Monday, 26 November 2012

Inside the new Winnipeg IKEA

I heard there was a media night for the new IKEA here in Winnipeg, so I put on my trench coat, stuck a card that says "PRESS" in the band of my fedora, and snuck in for a preview.

I was amazed by what I found: a DJ, free champagne, appetizers from MISE Bistro, a killer gift bag filled to the top with awesome stuff, 15% off everything in the store... I could certainly get used to being a member of the media. If a young person ever comes to me and asks for advice, I'm going to tell them to go into journalism. Best job ever!
I should start by saying that I like IKEA. The office I am currently sitting in features two IKEA book shelves, an IKEA desk, an IKEA wall-mounted cabinet, an IKEA garbage can, and probably a couple of other miscellaneous items from the Swedish megastore. Not all of our rooms are like this mind you, but we do enjoy shopping there.

You would think, therefore, that I would be enthusiastic about IKEA coming to town. Well I am, but only moderately so. We have probably already bought all of the home furnishings that we ever would buy from there, at least for a while.

If I go to IKEA now, it's mostly for small things: little boxes for organizing, tea lights, lunch .... I have never actually had the famous IKEA meatballs. I thought tonight might be the perfect night to try them out. I just have to find the meatball station hidden somewhere in Canada's second largest IKEA.


The bamboo IKEA USB stick that they gave us says that the store is 395,671 square feet. That is a mere 3,000 square feet smaller that the Ottawa store, although both will be eclipsed next year by the expanded Montreal store at an astounding 500,000 sq ft.

The size of the Winnipeg store is a little bit misleading. The warehouse portion is larger than most other stores because, as one IKEA employee put it, our store is an "island" with no other distribution centres around. I expect this means that catalog orders to Regina will come from here now instead of Calgary.
With the larger warehouse, the actual shopping area probably isn't that much larger than most other IKEAs. If you been in one elsewhere, you know what to expect including tidy little "inspirational room settings" that showcase the products, and a 1.3 km labyrinth-style layout that will take you past lots of clean lines, geometric shapes, and bright colours.
What's different about our IKEA? Mostly improvements in the building itself: geothermal heating, skylights, a rainwater collection system and other similar things. They did not paint the building green in case you were wondering. There will be bicycle parking too, for you hardcore bike nuts.

The insanity starts for real on Wednesday, November 28. And just because it wouldn't be crazy enough as it is, IKEA is giving the first 1000 people free "mystery boxes" with a $75 gift card and a chance to win up to $5000 of IKEA stuff. Good luck peeps. I'm glad I got to go to this shindig, because I'm staying the heck away from there at least until the madness subsides ... which will probably be sometime next spring.
... but I will be back because I still haven't had any meatballs!!  Would you believe I completely missed the meatball station? I don't know how that happened.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonder how the "Language Police" in Quebec are going to make Ikea into a French Name as they are trying to make Home Depot, Walmart etc.

RM said...

Bike racks... those must be for LEED points? Who'd take a Billy bookcase on a bicycle?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cherenkov said...

Anon: IKEA is an acronym, so maybe AEKI in French?

RM: you can bike there for a $3 lunch!

last comment deleted because it contained a link to a potentially infamatory poster unrelated to post subject.

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