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Usually it's Sam's Club utilizing Groupon or its partner Living Social tempting potential new members with freebies. This time it's Costco.

The Gold Star membership isn't discounted--it's still $60, but this new member special includes a $20 Costco gift card, a free container of Kirkland Signature (Costco's private label brand) laundry detergent pacs ($18), Kirkland Signature paper towels ($16), a coupon for $10 off meat, and a coupon for $25 off any Costco.com order of $250 or more.

This offer may be considered slightly better than an offer in 2017 that included a $75 off voucher for travel to select destinations, which may have gone unused for many members if they had no plans to travel to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Costa Rica.

The offer is only available to new members or those whose memberships expired prior to May 1, 2019. The freebies will be sent only if the new member agrees to sign up for auto renew.

Costco doesn't run as many Groupon promotions as Sam's Club, probably because Costco's revenues are nearly double Sam's with only slightly more square footage. Last year Sam's Club announced it was closing 63 stores, including the one in St. Louis Park. The distribution center in Bloomington closed earlier this month.

Costco opened its first business center in Minnesota last year in Minneapolis and recently received approval for a new store in Eagan. Construction will begin soon on a new distribution center in Owatonna. .