Jacksonville IKEA opens with a lot of fanfare -- and freebies


Jacksonville has joined an exclusive club, becoming just the 46th city in the U.S. to boast an IKEA store.

The Swedish-based company held the grand opening of its newest U.S.-based store on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The store, located at 7801 Gate Parkway, has 290,000 square feet of space and is situated on 25 acres. 

The number of households in the First Coast area and the land space available made the location a good fit for IKEA, said store manager Leontyne Sykes.

While the store may be primarily known for inexpensive, do-it-yourself furniture, the company wants customers to know it has a lot more to offer.

IKEA has a supervised children’s play area where parents can leave their children while they shop. There are no more than six kids per supervisor.

The Jacksonville store also boasts a 275-seat restaurant, which serves breakfast for $2, and, of course, its famous Swedish meatballs, which are also available for purchase to make at home.

“We know many (Jacksonville residents) are familiar with IKEA, and we have heard from many who have travelled to Orlando to shop at IKEA,” Sykes said during last week’s media preview. “We’re excited to say you don’t have to do that anymore.”

One of the unique aspects of an IKEA store is its specially designed room displays, which show customers a completely designed room from top-to-bottom and gives them an exact dollar amount for the cost to design the room.

“We want people to come in and have a great time and a great shopping experience,” Sykes said.

IKEA has hired 325 employees for the Jacksonville store, which includes extra help for the busy holiday season, Sykes noted.

During its grand-opening week, people lined up as early as Monday to be among the first through the doors, lured in by big prizes. The store gave away sofas, armchairs and gift cards on Wednesday, and is giving away queen-sized mattresses, sleep sets and dog toys today. On Friday, the store will give away a cookware set and vouchers for free meatballs for a year. And on Saturday, veterans and service members can get a free meal at the restaurant (with military ID).

IKEA, which was founded by Ingvar Kamprad of Sweden in 1943, has more than 400 stores in 49 countries.

The Jacksonville store will be open from Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The store will be closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas.