May 7, 2012

The New Richmond Ikea

More parking, more display space, more meatballs

BY LORI FRALIC

As far as reinventions go, the opening of the new $80-million IKEA store in Richmond not only turned out to be a much-feted debut – thousands of shoppers lined up to test their Allen keys while noshing on lingonberry-sauced meatballs – it also highlighted the chain’s recognition that the customer is king.

The signs are everywhere. It’s easier to find a parking spot: there are 1,400 spaces in the lot, with some of them underground, and there are even 100 slots for bicycles. (The latter is part of the new building’s green theme, which also includes an edible rooftop garden for staff and solar panels that provide electricity to the expanded parking lot.)

Inside the airy new store, the 9,000 items with their famous tongue-twisting names and their nod to clean modern décor are arranged in much roomier square footage, with 51 “room settings” artfully spaced throughout the 334,000-square-foot floor plate, a significant increase from the 201,285 square feet of the old store.

For those who are decorating-challenged, who need a little more help than the chain’s annual catalogue and self-serve departments offer, the new IKEA also offers a sign-up service of home-consulting experts whose free advice is sure to make the difference when it comes to deciding between an Effektiv and an Ektorp.

For Swedish foodies, who frequent IKEA as much for the food as the scented candles, there’s a huge Swedish Food Market and, in the cafeteria, those tasty little meatballs are still piled high in the hot trays. And no worries about finding a place to have lunch and ponder your purchases – the new cafeteria is six times larger than the old one, with 600 seats providing plenty of room for all those families that regularly flock to the $1 early-bird breakfast special.

And if you’re wondering what’s in store for spring and summer, think wood. IKEA is the third largest retail consumer of wood in the world, and features sustainable acacia in its 2012 line of seasonal outdoor furniture. The new IKEA is located on Jacombs Road, a stone’s throw from its big blue and yellow and soon-to-be-demolished predecessor, which has been a Richmond mainstay since 1983.

The new IKEA, and its sister location in Coquitlam, are part of an international home furnishings giant that has more than 300 stores in 50 countries.

 

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