I just saw a post about Costco on another blog and was reminded about how great a business I think it is. I've been a Costco member for six or seven years now. My only wish is that there was Costco closer than 15 miles away from my house.
As a business person, I appreciate Costco's business model. I would describe the business model as low price, high inventory turnover on high quality, bulk products with good service. It takes care of its associates and has generally taken care of it's shareholders.
As a customer, I adore Costco. It doesn't carry everything I use, but it carries enough to make it worth my while to go out of my way once or twice a month to pick things up. I figure that the money I save on the cereal I buy there alone pays for a good chunk of the cost of membership. Throw in savings on paper towels, toilet paper, wine, beer, the occasional electronics purchase, ink cartridges for the printer, snack bars, multivitamins, diapers, diaper wipes, batteries, walnuts and a birthday/anniversary cake or two and membership more than pays for itself. On top of that, I get 2-4% of much of what I spend there rebated to me. That and savings on gas is icing on the cake.
Put that savings on top of the always friendly and helpful service and high quality merchandise and you got yourself the makings of a great business.