Winnipeggers have lots of reasons to feel down these days, but not for long. The Blue Bombers missed the playoffs, and the Jets aren’t playing at all thanks to the never-ending story that is the NHL lockout.
But Attention Shoppers ! On Wednesday November 28th, the Manitoba capital will finally get IKEA ! This was one of those strange running gags that affected the psyche of the community for many years. While Regina and Saskatoon have wondered why they can’t have an Olive Garden restaurant, the object of envy in Winnipeg has been IKEA.
The multi-national company based in the Netherlands would seem to be a perfect fit for Winnipeg, but when the CEO visited the city a decade ago, he was less than impressed for some reason. The prairie community was well down their list of places to build, but now it’s happening.
The huge complex in southwest Winnipeg is like a mini-city, and it’s expected to draw visiting shoppers from Saskatchewan, northwest Ontario and the northern U.S. They will wander through more than 50 showrooms spread over almost 400,000 square feet. There are more than 40 cash checkouts, and a restaurant that can accommodate 650 people.
The parking lot can handle more than 1600 vehicles. 300 fulltime employees will work at the Ikea store. More than 3,000 folks applied for the jobs. On opening day there will be extra police officers to handle traffic and crowd control.
Will I be shopping there any time soon? Not likely. I don’t like crowds, and I’m not very good at assembling furniture with an Allen key.
It’s fascinating to observe what the Ikea story says about shopping as a leisure activity. Thirty years ago Dieter Brock was a star quarterback with the Blue Bombers. He complained that there wasn’t enough to do in Winnipeg, and he was tired of visiting the zoo.
Come on back Dieter. We have a new ballpark, and IKEA ! What more could you want?
I’m Roger Currie
You can listen to Roger Currie’s commentary by clicking on the link below: