Hundreds of workers are filling the massive Jacksonville store for an opening later this year.
Employees at Jacksonville’s first Ikea store have begun installing furniture, assembling displays and stocking the warehouse ahead of a late 2017 opening.
The 290,000-square-foot facility is the first single-story Ikea store in Florida and should be open before the end of the year, according to store manager Leontyne Green Sykes.
“It’s coming along,” Green Sykes said as she led a tour of the blue and yellow building at Interstate 295 and Gate Parkway near St. Johns Town Center.
Green Sykes said 200 employees have been hired and are training in other Florida stores, or are moving merchandise to be staged in the showroom and warehouse in Jacksonville.
“We are still looking to fill about 50 positions, plus some seasonal employees before we open,” she said.
Like other Ikea locations, customers will be able to sift through more than10,000 items from sofas and dining room sets, to LED lighting and small kitchen utensils.
Green Sykes said while employees will have knowledge of products in all departments, a select few will work with customers on custom kitchens, bathrooms and closets.
The showroom will feature more than 40 furnished living spaces, decorated with Ikea products “for inspiration,” Green Sykes said.
She said Ikea performed market research to ensure the showroom “reflects the design trends we’ve seen in this area.”
“You’ll see a lot of dark woods and cleaner lines,” she said. “Of course, styles and tastes change and those changes will be reflected as we go on.”
Green Sykes said most of the interior staging in the showroom and marketplace areas started two or three weeks ago. She said crews began installing checkout lanes this week.
“Every time I walk the store, something’s different,” said Green Sykes, who moved from the Philadelphia area to run the store. She previously was Ikea’s chief marketing officer for North America.
Joseph Roth with Ikea public affairs said the Swedish company will open four North American locations in 2017, including first locations for the Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Milwaukee areas, and a second location in Dallas.
He said growth “ebbs and flows” from year to year.
“We may open only one store next year, but we have four scheduled for 2019,” Roth said.
“It’s a long process since we’re not just building a store, we’re buying and developing large pieces of property,” he said.
When will the Jacksonville store open?
“We don’t have an opening date yet, but we’re confident in a fall opening,” Green Sykes said.