IKEA opens in Charlotte

Posted February 18, 2009

— Shoppers who camped out for days cashed in Wednesday when a new 356,000-square-foot IKEA opened in North Charlotte.

Marissa Brete forgot her pillows and spent the night in the rain to be among the first in line for the grand opening. The store provided rain gear for fans who suffered through overnight showers.

Hundreds of people were lined up for the 9 a.m. opening. "I’m more excited to get dry than to get into IKEA to tell you the truth," Michael Bell said.

Employees greeted customers with a round of applause as they poured into the store, seeking furniture bargains or just a warm cup of coffee in the cafe.

The Charlotte Observer reported on Wednesday that an estimated 2,000 people had already packed into IKEA's new 356,000-square-foot store in Charlotte about 30 minutes after its official opening.

"We have a limited budget, but we’re helping the economy," Paula Lash said, justifying her trip.

Sharon Salisbury left satisfied, with a bag full of purchases. "It’s been a good day," she said. "I’m glad IKEA is in Charlotte."

Mayor Pat McCrory echoed her happiness. He has called the opening of the retailer Charlotte's stimulus package. The store created 400 local jobs and is expected to draw day-trippers from hundreds of miles away to its first outlet in the Carolinas.

The city Department of Transportation reported heavy volume and traffic congestion Wednesday on Interstate 85 and along the local streets near the store in Charlotte's University City area. Special signage was in place to direct drivers to and away from the grand opening.

IKEA representatives said they expect the frenzy of curiosity and traffic congestion to continue in the area for a few weeks.

The Charlotte store is the Swedish home goods maker's 36th U.S. outlet.


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  • micah Feb 19, 2009

    IKEA has MUCH more than particle board constructed furniture. A huge part of their offerings are various kinds of solid wood, albeit at a higher price point. Someone who goes so far as to say that IKEA is "nothing more of [sic] the same stuff everywhere" has obviously never been to an IKEA.

  • pack-man Feb 19, 2009

    whomever said potomac mills is the same distance as charlotte needs is kidding themselves. thats pretty sad.

  • manofjustice Feb 18, 2009

    I got my wifes wedding dress from Dollar Tree and she still has it. Well the dress is in different rooms because it came to pieces but we saved a lot of money.

  • manofjustice Feb 18, 2009

    I just bought my sons school clothes from Family Dollar and they are very nice clothes. I love those clothes. I shop at Macy's but Family Dollar has much nicer clothes

  • manofjustice Feb 18, 2009

    As long as there is a dollar general or family dollar or roses near me...who cares about IKEA?

  • silvfx Feb 18, 2009

    IKEA has pretty neat stuff, alot of it is made from sustainable resources and is well designed. Yes it is particle board and will never become an antique but very cool thoughtful designs for not a lot of money. Great names for their stuff too.

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Feb 18, 2009

    I do not know what the big hipe is over this place. If you have all that time to wait then stop complaining... IKEA is nothing more of the same stuff everywhere.. I dont see what the big deal is..

  • exxe75 Feb 18, 2009

    Glad to see the jobs come to NC. But camp out overnight to get into an IKEA store? Wow, someone must really have no life to do that. No, a "negative life". However, the furniture is pretty good.

  • nerdlywehunt Feb 18, 2009

    Like PT Barnum said, there is a fool born everyday.

  • mpheels Feb 18, 2009

    2.5 hours from Chapel Hill to Charlotte beats 4 hours to the one in VA. I'm going to wait a few weeks for the craziness to die down a little, but will definitely make the trip, combined with a stop at Concord Mills... Maybe wait until summer and make it a full weekend with Carowinds too.

    And before the complainers start complaining... A lot of the particle board used in IKEA furniture is made in NC, and a lot of the furniture sold in the region is made in Danville, VA (using the NC made board...). Add that to the 450 jobs the store created, plus the jobs created by construction and the restaurant/gas station revenue the store will bring to Charlotte - this is pretty good for the economy.