More pics to come later!
Ms. Eva reporting in from the safe and warm comforts of home.
The grand opening of Ikeas 36th store in the US went without a glitch (well sorta . . . if you count the horrific weather prompting Mr. Castanon to open the store 15 minutes early or the fact that they had to call a Mulligan on the log sawing).
The lines were long but it was a very positive atmosphere despite the cold rain. I was roughly the 140th (give or take a few) person in line & from my viewpoint the Ikea staff worked really hard to keep everyone as comfortable and as welcome as they could – nothing but bright shining faces against the harsh elements. They passed out doughnuts, apple juice (there was a rumor of coffee but I saw none), keychains, beach balls, little squishy chairs and frisbees. Yes I scored them all. They also gave out yellow rain ponchos . . . those were a godsend!
The Charlotte Children’s Choir sounded amazing, I actually got a little choked up hearing them sing our National Anthem and America the Beautiful. Kudos to them and their director. My favorite moment during the ceremony itself was when the Mayor of Charlotte told the folks that had been waiting in line since Monday that they were “crazy.”
Yes, we were all were crazy . . . it was freezing! Snow would have been more comfortable to stand in, you can at least brush snow off. The rain permeated through our already cold bodies. But like I said, it was a dedicated group of shoppers. A handful of folks bailed out when they realized that they were not going to get the free Poang chair (apparently they didn’t do their homework). But for the most part I can safely say the staff of Ikea did their best given the circumstances.
Pictures to come later . . . as soon as I recharge my phone & defrost my feet!
Ms. Eva reporting in!
I’ll make this brief since it’s very hard to type with gloves on and my laptop battery can only last for so long.
I made my arrival at 3:30 this morning & my current position is on the far corner of the building.
Basically folks . . . it’s C-O-L-D outside! Lugging my stuff to the coveted “end of the line” I developed a major asthma attack and the INCREDIBLY AWESOME COUPLE next to me in line found me an outlet for my nebulizer and looked after me until I was feeling better.
Just as I was feeling human again . . . it started to rain!
I’m in my pop-up tent waiting it out.
That’s about it for now.
The place looks like a Swedish refugee camp . . . folks huddled in sleeping bags . . . little tent cities.
It makes me realize what little survival skills I do have.
I may never do this again . . . unless it’s summer . . . and they’re opening in Myrtle Beach . . .
THEN I would consider it!
I could not believe my good fortune when I was able to snag an invite to the Press Preview of the new IKEA store in Charlotte North Carolina. On Wednesday, February 11th, exactly one week before the official opening, I joined dozens of others for lunch and a tour.
I was told that we’d have some treats to sample, but I was pleasantly surprised at the expansive selection of food they had for us: salmon, caviar, herring, cheeses, fruit, pastries, ham, potatoes, fruit, and a nice array of desserts. I even had my first lingonberry juice – it was great!
We were divided into groups: I was in BUMERANG (as in the wooden hangers that IKEA later told us went down in price from $8.95/pack to now selling for $3.95/pack!)
As we toured the model rooms, I recognized most of the items from visiting other stores, the website, or the catalog. Nothing really jumped out at me as particularly unique, however I noticed that for others who were less familiar with IKEA, they “oohed” and “ahhed” at every turn.
The kitchen department at IKEA is my favorite. When we moved into our house five years ago, I knew we were going to have to redo the kitchen. It is “vintage” 1960s — and not in a good way. I have been living with an ugly, dysfunctional kitchen in the hopes that eventually we will be able to gut the whole thing and remodel it with all IKEA stuff. I just can’t imagine having any other kitchen! So I’ll keep putting up with the one I have until I can get the one I want. Pictured here is one of the kitchens at the IKEA Charlotte store that I really liked.
As I went through the tour I was trying to make mental notes of what I want to be sure to get when I come back on Opening Day. I have been writing and rewriting my shopping list for weeks. Of course, I have to remind myself that unlike before when I had to travel 4-6 hours to IKEA and load up on everything I could fit into the van, now I will have an IKEA only 35 minutes away. My new problem will be wanting to go every day! This is really an unfortunate time for me to be living on a smaller budget. But that’s what makes IKEA so awesome — you can get a lot of gorgeous and fun items for your home, and not ruin your budget.
Here is one of their showrooms that really inspired me. I have always loved that green color, and recently am using a lot of browns in my decorating. I also like how the IKEA designers work within color schemes so we can mix and match our purchases to create a personal, but pulled-together look.
As we headed down to the marketplace, I was reminded how much more there was to see! I always love walking through the lighting department. I think we have an IKEA light fixture in every room of our home.
After the tour, we were given a pack of fresh cinnamon rolls, a set of VARMELJUSHALLARE candles, a media kit on a flash drive, and several fliers to share with friends. And it all came in an IKEA small blue bag.
Overall, I was impressed, but not surprised, with the great job that the Charlotte store did. They extended a warm welcome to the press and showed us exactly why the IKEA concept is so inspiring.
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On Monday, IKEA Charlotte held yet another ceremony leading to the Grand Opening of IKEA Charlotte, the first IKEA in the Carolinas. This ceremony was to open the temporary entrance to IKEA which would allow drivers to turn right from University City Boulevard to North Tyron Street. An actual intersection will be built in the future during phase two of the traffic reengineering.
Unfortunately, noone told the tractor trailer driver that the road wasn’t open quite yet before he smashed through the ribbon. Noone was hurt.
I wonder…did they actually CUT the ribbon after that? Or did they pack up their scissors and go home?
IKEA Charlotte Grand Opening is in literally DAYS, 15 days, to be exact – and we have guest bloggers lined up to bring us the news from the front lines! We’ll have coverage of IKEA’s Friends and Family Event on the 14th and coverage from the line on opening day!
Becky Shankle, aka ecomod at IKEAFANS.com and @ecomod on Twitter, of eco-modernism has secured an invite to the Friends and Family event on the 14th (talk about IKEA LOVE!) and has promised to report back on all she sees and hears. Becky is owner of Eco-Modernism, based in Raleigh, NC, a company which has been providing IKEA furniture love in the form of IKEA furniture delivery to the Raleigh Durham area since early 2008. Becky’s been blogging about her adventures with designing, assembling and installing IKEA kitchens, bathrooms and other rooms since August of 2007.
Ms. Eva comes to us from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She’s been anticipating the opening of IKEA Charlotte since the original announcement on January 17th, 2007. Her blog, ikeacarolina.blogspot.com, chronicles her excitement and enthusiam. Ms. Eva plans to be in line on Opening Day and will be sending us updates via her new Blackberry on the events, prizes and crowd. Here’s hoping for good weather!