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OK, Kanas City Region To Get An Ikea Before St. Louis

October 4, 2012 Big Box, Featured, Retail 19 Comments
ABOVE: Ikea in Bolingbrook, IL, January 2009

The Kansas City region is getting an Ikea store and we’re not:

The home furnishings company, which has 38 stores in the U.S., is announcing at a press conference this morning that it is putting a store in Merriam, Kan. The store is expected to open in fall 2014.

So what does that mean for the prospects of a much desired store in St. Louis?

Joseph Roth, an Ikea spokesman, said the Kansas City store does not diminish St. Louis’ chances.

“They are completely separate trade areas in our mind,” he said. “We still recognize the customer base that exists for us in St. Louis. We just have not committed to a time frame yet or found the perfect site.” (stltoday.com)

This is pretty logical if you think about it, the nearest Ikea to the St. Louis region is the Bolingbrook, IL location in the Chicago region — that’s 273 miles from St. Louis. The closest Ikea to Kansas City, MO is Bloomington MN at 431 miles (Bolingbrook, IL is 486 miles from KC).

I know numerous people here that have driven to the Bolingbrook Ikea in the morning, shopped, and driven back to St. Louis that night, others have stayed in a nearby hotel overnight. Either way, we have much better access to Ikea than people in the Kansas City region do — for now. And once the Kansas City Ikea opens in Merriam, KS two years from now it’ll be roughly 15 miles closer to St. Louis than the Bolingbrook, IL Ikea. A change of pace for those who usually head north on I-55 for flat-packed furniture.

This summer many thought an Ikea was going to come to Richmond Heights because a developer had proposed it. Based on the 6 Ikea locations I’ve visited over the last+ 22 years I doubt we would see an idea within 15 niles of downtown St. Louis. They are a big box retailer that locates along wide exurban arterials on sites highly visible from the highway.

For my last big order I shopped through one of the two local companies that make regular trips to Bolingbrook — I had them bring back items I’d never be able to transport anyway.

My hope is the Kansas City location will be close enough to civilization that it will be on a bus route so I can visit without having to rent a car — a perfect way to make sure I don’t buy too much.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "19 comments" on this Article:

  1. MkV says:

    I’d still rather make the trip to Chicago than KC any day. And, just an FYI, the Ikea in Atlanta is basically downtown. I’m not really interested in StL getting one, it’s more of a destination for us and I think it’d lose it’s luster if we could go all the time.

  2. Ian Scott says:

    The Ikeas in the Bay Area are well-integrated with local transit, and there are multiple areas in the stores with transit info, including route maps for the taking. Hopefully the KC store is similar.

    • I’ve been to the Emeryville, CA Ikea a couple of times, awful area. While a few exceptions do exist in the US, Ikea locates in far edge areas where transit is nonexistent or very infrequent.

      • guest says:

        Sorry to disappoint the hipsters out there, but MOST places in the Bay Area are pretty awful, completely auto-dependent and totally non-urban. Also, what is so great about I (DON’T GET IT ) KEA??

      • Eddie in NorCal says:

        You think Emeryville is awful? Compared to next door Oakland, it’s Nirvana. This was one of the earlier IKEA stores in USA, suburban but in a very crowded corridor, adjacent to interstate. Wide open locations would have been just too far away from SF population StL locations for IKEA would be more like a portion of the quarry (?) at I-270 & I-70, with good access to St. Charles county. Is the Bottle District site north of EJD large enough for the store & parking?

        • guest says:

          Point being, the Bay Area is a built out, growth controlled, suburban maze, almost 200 miles across. Talk about freeway oriented and auto dependent! And they call it the “best place on earth”…

  3. RyleyinSTL says:

    Who is this make-believe person that can get out of an Ikea with so little merchandise that they can board a bus? I’m not sure about the rest of you, but like a run to Costco, I can never leave the place without filling up the car.

  4. moe says:

    I fail to understand what the big doohop is about. A big box retailer…no more, no less. Next topic please.

  5. aaronlevi says:

    i love how fake liberals flock to ikea, but criticize other big box retail shops. I know IKEA has a better track record than say, Wal-Mart, but i have serious doubts that their furniture is made in union shops or that their retail employees are paid a living wage or provided healthcare. big box is big box, no mater how hip the hipsters make it.

    • RyleyinSTL says:

      Ikea has been in North America at least 35 years and has become the place to go when you’re looking for something with more Euro style than is available at Target…thus it wins some brownie points. I’m not sure how you might think that Ikea is a “Liberal” store? Sure Swedes are much more Liberal minded than Americans generally but that doesn’t have anything to do with who might walk through the doors of their American stores. Just because someone in South County hits the Chick-fil-A drive through doesn’t mean they are hateful and homophobic like its CEO.

  6. aaronlevi says:

    and the Kansas City location, from what i understand, will be in Merriam, Kansas. That’d be the St. Louis equivalent of say Olivette or Fairview Heights, Illinois. So there will be a bus line nearby, but with extremely infrequent service.

  7. Imran says:

    I bought a lot from IKEA 5 years ago. In the last few years though when Ive visited the store (4 times) I have returned empty handed. Just do not see anything I really need from there anymore. Maybe my taste in furnishings has changed. The novelty has definitely wore off. It would be nice if the STL region had an IKEA but it is not as big a deal for me anymore.

  8. GMichaud says:

    Whether or not Ikea locates in St. Louis is not so much the issue, but rather why is St. Louis an undesirable destination? St. Louis has the bones to be an important city, but it is being squandered on a daily basis by demolition, poor urban and transit planning and a general lack of attractive urban design solutions.
    Obviously this is a broad issue, but still it is the underlying problem from everything to Fortune 500 companies moving out to the Arch being considered a second tier destination.
    The bottom line is that there is not the awareness of urban design to enable St. Louis to take the next step for its citizens and for outsiders. The inner core of the city is a complete mess. The recent post Steve wrote on Metrolink and Union Station illustrates one part of this problem.
    It is not economics but rather the lack of an urban philosophy which supports the elements developing connective, vibrant neighborhoods that stand in the way.
    The situation is inexcusable given the success of so many cities around the world and the a history of urban design going back to ancient times as examples to lead the way.
    I’m not sure if the problem is sheer stupidity by those in government, or that urban policy has been sold to the highest bidder and they imagine mediocrity supports their bottom line.
    Whatever the case, small victories like the recently opened Starbucks on Grand and the decision by CVS not to demolish the AAA building on Lindell only paper over the problems.
    The question is who is responsible and why does poor decision making continue unabated unless the public creates an uproar?
    These are good questions for Mayor Slay and his fresh new challenger, Lewis Reed.
    Ikea would already be in St. Louis if it did not exist as a mockery to good urban design.

    • JZ71 says:

      You continue to blame the evil government, yet the real blame lies with each one of us. The greater “we” continues to shop in the big boxes, use the drive-thru’s and, in general, accept this crap without any apparent qualms or questions. Until WE, as consumers, demand better (and “vote” with our cash and credit cards), we will continue to get surface parking, beige EIFS and containers of consumer goods from China. The corporate people build what they build and sell what they sell simply BECAUSE IT WORKS! It’s not that they hate urbanity or that they love suburban sprawl. They do what they do because, based on their direct, first- or second-hand-experience(s), they’re gonna make money. Their number one goal is profit. A distant second is adhering to an established corporate brand, Urbanity, or a lack thereof, has very, very, very little to do with any of their decisions. Yes, we should make this an issue with Slay and Reed, but our real target should be the end user / consumer – money talks!

      • GMichaud says:

        This has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with consumers. Citizens do not set policy for transit and urban planning. In fact most of the time it is unelected government officials that make decisions.
        If you are an architect, it is hard to understand why you don’t seem to understand the role and impact of design in the city. A poorly thought out transit system that is not integrated with the urban environment that in turn discourages the use of transit is an example. More than that it pushes the use of the auto, chain stores, and the general economic centralization of the retail industry.

        Who benefits from this type of urban approach? A few insiders who reap the profits.
        So in fact corporations have a strong interest in keeping competition away, and that is done by a type of urban planning that discourages transit and small scale shops. (Small scale shops being the result of a walkable city that supports transit). Corporations are not disinterested observers as you claim.
        You are right money talks, but the consumer has little control over the talking, it is the corporate insiders and those in government who do their bidding. They are the ones doing the talking.

        And yes we should elect other officials who support a more sensible and democratic styles of urban planning. The problem is the whole political system is so hidebound by corporate money that other voices are seldom heard.

        It is only in recent years that Steve Patterson’s Urban Review and other blogs have created forums to counter these trends.


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