IKEA Comes to Canton
A new kind of shopping hit the Detroit area in 2006 with the opening of IKEA. The curious thing was that its coming was heralded far and wide for months before its actual arrival. Of course, there is a novelty and excitement about a store so internationally renowned opening its doors in an area dominated by chain stores; but still, it says something about the community's relative level of entertainment that the opening was so celebrated.
IKEA Affects the Community
Canton’s Downtown Development Authority was undoubtedly pleased. When the Canton IKEA store finally opened, it drew people from as far away as Ohio and Indiana. At first the crowds were so bad that the police had to direct traffic at the parking-lot entrances. In fact, the back-up parking lot across Haggerty Road from the store was filled to capacity.
The store is definitely different from the furniture stores currently populating Detroit. For instance, it uses dimensionally correct rooms to showcase its products, sells everything unassembled in flat packaging from its warehouse and provides uniquely innovative furniture at reasonable prices.
In fact, with its emphasis on space-saving functionality, the store seems perfect for a downtown area with square-foot-challenged apartments or a college town full of dorm rooms. Canton, with its relatively affluent neighborhoods full of 3000-square-foot homes, seems an unlikely location for a store offering unassembled furniture at reasonable prices -- apparently, an eye for value is universal.
Of course, the Canton area has been growing steadily since the 1970s. It is also well located near several freeways to bring in the teaming crowds from parts far and wide that are expected to visit IKEA.
Frankly, the store is overwhelming, both in terms of its size and vast number of products. While there are definitely interesting pieces, making a choice as you meander through the two-story warehouse is darn near impossible. After all, you never know what other must-have item you'll find around the next corner. Giving you plenty of time to make up your mind, however, is part of IKEA's plan; the store provides plenty of extras to ensure its customers get quality shopping time, such as child care/entertainment and a restaurant.
For parents, IKEA offers childcare for smaller children and rents portable game systems for the slightly older child.
At check in at the childcare room, you are given a beeper in case of emergency (or to keep you from making a break for Applebee's). You are also given a specific time to pick up your child. In fact, the childcare room is so popular that you can estimate the crowds to expect in the showroom by how long the childcare service is willing to keep your kid. If it’s less than an hour, beware!
The activity room is just that, providing a non-stop viewing of Disney movies, a coloring table and play equipment. In fact, you might have to drag your child away when his time is up.
The path that winds around the furniture showroom on the second floor and then down through the bed, bath and kitchen area on the first floor counts in at roughly 3000 steps. If it hasn't already, IKEA will undoubtedly prove a great place to walk in the winter.
IKEA’s cafe was clearly designed to keep you from leaving the building. While the salads, sandwiches and entrees are served cafeteria style and you have to bus your own tray, there is a large variety of good, reasonably priced food. As might be expected, the Swedish meatballs are a particular stand out.
Wonder where the name IKEA came from? It is the initials of founder Ingvar Kamprad and the first letter of the farm and village in Sweden where he grew up. Something of a child prodigy, Kamprad opened the first IKEA store when he was 17. His product offerings were different back them, including watches, jewelry and picture frames; but through reaction to competitors, suppliers and logistical problems over the years, he eventually developed the now renowned IKEA concept.