Shop Affordable Style At IKEA Charlotte
In February 2009, IKEA opened their 36th US store. Shoppers lined up overnight in the rain and cold for the event. Within 30 minutes of the grand opening of IKEA Charlotte, more than 2,000 people had flocked inside to browse stylish home goods at affordable prices.
What inspired a rock-star welcome for a furniture store? IKEA, a Swedish-based retailer, is an international phenomenon with over 300 stores in nearly 40 countries. The Charlotte store is the only IKEA in the Carolinas and, at 356,000 square feet, is one of the largest in the United States. Nearly half of the massive Charlotte Convention Center could fit inside IKEA Charlotte, located just off of Interstate 85 in north Charlotte, on IKEA Boulevard.
With around 50 room showcases, the Charlotte store offers no shortage of inspiration for those looking to furnish a room, upfit a kitchen with new cabinetry, add ambient lighting to a bathroom, or simply find a signature item for an empty shelf. IKEA Charlotte shoppers encounter thousands of products, many of which require assembly after purchase, which is a defining characteristic of the IKEA concept. By letting shoppers handle assembly and delivery, IKEA can keep prices low. Delivery and assembly services are available at reasonable rates, but some would argue that part of the fun of the IKEA experience is the satisfaction of turning a pile of components into a beautiful, finished piece.
What’s in a Name?
Wondering why that pillow or bookcase has an exotic-looking name on its price tag? Product names are another feature of the IKEA experience. The store’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, is dyslexic. When he began his fledgling furniture business in the 1950s, Kamprad had trouble remembering product numbers, so instead he gave his inventory descriptive Scandinavian names. For instance, bathroom items are named after Swedish lakes. A desk chair that snaps together upon assembly is called Snille, meaning “snappy and clever” in Swedish.
Speaking of names, there is a reason the store’s name is written in all-capital letters: it’s an acronym. The I and K in IKEA are Ingvar Kamprad’s initials, and the E and A stand for Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village in Sweden where Kamprad grew up.
IKEA Charlotte Shopping Tips
Ready to shop? Here are a few tips for making the most of your IKEA experience.
Dress comfortably. You are about to embark on a long walk. Be sure to don good walking shoes. And remember how your parents used to warn you to use the restroom before a road trip? Same advice here. Restrooms are placed conveniently in the entry foyer.
It may also be advisable to fuel up with a well-priced Swedish meal. The cafeteria-style café at the top of the entrance escalator serves delicious, authentic Swedish dishes off of a hot and cold bar.
Grab a map. A stand in the entry foyer holds stacks of blue, tri-fold brochures that double as store map and shopping list. Serious shoppers should grab one or two little pencils to write down model, aisle and bin numbers of items they want to purchase to make it easy to locate those products in the warehouse at the end of the IKEA journey.
Look up. And not just to see the cool lighting fixtures. Signs hanging from the ceiling provide valuable directions to furniture departments, cafés, restrooms, and, importantly, store shortcuts: hidden doors that let goal-oriented and/or sore-footed shoppers take the quickest route through the store.
IKEA offers home delivery. Can’t fit those four boxes of new couch into the SUV you borrowed? Turn your wheelcart around and head back inside the glass doors to the home delivery kiosk to arrange for your purchase to be delivered at a mutually agreeable time. Because it’s IKEA, this is an affordable service and should cost under $100 for delivery to the Charlotte area. But if you plan to haul your booty further afield, investing in trailer rental before your trip is a good idea.
Browse products, find directions, and learn more at the IKEA Charlotte website.
By Beth Leysieffer
added: December 1, 2009
updated: December 2, 2009
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