OAK CREEK -- It’s beginning to look a lot like Sweden in Oak Creek.
“Being a Swedish company, we are very proud of our heritage, and blue and yellow are the colors of Sweden," said IKEA Public Affairs Manager Joseph Roth.
Construction on the massive IKEA site just west of I-94 reached a milestone Tuesday, September 12th as the first exterior panels were put into place – giving the store its iconic blue look.
“The blue panels are actually a composite metal panel. There is blue on the outside, white on the inside and there’s foam insulation in between," said Roth.
That makes the panels durable enough to withstand a winter in Wisconsin, or Stockholm. The goal is to have the store fully enclosed by November.
“Then most of the construction activity can move inside -- where we can do mechanical, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and everyone will be shielded from the extreme weather that may exist here this winter," said Roth.
The very first IKEA in Wisconsin – and 48th in the United States – is generating more than 500 construction jobs on the 29-acre site. Things are still on track for the store to open next summer, when IKEA is expected to have more than 250 employees selling Swedish home furnishings – everything from couches and desks to Swedish meatballs.
“It definitely is a very unique space right now for folks who are actually used to IKEA stores. You don’t see room settings. You don’t see walls. It’s just one big open space," said Roth.
But with a splash of a color on the outside, things are starting to look a bit more familiar.