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Costco Wholesale announced that it will accept food stamps at an East Harlem, New York, location currently under construction when that store opens.

The move expands on a previously announced test of a program that will accept food stamps at Costco stores in Queens and Brooklyn, NY. Costco, under attacks from NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo because of its unwillingness to accept food stamps at the East Harlem location under construction in a neighborhood where some 30,000 local residents use them, said last week that it would accept them at the two stores in a test that will commence as soon as the appropriate technology can be installed.

CEO Jim Sinegal had resisted accepting food stamps, saying that he was not convinced “that there was sufficient demand among our membership to justify the expense and possible inefficiencies.”

In a statement over the weekend, Sinegal said, "Our announcement earlier this week of the food stamp test in our two existing New York City locations was apparently misunderstood by some. It was always our intention to include the new 116th Street location, either as part of the ongoing test or as a permanent fixture depending on the exact opening date for East River Plaza. When we announced that the test, if successful, would result in adding food stamp acceptance to all New York City locations, we did not mention 116th Street specifically because we wanted to be inclusive of all planned locations, some of which have not been publicly announced. As a result of a phone call I received from Congressman Charles Rangel, we now understand the special sensitivity in New York to this long-awaited project in his district. So, to remove any doubt we may have inadvertently caused, Representative Rangel asked that we make this clarification.”

KC's View:
Costco is smart to just get this minor controversy behind it and move on.