From the moment you approach the entrance of the newly constructed IKEA in Renton, you notice how tall the new building is. While it’s technically only two-stories, the grandiose structure certainly makes use of — what IKEA team members call — vertical space.
This phrase is repeated again and again by employees throughout the new building which is due to open to the public next Wednesday, Feb. 22. The new store which sits just across the parking lot from the former location is only 1,000 square feet larger but the stacked layout lends itself to ample room for approximately 150 additional pallets and a sprawling dining area with more than 300 additional seats.
The conversion to a two-story structure isn’t the only place IKEA has maximized their vertical space. Small scale home models ranging from 860 square feet to 270 square feet can be found throughout the new store’s layout showing shoppers how to use wall mounted shelves, bins, and rods to add storage from floor to ceiling.
Upstairs, customers make their way through Pacific Northwest inspired home models which are as stylish as they are cozy. No need for a shopping cart on the upper level, just jot down the location number from the price tag and proceed to the first floor where you can shop the marketplace for textiles, decorative accents, lighting, and organizational items that were interspersed throughout the showroom before proceeding to the warehouse.
The footprint of the warehouse where customers select their wares from bins has also made use of this stacked storage technique. The previous location’s sprawling warehouse has given way to a much smaller (yet taller) layout which is easier to traverse after the long walk through the retail space. There is far less clutter and displays in this new, smaller layout making it far easier for customers to locate exactly what they are looking for.
As a result of IKEA’s vertical space, there is ample room for an additional 400 parking spaces after the old location is torn down in the coming months. There will be five electric vehicle charging stations as well as a dedicated family parking lot for families with young children and strollers who need more space to load and unload their brood with a shorter hike to the entrance. The parking lot is expected to reach completion in fall of this year, at which time IKEA said they plan to celebrate by welcoming customers with giveaways, promotions, food samples, and in-store entertainment.
The new IKEA Renton also is home to the largest rooftop solar array in the state of Washington with 3,268 panels that will produce approximately 1,261,000 kWh of electricity annually for the store. This is the equivalent of reducing 886 tons of carbon dioxide which is equal to the emissions of 187 cars. Moreover, each of the store’s overhead lights and retail lights are equipped with LED bulbs to reduce the store’s energy and even place excess wattage back on the grid during especially bright days.
The opening of the new location also provides a platform for IKEA to introduce some new products and services into the Seattle market.
The first innovation is the brand’s gift registry which can be accessed via a smartphone application or in-store kiosks. The gift registries can be used for everything from a college freshman needing to furnish a dorm room, to first-time parents designing their baby’s nursery. No extra tools are necessary, customers only need to scan items with their smartphone to add items to their registry.
IKEA Renton has also used their new store to prominently feature the new unisex IKEA bicycles, called the Sladda. These innovative bikes feature plenty of versatility with options to add trailers and baskets, but the really significant feature is the chainless design, opting instead for a belt drive.
To prepare for the move to the new building, IKEA Renton will be having a four-day blowout sale from Feb. 17 – 20 to get rid of all their old inventory and floor models at which time the doors on the old store will be shuttered. Team members will use Feb. 21 as a transition day before the new location opens at 9 a.m. on Feb. 22. More information about the transition can be found online.