By Claire Reilly in Canberra

Costco opened its doors to consumers in Canberra today, with customers lining up in the chilly winter air to see what the new warehouse store had to offer.

The store was officially opened in a ribbon-cutting ceremony by a group of dignitaries, including Costco Australia country manager Patrick Noone and ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

Also at the opening were Terry Snow and Stephen Byron, the executive chairman and managing director of the Canberra Airport, which owns the Majura Park site that Costco was built on.

Speaking about the opening, Byron said he was very pleased with the turnout and he expected good customer numbers.

“It’s been very good,” he said. “The people lining up at 7am were probably mostly local Canberrans, but we expect the store to pull people from places like Cooma, Batemans Bay, Jindabyne and Young too.”

“This store really consolidates Canberra as the centre of the South Eastern region.”

Going into the weekend, Byron expected customer numbers to increase and said the store had arrangements in place to deal with large crowds.

“We’re expecting to see a real surge in membership,” he said.

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A familiar face in local news stories on the warehouse store, Patrick Noone was in Canberra for the opening today, following the opening of another store in western Sydney yesterday.

Yesterday’s trade in Auburn was “extremely busy,” Noone said, and he expected today to be just as positive.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reaction from Canberrans towards the store,” said Noone. “It’s just great.”

Noone denied that Canberra was being used as an experiment for larger markets, saying that Canberra’s population size made it perfect for the Costco concept.

“Canberra has a population of half a million people, so we think Costco will be successful here,” he said. “But it certainly does create possibilities for moving the store elsewhere too.”

Patrick Noone (centre) cuts the ribbon at the official opening of Costco Canberra.

Costco runs a "no frills" operation with large quantities of stock available direct off the warehouse floor. Here you can see a literal stack of Russell Hobbs small appliances.