By Beatrice Sixt
IKEA is the biggest furniture retailer in the world. If you looked hard enough, you probably could find at least one or two items in your household from IKEA. Even though it mainly sells furniture, it sells other items like dishware, art, and even food.
The History Behind It
It started out in 1943 by 17 year old Ingvar Kamprad. It originally was a mostly mail-order sales business, but in 5 years it became a furniture retail company. The name “IKEA” is an acronym that stands for Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd (which is the farm where he grew up), Agunnaryd (which is his hometown in Småland, southern Sweden). When it became a furniture company, it went under the name “Möbel-IKÉA”, first opening in Älmhult, Småland (Älmhult is a locality in Sweden and Småland is a province.). The first non-Sweden stores opened in Denmark and Norway. The Norway store opened in 1963 and the Denmark store opened in 1969. The stores quickly spread throughout the 70s, with the first non-Scandinavian store opening in 1973, and another store opening shortly after in 1974 in West Germany. After that, the stores spread to the rest of the world.
The Upstairs Level
The IKEA I am going to be focusing on is the one in Emeryville, CA. It’s a 41 minute drive (30.9 miles) from the Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco to the store. That is if you’re lucky, mostly because of traffic and other annoying things. It usually takes an hour for me.
Once you arrive, the store is two stories and very large. There is a lot of parking with a big cement garage right next to it. When you first go inside, you are greeted with a display, an escalator diagonal from the entrance, and the play place, called Småland, off into a corner. The bathrooms are a little farther than the display.
On the upstairs level, there is the restaurant and room displays, with furniture close by for you to test out. The room displays are nice, they are great for inspiration for where to put and what do with your furniture. I’d give them a decent 8/10. If you finish with the furniture, the kids room areas are after. The kids room furniture leads to the restaurant. By the restaurant, there is staircase that goes downstairs.
You access the store by going down the stairs next to the food court. It’s pretty large and you first go through the showroom that displays all the remaining furniture. Along the way, there are bins where you can pick up some of the items displayed. The next part is more warehouse-like, there are still some displays, but it is mainly aisles. “Aisles full of what?”you might ask. Well, you know all that furniture that was displayed earlier? The aisles house boxes and boxes full of the stuff you need to build all those chairs and daybeds. They also have an as-is section (which is basically things you don’t have to build), checkout stations, and a store where you can by food. The store is nothing special. It’s a normal IKEA store, so if you’ve ever been in an IKEA bef0re, you know how it is. Out of ten, it was a strong 7.
The IKEA restaurant has many foods. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
This is a glimpse of the menu:
Swedish Apple Cake
Salmon Fillet with lemon & dill sauce
Marinated Salmon Plate
Marinated Salmon Wrap
From that menu, I’ve only ever had the meatballs. With the meatballs, you get a side of lingonberry sauce, seasonal vegetables, and mashed potatoes with gravy. The meatballs are not very gamey and have a lovely flavor. They also have quite a good texture. I would give it an 8/10. The mashed potatoes with gravy are pretty standard, a good 4/10. The vegetables are also standard, also deserves a rating of 4/10. The lingonberry jam overall is nice and compliments the mashed potatoes. The meal is filling and delicious, especially for the easy price of $5.00.
Besides the food, let’s discuss the restaurant. The restaurant has a lunchroom-like vibe, with a self-service counter. Then, there is a bar with different sides dishes like biscuits and other foods, along with a place to check-out shortly after it. This all arranged in an open staple shape. There is a dining area, with a island in the middle of it, where you can get silverware and other things you need to enjoy your meal. It’s a nice place to eat.
For this paragraph, I am going to talk about some of the furniture. I have the RENBERGET chair, which is a swivel chair with armrests made out of leather. It costs $59.00 I decided to build this a few weeks ago on September 3, Labor Day. It comes in a big brown box. Most of the pieces in the box are visable. The problem I had from here is that MOST were visable. I could not, for the life of me, find the armrests and another piece that I’ve forgotten. Finally, my mom found it inside the back, which is a pretty nice place to put it, so I will give them that. It was pretty easy. While building your furniture, make sure to put on a show or some music and it will go faster. For me, my mom and I put on a mockumentary called Cook-Off. It was pretty alright, but a movie review is for another day. Out of ten, I’d rate the chair a solid 8/10.
In conclusion, I highly recommend IKEA. It’s a great store with great food, great furniture and great fun. An overall experience of 10/10. If you would like to go, the actual store hours (Monday to Saturday) are 10am-9pm and (Sunday) 10am-8pm. The restaurant hours are (Monday to Sunday) 9:30am-8:30pm and (Sunday) 9:30am-7:30pm.
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