Sneak Peek: Oak Creek IKEA opens May 16

"Affordably hip" store almost ready to welcome area shoppers after years of anticipation

Wisconsin’s first IKEA store will open in Oak Creek at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16, following years of anticipation for the Swedish furniture retailer.

The 293,000-square-foot store will feature nearly 10,000 items, three model home interiors, 50 room settings, and a supervised children’s play area.

The store’s massive parking lot will open at 5 a.m. on May 16 with an opening ceremony scheduled for 8 a.m.

“We are excited to be opening our 48th store in the U.S. and our very first store in Wisconsin,” said Samantha Gravina, store manager. “We have received such a warm welcome from the Milwaukee area, and we want to return the favor by welcoming our shoppers with food, fun and iconic IKEA products.”

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The first 200 children, 12 and younger, will receive a heart-shaped toy. The first 1,000 adults will receive a welcome gift.

Every hour a $250 gift card giveaway will be held. Three other gift cards, valued at $500, $1,500 and $2,000, will also be given away on May 16.

The Oak Creek IKEA store is located on 29 acres at the northwest corner of Interstate 94 and Drexel Avenue on land owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. It will anchor a larger, mixed-use development by Northwestern Mutual, although future tenants have not yet been announced.

The IKEA store employs approximately 300 people.

Despite the retail industry being in turmoil, not all brick and mortar is suffering. IKEA has been in business since 1943 and has been the biggest player in furniture for decades, said Jan Rogers Kniffen, a consultant to investors in retail companies and a former retail executive.

“The product has clean design, is not expensive, and has proven incredibly easy to assemble,” Kniffen said.

Last year, IKEA had almost a billion store visits and 2.5 billion visits to its website, Kniffen said.

“I would say that this old Scandinavian maker of furniture that is now headquartered in the Netherlands, is doing fine, and, they are not standing still,” Kniffen said. “They are early on with using artificial intelligence and virtual reality to help customers select furniture that will go well and fit in their homes.”

Garrick Brown, vice president of retail intelligence with Cushman Wakefield, said IKEA’s strength is that it has been adept at connecting with both the millennial and urban consumer.

Brown called IKEA the Trader Joe’s of furniture and furnishings.

“Cheap chic,” Brown said. “They sell affordable furniture and furnishings but they do it with a cool, modern and sometimes edgy feel. They are a lifestyle brand that has managed the difficult task of being both affordable and hip.”

Wisconsin’s first IKEA store will open in Oak Creek at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16, following years of anticipation for the Swedish furniture retailer.

The 293,000-square-foot store will feature nearly 10,000 items, three model home interiors, 50 room settings, and a supervised children’s play area.

The store’s massive parking lot will open at 5 a.m. on May 16 with an opening ceremony scheduled for 8 a.m.

“We are excited to be opening our 48th store in the U.S. and our very first store in Wisconsin,” said Samantha Gravina, store manager. “We have received such a warm welcome from the Milwaukee area, and we want to return the favor by welcoming our shoppers with food, fun and iconic IKEA products.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The first 200 children, 12 and younger, will receive a heart-shaped toy. The first 1,000 adults will receive a welcome gift.

Every hour a $250 gift card giveaway will be held. Three other gift cards, valued at $500, $1,500 and $2,000, will also be given away on May 16.

The Oak Creek IKEA store is located on 29 acres at the northwest corner of Interstate 94 and Drexel Avenue on land owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. It will anchor a larger, mixed-use development by Northwestern Mutual, although future tenants have not yet been announced.

The IKEA store employs approximately 300 people.

Despite the retail industry being in turmoil, not all brick and mortar is suffering. IKEA has been in business since 1943 and has been the biggest player in furniture for decades, said Jan Rogers Kniffen, a consultant to investors in retail companies and a former retail executive.

“The product has clean design, is not expensive, and has proven incredibly easy to assemble,” Kniffen said.

Last year, IKEA had almost a billion store visits and 2.5 billion visits to its website, Kniffen said.

“I would say that this old Scandinavian maker of furniture that is now headquartered in the Netherlands, is doing fine, and, they are not standing still,” Kniffen said. “They are early on with using artificial intelligence and virtual reality to help customers select furniture that will go well and fit in their homes.”

Garrick Brown, vice president of retail intelligence with Cushman Wakefield, said IKEA’s strength is that it has been adept at connecting with both the millennial and urban consumer.

Brown called IKEA the Trader Joe’s of furniture and furnishings.

“Cheap chic,” Brown said. “They sell affordable furniture and furnishings but they do it with a cool, modern and sometimes edgy feel. They are a lifestyle brand that has managed the difficult task of being both affordable and hip.”

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