Facebook Twitter

Massive IKEA won’t be for the faint of heart

SHARE Massive IKEA won’t be for the faint of heart

Just to walk the aisles, briskly, without stopping to look at the goodies beginning to line the shelves, takes half an hour.

When the doors open at the Draper IKEA store on May 23, customers likely will spend much more time than that.

The new IKEA, located off I-15 and Bangerter Highway, is the popular Swedish furnishing retailer's first store in the Intermountain West and its 30th in the United States.

"The average shopping trip to IKEA is two to three hours," IKEA spokesman Joseph Roth said Wednesday during a tour of the store. "If you're browsing, but not buying, it's closer to 1.5 hours."

Here's why: The store, which was abuzz Wednesday with workers busy with everything from laying concrete to assembling display rooms, spans 310,000 square feet and will carry 10,000 items — from flooring to appliances, power strips to complete kitchens.

IKEA's ground floor features the store's marketplace, which houses the thousands of items to accessorize a living or work space, in addition to a Swedish food market and bistro, and the store's massive self-serve warehouse. The second-floor showroom will feature 50 different room settings and three complete model homes in addition to the 300-seat restaurant and children's play area.

Work on the store is proceeding as planned, IKEA Draper manager Paul Janzen said. By the end of the month, the store will have a finished, landscaped exterior. Inside, construction of the store's showroom, marketplace and offices are complete and awaiting finish work.

"We are putting the finishing touches on, construction-wise," Roth said. "From here on out, the rest is just buildup."

Inventory began arriving this week, and sales associates are already getting practice assembling the furniture in their respective sections, Janzen said.

"It's a great way to build some training into the experience," Janzen said. "It's important for us to be the home furnishing experts and to show that through every single thing in the store."

The Draper IKEA will employ upwards of 350 people, and Janzen said that as of Wednesday, the hiring process had progressed ahead of schedule. About 250 people are already at work, Janzen said, and about 50 more jobs have been filled. The remaining positions offer a "mix" of opportunities, Janzen said, from cashier and food service to sales and logistics.

While the quantity of applications has reflected the market size — which is smaller than, say, Dallas — Roth said the Utah applicants have IKEA smiling.

"The quality of applicants has actually stood out here," he said. "Because of the low unemployment rate, many of the people applying already have jobs and are looking to leave those jobs to work at IKEA as opposed to people who are unemployed and looking for work."

"The applicants seem more focused about what they want," Janzen added.

E-mail: jnii@desnews.com