Cityscape

Ikea, no stranger to assembly, takes shape in Merriam

Updated: 2013-11-12T23:22:01Z

By JOYCE SMITH

The Kansas City Star

Ikea is taking shape on what is now called Ikea Way in Merriam.

A steel frame has been erected atop the precast concrete parking structure at Johnson Drive and Interstate 35. The world’s leading home furnishings retailer plans a fall 2014.

Ikea officials also were in town last week to speak at the American Marketing Association of Kansas City’s 2013 seminar held at Avila University. About 320 people attended the event.

Derrick Liburd, regional marketing manager for Ikea, gave a brief history of the Swedish company, its corporate culture and the values that have contributed to its international success. Among the values — make sure customers get the help and products they need at the prices they need, and employees are treated like family. Ikea also is continually increasing its sustainability efforts.

Along with nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, Ikea offers its customers “inspiration” by having three model home interiors and 50 room settings, along with a new app that lets them see just how a piece of Ikea furniture would fit into their home.

“It’s not just, ‘Oh, you want a coffee table, there’s a coffee table,’” Liburd said. Ikea also shows its customers how to use its products in unique ways, perhaps a spice rack used as a wall display for flowers.

Ikea’s tagline, “The Life Improvement Store,” is defined as offering something that lasts, that is beautiful and will make the customer happy, that will offer a big change for a small price, and that will improve the customer’s everyday life. (If your chair doesn’t wobble, then your life is improved.)

The company considers its designers its “rock stars.” They start out with the price — say making a well-designed lamp that will sell for $9 — and then decide how to do it and still offer quality.

“Low prices mean nothing without value,” Liburd said. “A key part of the brand concept is never being satisfied.”

The Merriam store will be the 40th U.S. store for the company. Ikea was founded in Sweden in 1943 and now has more than 340 stores in 42 countries.

Quick bites

•  Corner Bakery Cafe is now open in Camelot Court, 11705 Roe Ave., Suite A., Leawood. The breakfast-lunch-dinner restaurant chain also will open a location in Overland Park in early 2014 and is looking at locations in Lenexa and Liberty, as well as St. Joseph. The area franchisee plans to open 11 restaurants in five years in the region.

•  After remodeling, Subway plans to open in a former Dairy Queen building at 315 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Kan., later this year.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycekc and on Facebook.

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