Southeastern Wisconsin & Beyond Show Up for Oak Creek IKEA Opening

May 16, 2018

Hundreds of people lined up hours before the doors opened to enter IKEA's new store in Oak Creek Wednesday morning. There was a DJ, a band, and door prizes.

WUWM's Maayan Silver was there too. She wanted to know what drew customers to the store's grand opening and how IKEA might impact the local retail scene.

Here's what people in line had to say:

Jenny Heyden and her daughter.
Credit Maayan Silver

"For people like me who grew up with Danish modern furniture, it's a way of going home, in a way. Everything seems very familiar to me. I don’t have family here, but I can come to IKEA and reminisce, feel sentimental about things. It’s also a cheaper way of getting to an international destination. I just know I’m really drawn to it." - Jenny Heyden of Milwaukee

Mona Garcia and a friend in line.
Credit Maayan Silver

"The surprise to me is another huge brick and mortar is coming in, with the loss of Bon Ton... What it seems to me is that either smaller retail, or really high profile retail is what’s going to beat the Amazons of the world and the other online retailers. IKEA is sort of a stand alone so I think it's going to be fine." - Mona Garcia of Milwaukee

Ivan and Jackie Medina of Greenfield with their children
Credit Maayan Silver

"Maybe IKEA will bring a lot more mom and pop shops in. Maybe on the grocery side, something mom and pop would be nice. Obviously on the retail side, as far as furniture, it’d be hard to beat IKEA, but I’m sure mom and pops can stay competitive." - Ivan Medina of Greenfield

Third-in-line couple Christina Drewes and her husband Olaf. Behind them is second-in-line competitor Aldo Brame.
Credit Maayan Silver

Aldo Brame, who was second in line to enter the store, and Christina and Olaf Drewes, who were third, laughingly tell of their competition to be first in line: (The person first in line did not want to speak with Maayan.)

Christina: "We (Olaf and I) came on bike, about 7-8 miles."

Aldo: "I got dropped off about a mile away [from the IKEA]. Then it was a close race here."

Christina: "Right! Then we were sprinting! He was running, and I'm on my bike, but I had to park it, so he overtook me at the parking!... He was running, and I was peddling hard!

As to why they worked so hard to get to the store:

Aldo: "I'm just here to check out the store. Never been to an IKEA. Why not be the first one here?"

Karen Braam Nook
Credit Maayan Silver

"I live in Bay View, there's a lot of smaller businesses and restaurants, and I do shop those as well as the big box stores [like IKEA.]" - Karen Braam Nook