Last week I attended IKEA's grand opening in Ottawa. I didn't know what to expect other than a line of people waiting to get in. It ended up being a little more than that.
There were quite a few people in line (probably a couple hundred), but I think they were expecting more. It was cold but IKEA had heaters to keep us warm, there was good music playing outside and they even rallied the employees to come out and dance. One person who waited for three days ended up winning a $10,000 gift certificate at IKEA and the first 500 people won various prizes.
Before officially opening the new store, there was an official raising of the Canadian, Swedish and Ontarian flags. Each had their own song as the flags were being raised. I didn't realize it was going to be that elaborate.
Then as we came into the store we were welcomed by hundreds of employees, clapping their hands and cheering. It was quite a scene to witness. I couldn't help but think that this is one of the reasons why IKEA is so popular and successful : they value their customers. Why else would they go through such trouble?
Since I was in a hurry I didn't get a chance to visit the 55 inspirational room settings, but I managed to take a couple pictures I thought I'd share with you. I think they did a great job on the lounges and cafeteria. There's also a large covered parking lot underneath a portion of the store which will be very handy in the winter.
Apparently there's a new shopping services offered where you can bring your shopping list and an IKEA member will do the shopping for you and have it delivered. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to be in place on opening day. Hopefully they will offer this service as it would be very useful. All in all I think the new IKEA is a great addition in Ottawa. It's much better than the little store Ottawa had before which was carrying only about 50% of their inventory. You can imagine how frustrating this used to be for designers and decorators who shop at IKEA. But thankfully this is no longer the case. Below shows what we got.
On another note, IKEA-Ottawa will not be the biggest store in Canada for long. I was told by an IKEA member that they are planning a bigger one in Montreal in the years to come. From what I've been told, it will be the biggest one in North America.