If you aren't familiar with IKEA, you've probably lived in Arizona for a very long time and you don't get to California too often. Lets' start with the basics. IKEA is a retailer of home furnishings and accessories. It was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, who grew up on a farm in Sweden. The store specializes in Swedish-style furniture and accessories for people on a budget.
By the way, IKEA is pronounced: eye kee uh.
The address is 2110 W. IKEA Way in Tempe. Take Interstate 10 to the Warner Road exit in Tempe. Go east on Warner and bear left. The second block is Emerald. There is a left turn lane that will bring you into the IKEA parking lot.
What You'll Find
There are more than 10,000 home furnishings and accessories available at IKEA Tempe. If you factor in color and size, you can choose from more than 80,000 items at IKEA. You'll find sofas, bookcases, kitchen cabinets and appliances, beds, mattresses, office furniture, and textiles. You'll find plants, candles, artwork, frames, lamps, rugs, and toys. But IKEA isn't perfect—you won't find computers, plasma TVs, or Hummers.
IKEA fact: Why did IKEA pick Arizona for a store? Well, there were several reasons, including the fact that many Californians, moving in droves to Arizona, are very familiar with IKEA stores. In addition, the current IKEA distribution route is from California through to Texas, and Phoenix is right along the way.
Big Ideas for Small Spaces
There are 62 room setting displays at IKEA Tempe. You can see complete kitchens, offices, living rooms, dorm rooms, kid's rooms, and bedrooms. Each room has a display that tells you how much you'd spend if you furnished an entire room just the way IKEA has it displayed.
IKEA fact: The IKEA store in Tempe has about 400 employees, and more than 300 of those were hired locally. Many of the IKEA Tempe employees are part-timers. IKEA employees who work 20 or more hours per week are eligible for medical and dental insurance, and the IKEA health plan includes coverage for domestic partners and children. Part-time co-workers who work less than 20 hours per week also have access to full benefits.
Walk Into an IKEA Home
IKEA Tempe has four complete model homes that represent real-life situations. All these model homes are rather small. Don't forget that often people have apartments or very small homes in the many locations where IKEA has their stores. Not everyone has 2,000 square feet or more to work with. You'll be amazed at how livable and comfortable these living spaces can be, and IKEA shows you exactly how to do it.
IKEA fact: At various locations in the IKEA store, you'll find blue displays where you can see a map of the store and pick up a shopping list and pencil so you can mark down your purchase information from the price tags. You can even pick up a measuring tape.
Start With the Price Tag
According to IKEA, "Designing a desk that costs a fortune is easy. But designing something that's affordable to many—only the truly talented designer and product developer can do that." IKEA prides itself on producing quality furniture at a low cost that has good design and function.
IKEA fact: The IKEA logo is blue and yellow because these are the colors of the Swedish flag.
For the Kids
At IKEA the product range is child-friendly and covers the needs of the whole family, young and old. The store itself is very oriented toward touching and experiencing—they want you and your kids to sit on the chairs, try out the desks, walk on the rugs, and turn the lamps on and off.
In addition to the supervised play area near the entrance, there are smaller areas throughout the store that your children will enjoy climbing in and around, including a play area in the cafeteria, so you can eat while the little ones work off some energy.
Most importantly, IKEA offers many products with its younger customers in mind. Rooms and accessories for function and fun, in bright colors, will be favorites with the kids. (And the prices will be favorites with the parents.)
IKEA fact: IKEA in Tempe has nine play areas throughout the store, including a supervised area for children who meet the 37 inches to 54 inches height requirement called Smaland that replicates the look of a typical Swedish farmhouse and forest.
Many items at IKEA are packaged differently than at your typical department store. Most items are packed flat. This allows for cheaper transport and distribution on the company's part, and you can get your packages home easily and assemble them yourself. For instance, in the case of pillows, you'll be able to see and feel the display product, but the ones you purchase will come in smaller vacuum-packed versions that are easy to carry. And if you are buying drapes but forgot to measure exactly how long those windows are, it doesn't matter at IKEA. All drapes are sold in one length—long. They also come with a hemming kit so you can do-it-yourself to the perfect length when you get home.
IKEA fact: IKEA Tempe has directional signs and price tags with product information in both English and Spanish.
The Tempe IKEA store is the first one to offer outdoor furniture all year long. You'll also find live plants and other outdoor accessories to spruce up your courtyard or patio.
IKEA fact: IKEA Tempe has 1,300 parking spaces, 20 handicap-accessible spaces, 30 loading spaces, 26 family-parking spaces, and a bike rack for 60 bicycles in case you are pedaling from A.S.U.
The detailed tag on each item at IKEA will let you know the price, size, material, color choices, care instructions, and where you can pick up the item in the store. After you've browsed, visualized, planned, and calculated, you are ready to check out. Many items, like tables, chairs, and shelving, have yellow tags that will let you know where you can pick up the item yourself. If you are buying a larger item, like a sofa or a mattress, an IKEA associate will assist you. There are many smaller items, like candles, frames, and placemats, that you can just pick up as you shop. There are handy yellow shopping bags available for you to carry those smaller items. Utilizing the self-serve warehouse and taking your purchase home and putting it together yourself allows IKEA to keep the prices lower. Of course, if all you brought to the store was VW Golf and you purchased an entire furnished room full of furniture, IKEA can arrange to have it delivered for a reasonable charge.
IKEA fact: All the furniture that you see displayed at the Tempe IKEA store was put together by the IKEA employees. They have first-hand experience and can give you advice if you are concerned about how much expertise it takes to put something together.
Enjoy the Taste of Sweden
The people at IKEA know that you don't want to shop on an empty stomach, and sometimes you'll need a break to re-energize. IKEA Tempe has an assortment of snacks to keep you and your family going during your IKEA outing.
The IKEA restaurant opens one hour before the store opens, so you can go in, have a leisurely full breakfast—for pocket change—and then enjoy your shopping. For lunch, you can order IKEA's famous Swedish meatballs, poached salmon, salads, or sandwiches.
If you really don't want to sit down to eat but you've picked up your merchandise and you want a quick snack, there's a Bistro on the way out where you can get cinnamon buns, frozen yogurt cones, hot dogs, and beverages.
Finally, there's a Swedish food market right next to the Bistro where you can get snacks and gift items to take with you. You can even take home frozen, cooked Swedish meatballs.
IKEA fact: The IKEA Swedish meatballs are all made at one location using a secret recipe, and they are shipped to IKEA stores worldwide. In a typical year, IKEA sells 150 million meatballs worldwide.