for consumers who shop less often, have large families and like stocking up the pantry. Bulk purchasing is also optimal for families who bulk prep meals and stock up the freezer.


  1. Membership Fees:

    Costco requires an annual membership fee, and while the benefits can be significant, it’s an additional cost to consider. The fee structure has tiers, with the Executive Membership being more expensive but offering greater rewards.

  2. Limited Store Locations:

    While Costco has a substantial presence in many areas, some regions may lack convenient access to a Costco warehouse. This limitation could be a significant drawback for individuals in rural or less-populated areas.  Shipping for some items is available but they seem to have fewer items available for shipping than the other stores. 

Sam’s Club:


  1. Competitive Pricing:

    Sam’s Club is known for its competitive pricing, often providing lower costs on various products compared to traditional retailers. The club also offers instant savings and promotions to enhance the overall value for its members.  Sam’s Club offers local grocery store style food items in large quantities.  If you are looking for ingredients for farmhouse style cooking, Sam’s Club is a good option.   Sam’s Club also has it’s own Member’s Mark brand which is an even cheaper alternative for many items.

  2. Tech and Electronics:

    Sam’s Club has a strong presence in the tech and electronics department. Members can find exclusive deals on computers, televisions, and other electronic devices, making it an appealing destination for those looking to upgrade their gadgets.

  3. Instant Savings and Cash Back:

    Sam’s Club frequently runs promotions and instant savings events, allowing members to capitalize on additional discounts. The store also offers cashback rewards on certain purchases, enhancing the overall savings potential.

  4. Business Membership:

    Sam’s Club offers a Business Membership tailored for entrepreneurs and small business owners. This membership provides additional perks, such as early shopping hours and access to exclusive business-oriented products and services.

  5. Shipping and Curbside Pick-up:

    Sam’s Club offers shipping for most items.  And members with a plus membership get free shipping which is a great option for people who don’t live near a store.  They also offer curbside pick-up which is a great alternative for anyone not wanting to navigate a busy store.


  1. Membership Fees:

    Similar to Costco, Sam’s Club requires an annual membership fee. While the cost may be justified by the potential savings, it’s essential to factor this fee into the overall budget.  Sam’s Club offers several membership levels and free shipping is available for plus members.

  2. Limited Organic and Specialty Products:

    Compared to competitors, Sam’s Club may have a more limited selection of organic and specialty products. Health-conscious consumers or those with specific dietary preferences might find the options somewhat restricted.

  3. Crowded Shopping Environment:

    Sam’s Club can be bustling with shoppers, especially during peak hours. Navigating through crowded aisles and dealing with longer checkout lines may not appeal to those who prefer a more serene shopping experience.

BJ’s Wholesale:


  1. Value and Affordability:

    BJ’s Wholesale is often praised for its value-driven approach. Members can find a range of products at competitive prices, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious shoppers.  

  2. Convenience and Size:

    BJ’s is known for being more compact than its competitors, making it a convenient choice for those who prefer a less overwhelming shopping experience. The smaller size also allows for quicker navigation through the store.

  3. In-House Brands:

    BJ’s offers its in-house brands, such as Berkley Jensen and Wellsley Farms, providing members with affordable alternatives across various product categories. These private labels often deliver quality at a lower price point.

  4. Shipping and Curbside Pick-up:

    BJ’s offers shipping for a large number of their products which means saving time and money on big shopping trips. Shipping costs generally outweigh the cost of a day’s time driving to the store.  If you will be near a store,  curbside pick-up is offered and always a great option.


  1. Limited Store Locations:

    While BJ’s has a presence in various states, its number of locations is still notably fewer than competitors like Costco and Sam’s Club. This limitation might affect accessibility for potential members in certain regions.

  2. Fewer Services and Perks:

    BJ’s may offer fewer additional services and perks compared to its competitors. The absence of certain amenities, such as a gas station or tire center in some locations, may be a drawback for members seeking comprehensive one-stop shopping.

  3. Membership Fees:

    Similar to the other wholesale clubs, BJ’s requires an annual membership fee and offers several membership levels. While the cost may be justified by the savings, it’s crucial to assess the overall value proposition, especially for those with limited access to BJ’s locations.


Joining a wholesale club like BJ’s Wholesale, Sam’s Club, or Costco offers the allure of savings, convenience, and an extensive product selection. Each club has its unique strengths and drawbacks, catering to different consumer preferences. Before committing to a membership, carefully consider your shopping habits, budget, and priorities. Whether you prioritize quality and variety like Costco, competitive pricing and tech deals like Sam’s Club, or value-driven affordability like BJ’s Wholesale, selecting the right wholesale club can enhance your shopping experience and lead to substantial savings over time.

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