From coast to Sac, IKEA’s finally closer | NevadaAppeal.com

From coast to Sac, IKEA’s finally closer

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer

Desingn concepts are unique, in this case a ding table with nesting chairs, for less space in tight quarters.

Two questions seem to come up whenever there is a conversation about retail stores in Carson City. The first is, “When is Trader Joe’s coming to Carson City?” The other is, “When is IKEA going to open a store close to us?”

Trader Joe’s is slated to open soon across the county line in northern Douglas County. However, the company is still mum on just when Carson residents can expect a shorter drive to satisfy their hunger for TJ’s eclectic selection of exotic foods and wines.

IKEA, on the other hand, is still a bit of a drive. The Swedish modern design store that sells spiffy home furnishings at modest prices got a little closer to us when the company opened a shop in West Sacramento. Instead of having to drive to coastal California to shop at IKEA, now Northern Nevadans can make an easier run down Highway 50 West through Sacramento to park at IKEA.

But don’t rush off and print out the map on the Internet showing the store’s location. It will only confuse you. It took an hour of fruitless driving around I-80 and finally the help of a state patrol officer to land us there. The map shows I-80 and the exit ramps in West Sacramento – but doesn’t explain that the I-80 involved is the one en route to Reno.

So coming from Carson City just go through town, pass over the river and exit on I-80 Reno. Pretty soon IKEA will emerge in its trademark blue-and-yellow building.

WHY GO TO ALL THE TROUBLE?

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We don’t try to lure Carsonites away from shopping at home, but there just isn’t anything like IKEA around here. Maybe Dania in Reno comes close, but it is miles away from IKEA’s low-ball pricing. If you want modern European-style home furnishings – everything from beds to a fancy, complete home bar – IKEA may be your best bet.

Even for men who hate to shop, IKEA can be pleasurable. You walk in the atrium entryway and if you’ve got kids with you who measure 37 to 54 inches tall, you can drop them off free at Småland, a supervised kids’ playroom. If they don’t fit in those inches, take them along as there are plenty of places for kids to romp and play in the store.

IKEA works on the principle that if you buy something you’ll want to take it home with you now. So everything – sofas, beds, bars, chairs – comes in flat-packaged units that fit most SUVs. You wander through the second-floor displays and if you see something you want, you check the price tag and note the storage location of the item on the first floor.

Down there you load the item onto a cart and hustle it to the checkout counters. Then out to the parking area where there is a space for loading items. And friendly helpers are on hand to lift the buy into the car.

How It All Started

In 1959, IKEA Swedish founder Ingvar Kamprad altered the “shopping experience” by offering classic Swedish dishes such as meatballs with lingonberries and cream sauce at his store. Ingvar’s philosophy, “You can’t shop on an empty stomach,” inspired the introduction of a restaurant and Swedish foodmarket into the IKEA store concept. The name IKEA comes from Ingvar Kamprad, who grew up on a farm called Elmtaryd in the parish Agunnaryd in southern Sweden.

The IKEA restaurant

Few home and furniture stores offer hot food. IKEA opens for breakfast earlier than the store opens for shopping. Its restaurants offer cafeteria-style dining approach. Each year, IKEA globally serves over 150 million meatballs. That’s a lot of meatballs, mama mia! (Get the meatball medium size dish; the large is overwhelming if dining in). Baby bottles can be warmed in bottle-warmers, and baby food is available (50 cents a jar) that can be heated up in the microwaves.

The Swedish foodmarket features hundreds of packaged specialty goods exported from Sweden, such as cheese, cookies, candies, and smoked salmon. Swedish meatballs are available frozen. Now you know how to fix meatballs for your next cocktail party.

The Bistro, after the checkout area, goes American with all-beef hot-dog (50 cents each), hot dog and soft drink combo ($1.25), a cinnamon bun ($1 each, or a six-pack for $4) or a smooth frozen yogurt cone treat ($1).

Affordable Design

Products are designed with the price tag first. Most furniture designs are flat-packed. The self-serve shopping concept and ready-to-assemble products with globally-used pictorial assembly directions allow customers to take their purchases home and use them the same day.

Tools of the trade

Stubby pencils, shopping lists, tape measures, store maps, IKEA catalogs, big yellow shopping bags and strollers are all over the store. The price tags have important information about product type/function, product name, basic product details (size, color, measurements), features, customer benefits, designer and price.

One of the key parts of the price tag indicates where to pick up the item. Red tags direct the customer to the marketplace for smaller items and accessories, or to the self-serve warehouse for most furniture items. Yellow tags mean the product can be retrieved at the furniture pick-up area so coworkers will help with heavier items such as sofas and appliances.

IS IKEA FOR YOU?

Maybe, maybe not. It’s a round-trip 200-plus mile drive; there’s little of American traditional furniture for sale. Few bargain sales off list, if you want a sofa just like your parents, sorry. If you like shopping in silence, without crowds, don’t like to hike (these stores are big) maybe not.

But if you’re on a budget and like modern stuff, the Swedes await. Be sure and wear your hiking shoes.

• Contact Sam Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.