New IKEA store in Merriam expected to be a Midwest draw

MERRIAM, Kan. - IKEA promises its proposed 350,000-square foot store in Merriam, Kan., will be a huge draw not only for people throughout the Kansas City area, but also the Midwest.

Angie Lile of Kansas City, Mo., is likely one of the most excited people to see the retailer come to town. She started a Facebook page begging IKEA to set up shop in Kansas City.

"We started it at the end of March and as of just a little while ago, I checked it, it's at 9,000-and-something," she said.

As a professional social media manager, Lile said she has never seen such a huge response.

"We knew it was going to happen once we started the page," she explained. "We just didn't know it was going to happen so fast."

Lile recently drove to the Twin Cities store and said many other people in Kansas City make similar trips.

"IKEA does not open new stores very often, and we do not open them just anywhere," IKEA U.S. public affairs director Joseph Roth said.

IKEA expects to regularly draw customers from six states and cities like Des Moines, Iowa, Omaha, Neb., Tulsa, Okla., and Springfield, Mo. The company said IKEA already has 60,000 shoppers in the Kansas City area.

The store, which will feature 50 different room models and a Swedish restaurant, is expected to completely transform the former strip mall it's replacing. That structure has sat empty ever since it was built a few years ago, and will be demolished.

IKEA will be located near Interstate 35 and Johnson Drive, and is expected to open in fall 2014. Company officials said it will create 350 new jobs.

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