You're my favorite.

No, really - you are.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I love the lingonberry jam and tealight holders and side tables and everything!

I am feeling a little betrayed.

Granted, it is by a huge multi-national corporation, none of whose employees know me at all, but STILL.

IKEA is opening a store in Utah in early 2007.

UTAH! Home of Mormons and.....I don't know, more Mormons. What else does Utah have? Oh, right, pretty soon, an IKEA. Bastards.

I found this out during one of my occasional checks of the “coming soon!” listings on the IKEA website. Yes, I check that periodically. Yes, I'm always hoping that a Colorado store will be on the horizon. No, it never is. But this time, I saw Draper, UT listed. Turns out that Draper is a suburb of Salt Lake City. A suburb that will soon offer affordable modern design of decent quality conveniently flat-packed for transporting ease. Lucky, lucky Draper.

Why not Denver, I ask? According to an IKEA spokesman, they chose Utah because “it had the company's requisite market of 1.5 million to 2 million people, and its location made it a 'natural extension' of IKEA's expansion. Plus, he said, the company's database of previous purchases indicated it had a ready-made market, with upward of 30,000 Utah customers.” We have the people! I bet we have the customers, or at least people with the desire to be customers!

The only thing we don't have is the location. Denver is currently at least 900 miles from the closest IKEA (I've done the Mapquesting, people. I know these things). And that 900 miles probably places us outside of their comfort zone for expansion. They've been moving into the country from the edges so far, and Denver's so close to the middle that it's taking a while for them to get to us. Which is the truly great thing about IKEA Draper – it's only a little over 500 miles away. Five hundred miles is totally roadtrippable. Five hundred miles could open this market to the wonders of IKEA. Five hundred miles could make us the next “natural extension.”

To give IKEA their due, they've tried before. Almost two years ago, I started an email campaign to bring IKEA to Denver. A few dozen people wrote in – it probably didn't make much of a difference but it gave them a little nudge. And a couple months later, the Denver Business Journal announced that IKEA was looking for land. My heart beat faster and I started to hope. A month or so after that, they announced that an offer had been made to the city of Lonetree....and turned down.

Lonetree didn't want a big blue and yellow store in the middle of all of their beige. IKEA offered to tone it down. Lonetree didn't want the 17 acre parking lots that IKEA normally has. IKEA offered to do below-ground parking. Lonetree hemmed and hawed and finally revealed itself to be a bitch-ass that just didn't want an IKEA, thankyouverymuch. And IKEA sighed and tipped its hat and went away.

I don't know why no other suburb pursued it. The sales tax revenue god. Maybe one did and IKEA was nursing its wounds and wouldn't deal. The Denver Business Journal does report that one developer is interested and IKEA does have a real estate broker here. But Draper could put us back into play officially. Draper could open us up again. Draper could inadvertantly bring the charm of cheap Swedish design to this side of the Rockies.

Keep your fingers crossed for 2008, people. It could happen. Soon we too could enjoy a kitchen table and four chairs for $99, an 8x10 rug for $79 and a couch for $189.

Draper, my hopes rest on you. Build quickly. Advertise. Draw in our side of the mountains. And help us someday live the dream that you will know all too soon.