LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It was a busy grand opening day in Little Rock as the first Costco in Arkansas welcomed its first customers Wednesday.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. was there as General Manager Tom Zeien cut the ribbon just before 8 a.m. and said it took a lot of hard work to recruit Costco to the city.

The membership-based store has been in the planning stages of launching a Little Rock presence for five years.

As for shoppers, many of those looking for the wholesaler’s deals said they had been looking forward to Costco’s arrival for some time.

“This is my main thing today,” shopper Ruth Reynolds said. “I’ve been planning for it since I got my membership which was several weeks ago.”

Reynolds wasn’t the only one who marked the day on her calendar. Shopper John Bui said he travels to Costco in Memphis once a month to shop. Bui was rewarded for his early morning dedication by being the first customer to walk over the threshold, with two carts in tow.

“We wanted to be the first ones here,” he said. “No budget, no goal except to hit every aisle.”

Scott said that even he had put together a shopping list for the big day, noting that he was “going straight to the fish aisle.”

The west Little Rock location also includes a separate liquor store, as well as the company’s 500th Costco Gas location.

The store has already sold 8,000 memberships in the central Arkansas area, according to Zeien, who added that a few thousand memberships are expected to be purchased on opening day alone.