IKEA now Open at Polaris


By Gary Budzak - gbudzak@civitasmedia.com



IKEA manager David Garcia shows off a display to the media a week before the Swedish retailer opens its Columbus store opens its doors in Delaware County.


Some of the 3,500 solar panels on top of the Columbus IKEA store, which can handle 20 percent of the retailer’s power requirements.


An aisle in the warehouse portion of the store features lightweight, self-assemble furniture.


For those who can’t wait

IKEA manager David Garcia said there are incentives for those who arrive early to the store. He said the store will allow people to wait in line on June 5, two days before the opening. Here’s what the early visitors will get:

Thursday, June 8

· The first 44 adults will receive a free queen-sized mattress.

· The next 100 adults will receive a free ALINA “sleep set” of bedspread and cushion covers and two pillows.

· The first 100 children will receive a free golden dog soft toy.

Friday, June 9

· The first 44 adults will receive a free cookware starter set and a food container storage set.

· The next 44 adults will receive freezer bags filled with five different Swedish meals, complete with beverages and desserts, from the store’s Swedish Food Market.

· The first 100 children will receive a voucher for a soft-serve frozen yogurt that day at the Exit Bistro.

Through Sunday, June 11

· Balloon artists, entertainment and face-painting will enhance the family-friendly fun at IKEA Columbus from June 7 through June 11, 2017.

· Through June 11, 2017, visitors to IKEA Columbus may enter a drawing to win one of ten $1,000 IKEA Gift Cards through the IKEA FAMILY loyalty program. IKEA is matching the prizes (a total of $10,000) with a donation of home furnishings to The Homeless Families Foundation, a local organization that provides housing assistance and educational services to homeless families living in Columbus.

When asked how many people he thought might start camping out in front of the new Columbus IKEA two days before its official opening on June 7, store manager David Garcia said mischievously, “ten or 12.”

After a pause, he revised that number to “a couple hundred.”

The Swedish furniture and home products retailer’s (actually pronounced “ee-kay-uh”) 44th U.S. store (second in Ohio, and 397th worldwide) often draws customers who have driven a couple hours to shop for its products or eat their ethnic fare. Indeed, a media sneak peek drew journalists from as near as Sunbury and Columbus to as far away as Marion and Cleveland.

“This is a beautiful store,” said Garcia, a native of Spain who now lives in Westerville in Delaware County. “We’re a medium-sized IKEA, but big enough to support this market.”

The 354,000-square-foot store employs more than 325 employees, some of whom live in Delaware and surroundings. Many were working the morning of May 31, tidying things up or zipping about in forklifts. All, like Garcia, were dressed in bright yellow IKEA shirts and blue jeans, matching the flag of Sweden’s colors.

“If you like people, you’ll spend everyday interacting with them,” Garcia said of IKEA, named one of the top 100 companies to work in America. “You’ll grow as a person as well in retail.”

After dropping off their kids in a supervised play area, a customer can ride an escalator up to showrooms that contain all manner of furniture and home goods for every room of the house, even appliances, bedding, picture frames, kitchen utensils, and of course, shelving. The shopping smorgasbord’s thoughtful touches include backlit screens to show how a blind or curtain might look.

The company also stresses that it is green, from using solar panels to eliminating plastic bags and using LED lighting.

“Constantly we are trying to find ways to lower the cost of production, and we pass the savings on to the customer,” Garcia said. There are three main ways to shop — smaller items can go directly in the shopping cart; items with a yellow tag require contacting a staff member; and items with a red tag can be found in the warehouse, with assembly required.

Computers, note paper and pencils in the store allow the customer to plan how they want to customize their living space. They can even make an appointment to see an in-store decorator.

Some of the furnishings are attractively displayed in small rooms so that even if a customer doesn’t buy anything, they might get some decorating ideas, Garcia said. However, he said a typical customer comes to IKEA three times a year, and should see different products on view each visit.

Lighted arrows on the floor lead the customer through the maze of displays, and blue overhead signs offer shortcuts. There’s also an upstairs cafeteria that serves Swedish dishes such as meatballs, a casual dining area below, and a marketplace that sells some of the store’s less expensive products. Other IKEA pluses touted by Garcia included a one-year return policy and a $59 delivery fee.

Despite the expected opening week crowds, Garcia encouraged people to come to the store.

“Even though it’ll be busy, the shopping experience will be very good.”

IKEA manager David Garcia shows off a display to the media a week before the Swedish retailer opens its Columbus store opens its doors in Delaware County.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/06/web1_DSC00043.jpgIKEA manager David Garcia shows off a display to the media a week before the Swedish retailer opens its Columbus store opens its doors in Delaware County.

Some of the 3,500 solar panels on top of the Columbus IKEA store, which can handle 20 percent of the retailer’s power requirements.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/06/web1_DSC00077.jpgSome of the 3,500 solar panels on top of the Columbus IKEA store, which can handle 20 percent of the retailer’s power requirements.

An aisle in the warehouse portion of the store features lightweight, self-assemble furniture.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/06/web1_DSC00127.jpgAn aisle in the warehouse portion of the store features lightweight, self-assemble furniture.

By Gary Budzak

gbudzak@civitasmedia.com

For those who can’t wait

IKEA manager David Garcia said there are incentives for those who arrive early to the store. He said the store will allow people to wait in line on June 5, two days before the opening. Here’s what the early visitors will get:

Thursday, June 8

· The first 44 adults will receive a free queen-sized mattress.

· The next 100 adults will receive a free ALINA “sleep set” of bedspread and cushion covers and two pillows.

· The first 100 children will receive a free golden dog soft toy.

Friday, June 9

· The first 44 adults will receive a free cookware starter set and a food container storage set.

· The next 44 adults will receive freezer bags filled with five different Swedish meals, complete with beverages and desserts, from the store’s Swedish Food Market.

· The first 100 children will receive a voucher for a soft-serve frozen yogurt that day at the Exit Bistro.

Through Sunday, June 11

· Balloon artists, entertainment and face-painting will enhance the family-friendly fun at IKEA Columbus from June 7 through June 11, 2017.

· Through June 11, 2017, visitors to IKEA Columbus may enter a drawing to win one of ten $1,000 IKEA Gift Cards through the IKEA FAMILY loyalty program. IKEA is matching the prizes (a total of $10,000) with a donation of home furnishings to The Homeless Families Foundation, a local organization that provides housing assistance and educational services to homeless families living in Columbus.

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.