by Kari Burholder
Ahh, can you hear that? It’s the sound of shoppers across the Kansas City area buzzing in anticipation. Kansas City has been in a flurry of excitement ever since the large Swedish company announced its plans to build an Ikea in Merriam. Finally, on Wednesday, September 10th at 9:00 am, just shy of 2 years since that announcement, the 40th IKEA store in the United States will open its doors.
I had the opportunity to take a tour of the new facility on Wednesday, and I have to say that I was NOT disappointed. Being a newbie to IKEA, I was unsure of what to expect. Walking through the doors, I half expected a choir of angels bellowing a harmonious “ahhhh”. Needless to say, I was disappointed on that point, but I was not let down on the “ahh factor”. The store has 3 levels with the Showroom at the top, a Marketplace in the middle, and the Self-Serve on the ground floor.
After arriving onto the middle level, you are met with yet another escalator and an open space with a few professionally designed “inspirational room settings”, a tv with tiny blue stools and a door to the supervised children’s play area. Inside are boy’s and girl’s bathrooms, a water fountain, and a fun play area where we were told children can play freely, engage in reading, craft time and other various activities. Parents may sign their children in, go shop and not worry about the well-being of their children. Kids are supervised by store employees who have been specifically screened and trained in CPR. No adults other than store employees are allowed in the children’s area. Now how’s that for a convenient shopping experience, moms?!
Once your kids are checked in safely, you can go upstairs to the showroom. This is where you can tour the 37 inspirational room settings, and 3 model home interiors that showcase the company’s 10,000 exclusively designed products. Be sure to bring your cameras, or smart phones, folks. You WILL get inspired, and may be in danger of maxing out your credit cards! The colors are bright and vibrant, and the designs are crisp, clean and elegant. The prices are oh-so-affordable. Yes, most of the wood furniture is pressed wood with veneer finishes, so if you’re looking for expensive hardwood pieces to pass down generation to generation, you are in the wrong place. But, if you like to decorate and have a hard time committing to one look for a long period of time, this is for you! Products look very high quality and with an amazing amount of options and interchangeable parts, you can make a look all your own.
The fun part about the showroom is that they have a fun system that helps you coordinate, and also find the items you want to buy downstairs in the Marketplace. They provide nifty paper rulers, pencils and paper so you can measure the displays, write down your wish list, or record ideas.
The home accents are beautiful too! They leave no wall untouched and show so many unusual ways to organize and use dead spaces. I found a very affordable item that I will be using to showcase my own work and organize my office. I can’t wait to return and purchase them!
Once you’ve had a look at the showroom, you can stop in for a bite to eat in the 450 seat restaurant. The food area is laid out cafeteria style with you selecting the items you want from refrigerators and chefs calling out orders and handing you food from the other side. You can indulge in so many delectable Swedish treats. Try their famous Swedish meatballs, a freshly baked cinnamon roll, or a glass of their sparkling pear soda. The prices simply cannot be beat with a children’s meal starting at just $2.99. On another note, parents you may want to mark down that Tuesdays Kids eat FREE! I mean, absolutely free… no adult meal purchase required!
After stopping for a bite to eat, you can go downstairs to the Marketplace where you can find all of the items that you saw in the showroom and put them in your bag to purchase. Products are organized according to room and color. Again, it is so organized and pleasing to the eye, any neat freak would be in heaven here! As you weave up and down aisles, you can gain inspiration at every turn.
Upon going down the last flight of stairs, you find yourself in the Self-Serve area of the store where most of the larger pieces are stored and stocked. You may also find your way to the checkout lanes and pay for your items. By the checkout counters, there is also a small food market that boasts .50 all beef hotdogs and sells a few of the Swedish favorites you can find in the restaurant. I have to say, I’m looking forward to giving each and every item a very thorough taste test!
After over 2 hours of tasting food and walking the showroom, I can honestly say that Ikea is going to be a big HIT with this community. Without a doubt I already know I will probably spend way too much time here, but at least the prices are low! I’m looking forward to opening day and am planning to be there with pocketbook in hand ready to spend some of my hard earned money at Ikea! Be sure to take a look at the official press release for all the details on all of their Grand Opening Giveaways! You won’t want to miss it!!