Ikea business still booming

By |2006-07-06T09:00:00-04:00July 6th, 2006|Entertainment|

CANTON – After scoring one of Michigan’s largest grand openings – 5,000 people rushed into the department store before 11 a.m. on opening day – Canton Ikea store manager Mark McCaslin didn’t know what to expect.
“It’s a nice, steady business,” said McCaslin.
McCaslin, who worked previously for four years at Ikea in Long Island, N.Y., said moms with their strollers shop during the day and more furniture buyers come in the evening.
“I don’t know if that means they’re getting their trucks or SUV but we’re very pleased,” he said.
But Ikea is more than just Swedish furniture.
“We really have something for everybody,” McCaslin said.
From $5-$35 framed floral, animal and cityscape prints to kitchenware and flooring to Swedish meatballs and 50-cent hot dogs in the 300-seat restaurant, Ikea is more than a “plain Jane” furniture store.
It’s easy to get lost in the two-story, 311,000-square-foot building. But once on the top floor, which is Ikea’s showroom, just follow the arrows through the maze of bedroom nooks, dining areas and other living spaces (some laid out by a defined number of square footage for dorms, etc).
Ikea sells over 10,000 items, ranging from kitchen cabinets and sofas to coat hangers and potholders all priced fairly, sometimes dirt-cheap.
“You do a little, we do a little, and together we’ve saved a lot,” McCaslin said.
The warehouse is self-serve, which decreases staff and therefore the cost of Ikea’s goods.
“We flat pack our furniture so we can get more on a container and vacuum seal pillows and quilts so we can get more on a pallet,” McCaslin said. “Shipping ends up being the most expensive part of the cost of the product.”
Ikea also flat packs lamps in boxes the size of a hand, which when assembled are nearly the size of a chandelier. And the merchandise isn’t just made for those expecting cheap, disposable items. Ikea sells well-designed and quality furniture.
“We had rich and famous [people] there all the time at the Long Island store,” McCaslin said.
The merchandise at Ikea is economically made to keep the prices low. For instance, their tea light candles are made from recycled fuse casings that were being phased out at a Polish factory, according to the Free Press.
The gay-frequented environment of Ikea is also an equal opportunity one – even for LGBT employees. “We just want you to work hard,” McCaslin said.
Ikea is located on Ford Rd. at Haggerty in Canton. For more information visit http://www.ikea-usa.com or call 734-981-6300.

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.