OAK CREEK -- The world's largest furniture retailer is unboxing in our backyard. On Tuesday, April 3 IKEA officials offered a look inside the new Oak Creek store -- weeks before it opens. The store is set to open on Wednesday, May 16.
"Most of us are ready now! We've just got to let the store catch up," said Samantha Gravina, Oak Creek IKEA manager.
IKEA Oak Creek will be the Swedish company’s first store in Wisconsin -- and the 48th in the United States. Previously, customers had to travel to the Bolingbrook or Schaumburg stores in Illinois, or to the Bloomington store in Minnesota.
It's a project that's been in the works for several years -- the state's first IKEA.
"For it to actually be coming to life is really exciting for all of us, and we're looking forward to opening," said Gravina.
The 293,000 square-foot store will feature nearly 10,000 exclusive-designed items, three model home interiors, inspirational room settings, family-friendly play areas throughout the store and a supervised children’s play area.
"You'll have over 70 different room settings that will provide inspiration and show you functional solutions," said Gravina.
Each model room is designed with one type of person in mind.
"So are you living with children? Are you living alone? Are you just getting started? Are you empty nesters?" said Gravina.
The store will offer "Click and Collect" -- allowing customers the pre-order online and have items ready when they arrive.
This location will also be home to IKEA’s popular restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries, traditional desserts and American dishes such as chicken fingers, pasta, soup and salad.
"Swedish meatballs, salmon -- if you didn't know about our salmon, it's as good as the meatballs" said Gravina.
To help meet its deadline, the retailer brought 100 IKEA employees from around the world to Oak Creek.
"Many of them have arrived in the last couple weeks to help," said Gravina.
The doors are set to open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday May 16. Customers can begin lining up outside the store at 5 a.m. that morning. The first 1,000 customers in line will receive a goody bag.