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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Oct. 12, 201705:17 PM EST

A camping invitation from Ikea

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The Swedish home furnishings store will open Nov. 8, but says customers can camp out two days earlier for chance at prizes.
by: Monty Zickuhr Managing Editor

Ikea announced Thursday it will open its Jacksonville store at 9 a.m. Nov. 8, but shoppers who want to be among the first through the doors had better start packing their camping gear.

The store said customers can start lining up Nov. 6 — 48 hours in advance of the opening. 

Ikea said it will provide campers with snacks and beverages throughout the two days. It also will offer a charging station for electronics,  a restroom and smoking area and play a variety of games with the campers.

Ikea said the number of campers at grand openings varies depending on the prizes and giveaways it offers. The company will will release details on those soon.

An Ikea in Fisher, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis, opened Wednesday. According to the website of WPTA TV-21, a crowd of more than 150 camped out.

The Indianapolis Star said the first 45 people in line received a free $379 EKTORP sofa and the next 100 a POANG chair. Other giveaways included a mattress and cookware set.

The Jacksonville Ikea will employ about 250 workers. The store will feature a restaurant, snack bar and supervised children’s play area.

Something else to expect at the Jacksonville grand opening: Big crowds.

The newspaper reported the store’s 1,000-car parking lot was full by 10:30 a.m. and shuttle buses were being used to transport customers from an overflow lot.

The 290,000-square-foot store at Gate Parkway and Interstate 295 is the Swedish company’s fifth store in Florida and its 46th in the U.S.  It has 950 parking spaces.

“We are thrilled by the excellent construction progress made to date, and believe we can complete the remaining milestones and interior build-up by early-November. Besides furnishing our store, we are also focused on continuing recruitment and training of all the co-workers joining the Ikea family,” store manager Leontyne Green Sykes said in a news release.

“We look forward to introducing North Florida customers to an exciting new way of shopping for the home,” she said.

The store will feature 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 inspirational room settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 275-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. 

The store will employ about 250 and still is looking for workers. Interested candidates can apply at IKEA-USA.com.

The Jacksonville store is different from its Florida counterparts in that it’s one level.

It also will include one of Florida’s largest retail solar rooftops, with 5,472 panels.

What not to expect at the grand opening: A ribbon-cutting. Instead, log-sawing is part of the Ikea tradition.

For more grand-opening plans and promotions, visit IKEA-USA.com/Jacksonville.

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