IKEA is here, IKEA is here! It is impossible to miss the big blue box as you head towards the airport. For many Canberrans, there is a sense of pride that Canberra is finally getting an IKEA all of its own. For others, there is a long shopping wish list.
I was excited to participate in a behind the scenes tour conducted ahead of the opening today. At 26,000 sqm and only one single level, IKEA Canberra is not the largest in Australia; but it is the most sustainable. The store is lit entirely by energy efficient LED lighting, and there are over 1,900 solar panels on the roof.
IKEA researched the Canberra market before opening and visited 120 families. Canberrans, it found, are house proud, have larger than average homes, and enjoy cooking and entertaining at home. They also like their outdoors spaces — seasonally — and this is reflected in outdoor furniture settings displayed in store. In winter, IKEA will feature more cosy settings such as throw rugs over armchairs.
The IKEA Canberra store has features not yet available in other Australian IKEA stores, such as the IKEA Café. The café complements the restaurant, co-situated in the 380-capacity space. I could see an array of cakes, muffins and juices already on display at the cafe, and was a tad regretful we did not get to sample the baked items. IKEA Canberra will serve FIKA (afternoon tea) daily from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. The restaurant will also serve IKEA’s popular Swedish meatballs and $3.99 breakfasts.
IKEA Canberra is also the first IKEA store to promote the LATTJO play collection; it is basically dressups and games for people of all ages, designed to bring fun into everyday life. We dared our tour guide Michael Russell to wear a white tutu style item. He graciously volunteered but when he realized it was nailed to the display opted to a put on a brain hat instead. I have decided I would quite like a cape.
The kitchenware area in IKEA Canberra is also unique in its innovative use of wall space. “Some cooking sections have large expanses of white walls,” said Michael. “But not here.” Instead, the walls are covered with gleaming saucepans and frypans and bright red bundt pans.
Nor are children forgotten. “They are the most important people in the world,” said Michael. Customers can leave their children in the Smaland playground for up to an hour while they shop. Then they can feed them a $3.69 children’s meatball meal, and enjoy a coffee as their kidlets play in safe children’s area within the restaurant.
IKEA Canberra opens to the public at 9.30am today. IKEA will provide coffee and other activities from 6.00am. The roads around the Majura Road shopping precinct have changed. This will help decrease congestion, but I did find it confusing to navigate.
There are regular ACTION buses to IKEA with a bus stop directly in front of the IKEA entrance. ACTION will operate additional buses during IKEA’s opening week.
Where: 1030 Majura Road, Majura 2609
When: Opening day is today, November 16, 2015. Coffee will be served outside the store from 6am with the countdown to the 9.30 opening starting at 9am.
There are extended trading hours for the first week:
Regular trading hours commence on November 23: