Debuting the concept as the only one of its kind in its U.S. stores, IKEA last month held a grand opening of its business design center at the IKEA store in Tempe. In addition to the store’s extensive stock of furnishings and furniture, IKEA Business offers its customers free consultation and design services — in its store or at the customer’s place of business — “to help businesses better use their space,” says IKEA business manager Andy Shannon. “We saw businesses coming in and shopping with us, so we saw an opportunity to take it a step further and put a focus on that,” he says, noting IKEA has a commercial range that meets commercial standards.
Already a strong focus in Europe, IKEA Business launched at the Tempe location last September. Each of the center’s designers has more than 12 years’ experience with IKEA, so, says Shannon, “they understand the products and services.”
Five inspirational room sets are on display, to showcase some of the different ways IKEA can serve businesses’ needs. Service office, such as for medical or insurance offices, offers options for waiting room, reception desk, bathroom (although not the commode), break room, locker storage and other seating area that includes a children’s play area and a media/TV area. For retail boutique, there are products on which to display merchandise as well as creating backroom storage and dressing rooms complete with mirrors. The other vignettes are aimed at the needs of restaurants, focused especially on seating; salons, where storage is a primary need; and basic office, for such needs as a meeting area, private work space, and file and storage.
The Tempe IKEA store is one of just a handful worldwide that are part of the company’s test VAPS program. Within the brand concept, according to Shannon, “Our store is able to do what others can’t; is encouraged to do innovative programs.”
In most cases, businesses can take from existing stock; for large volume, they may need to place an order. Delivery and assembly is available as an additional service.