The biggest IKEA in the U.S. opened its doors to its first batch of customers Wednesday, February 8 at 9:30 a.m.
The parking lot was supposed to be open at 6 a.m., allowing customers to line up and receive their free prizes, but according to the Los Angeles Times, Burbank Police were called after people created a line of their own at 5:30 a.m.
Although no other incidents occurred that required police intervention, the first 26 people in line no longer received their free chairs; instead, the chairs were raffled off.
“There [were] a lot of people that were upset. I think it was the best thing that they did as far as raffling the couches and the chairs,” said Diana Zavala, who woke up at 1 a.m. for the grand opening.
Mary Ann, Marketing Manager at IKEA, said that the new branch is “Fantastic. We definitely needed to move our old building, we outgrew.”
The new store nearly doubled in size when compared to the old one that was located about a mile away. “That store was actually 242,000 square feet. We’re now at 465,000,” Ann said.
One of the new services offered at the IKEA is a free supervised children’s play area called “Smaland.” In Smaland, as stated in the IKEA website, children are provided with a ball pit and movie theater. The site goes on to explain that children must be between the height of 37 – 50 inches and “potty trained” to stay in the play area.
Not every customer visited the IKEA for the grand opening spectacle though; Ellen Krissman had other things in mind. “I came for nothing free I came for the full stocked new merchandise.”
Mckenzie Wood wasn’t even aware that the IKEA was a new one on grand opening day. “It turned out to be a grand opening… I don’t consider IKEA to be the center of social activity.”
Despite the busy day, IKEA services ran normally with few interruptions. The store will now be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Sunday.