Retail : Mini-Ikeas coming to Pankow and Potsdam
The Swedish furniture giant is testing a new store concept - without the cheap hot dogs.
Berlin - Pankow's residents only have one remaining question since learning that furniture giant Ikea will soon open a trial shop in their leafy suburb: Will there be hot dogs? Meatballs, maybe? Where Pankowers used to dine on Greek fare at the Olivenbaum restaurant, they soon will be able to plan where to cook their own gyros, moussaka and baklava.
The Ikea Planning Studo that will open 1 September isn’t Ikea’s first, but it’s the first in Germany with others planned – the Swedish company already operates design studios in London, New York, Copenhagen and, of course, Stockholm.
"We also want to be present in city centres," says Ikea spokesperson Kim Steuerwald. The company is reacting to both an increase in urbanisation and a decline in car ownership that can make shopping at an Ikea market on the outskirts inconvenient, Steuerwald said.
Planning studios allow employees to interact with customers as they plan or investigate new furnishing ideas, such as kitchens and modular systems such as cabinets.
In Pankow, the large windows in the future Ikea store on Breite Straße are still sealed, but the "Hej" on the glass in front of the wrapping paper makes clear who will soon move in. Inside, half-built kitchens stand on small islands with decorative herb pots already overhead.
The final spurt has now begun for Germany's first Kiez Ikea. A little later, on 27 October, another studio will debut in Potsdam’s Luisenforum in Brandenburger Straße.
Customers will be able to integrate anything from the Ikea range in their plans and companies can also make bulk orders from a limited product range, Steuerwald said.
But cinnamon buns and daycare will still only be available in Lichtenberg, Tempelhof, Spandau and near Schönefeld Airport.
"There will be no cash and carry area," says Steuerwald. So, no on the kötbullar and votive candles. Although walk-ins are welcome, customers will also be able to make appointments beginning mid-September.
Pankow and Potsdam are just the beginning.
"We would like to be represented in other districts of the capital and increase our presence in the Berlin area," says Ikea Germany Managing Director Dennis Balslev. Berlin could be home to as many as five more planning studios as well as an XS store in a prominent location.