Adeshina Emmanuel

Costco rival BJ’s Wholesale Club just went public for the 2nd time. Here’s what it’s like to shop there.

BJ's Wholesale Club sells, well, everything.BJ’s Wholesale Club is a membership-based warehouse club selling groceries, clothing, furniture, and just about everything else.

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BJ’s competes with similar warehouse clubs Costco and Sam’s Club. While the competition is tough, BJ’s is showing some signs of strength. On Thursday, the warehouse chain began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “BJ.” BJ’s had previously traded publicly until it made a deal with two private-equity firms to take it private in 2011, according to CNN Money.

Shopping at BJ’s is a privilege exclusive to its paying members. The Online Access membership, the cheapest membership plan, costs $10 annually and gives you access to member prices on the BJ’s website. The Inner Circle membership costs $55 annually, allowing you to shop in stores or online and use BJ’s travel services, optical center, auto center, and more. For $110, BJ’s Perks members get everything the Inner Circle members get, plus 2% cash back on purchases.

We recently visited a BJ’s in Jersey City, New Jersey a?? here’s what it’s like to shop there:

We visited a BJ’s Wholesale Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.

We visited a BJ's Wholesale Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.We visited a BJ’s Wholesale Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.

At the front of the store was the tech department, selling a huge selection of laptops and TVs. Most TVs cost between $500 and $2,000.

At the front of the store was the tech department, selling a huge selection of laptops and TVs. Most TVs cost between $500 and $2,000.At the front of the store was the tech department, selling a huge selection of laptops and TVs. Most TVs cost between $500 and $2,000.

There were a few branded displays, like a mini in-store Verizon center.

There were a few branded displays, like a mini in-store Verizon center.There were a few branded displays, like a mini in-store Verizon centre.

Signs were scattered around the tech section, advertising that BJ’s offers free help from professional tech advisors.

Signs were scattered around the tech section, advertising that BJ's offers free help from professional tech advisors. Signs were scattered around the tech section, advertising that BJ’s offers free help from professional tech advisors.

Also near the entrance were shelves of random products like paper plates, snacks, and t-shirts, all for under $15.

BJ’s snacks were sold in bulk, but the selection was underwhelming. There wasn’t a ton of variety, and there seemed to be more candy than snacks.

BJ's snacks were sold in bulk, but the selection was underwhelming. There wasn't a ton of variety, and there seemed to be more candy than snacks.BJ’s snacks were sold in bulk, but the selection was underwhelming. There wasn’t a ton of variety, and there seemed to be more candy than snacks.
There were quite a few empty shelves throughout this part of the store. A lot of products were out of stock.

There were quite a few empty shelves throughout this part of the store. A lot of products were out of stock. There were quite a few empty shelves throughout this part of the store. A lot of products were out of stock.

Prices were reasonable on the bulk products: a 3.5-pound box of Cheerios cost $7.99, less than the same product cost on Amazon and only $3 more than a box half the size from Walmart.

Prices were reasonable on the bulk products: a 3.5-pound box of Cheerios cost $7.99, less than the same product cost on Amazon and only $3 more than a box half the size from Walmart.Prices were reasonable on the bulk products: a 3.5-pound box of Cheerios cost $7.99, less than the same product cost on Amazon and only $3 more than a box half the size from Walmart.

Near the food, free samples were being given out.

Near the food, free samples were being given out.Near the food, free samples were being given out.

The store also had a huge selection of drinks sold in bulk, but it looked like a lot of products were running low or out of stock.

The store also had a huge selection of drinks sold in bulk, but it looked like a lot of products were running low or out of stock.The store also had a huge selection of drinks sold in bulk, but it looked like a lot of products were running low or out of stock.

While the aisles were clearly labeled, there was still a pretty random product assortment. Toys and books were right next to the gardening supplies.

While the aisles were clearly labeled, there was still a pretty random product assortment. Toys and books were right next to the gardening supplies.While the aisles were clearly labeled, there was still a pretty random product assortment. Toys and books were right next to the gardening supplies.

Furniture, batteries, and household products were all over the middle of the store …

Furniture, batteries, and household products were all over the middle of the store ...Furniture, batteries, and household products were all over the middle of the store …

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

There was also a small selection of clothes in the middle of the store.

There was also a small selection of clothes in the middle of the store.There was also a small selection of clothes in the middle of the store.

It also had a self-checkout lane, which is a huge perk when lines get long.

It also had a self-checkout lane, which is a huge perk when lines get long.It also had a self-checkout lane, which is a huge perk when lines get long.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

Instead of having a food court like Costco or Sam’s Club, the store had a small Dunkin’ Donuts kiosk by the exit.

Instead of having a food court like Costco or Sam's Club, the store had a small Dunkin' Donuts kiosk by the exit.Instead of having a food court like Costco or Sam’s Club, the store had a small Dunkin’ Donuts kiosk by the exit.

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Adeshina Emmanuel

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