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IKEA Richmond media opening-1

I was invited last night to experience the enormous, beautifully designed new Richmond IKEA, about to open its doors to the public.

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The new building will offer underground parking (great for rainy shopping days) as opposed to the current building’s outside lots. IKEA, the household word for affordable home furnishings, is visited by 734 million people each year.

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Drinks, DJ WAX spinning tunes, and speciality food items along the way made the evening a lot more engaging for media and guests out shopping and perusing all corners of the new store.

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Canada has 11 IKEA stores, and with it an army of employees. Employee discounts and Swedish meatballs aside, IKEA has great educational assistance packages for its staff (75% reimbursement for career-related courses) as well as the IKEA Backpacker.

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The IKEA Backpacker initiative is one of the many professional development programs that earned IKEA Canada the recognition of being one of Canada’s top 2011 employers for young people by Mediacorp. By participating in the IKEA Backpacker program, coworkers have the opportunity to work alongside an experienced mentor in different store locations around the world.

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If you’d like to be part of the official opening ceremonies tomorrow, get there early! It starts at 8:20, when the doors will be opened to the public for the 1.5 km (!) walk through the 334,000 square foot store.

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In honour of Richmond being Canada’s first IKEA store (currently serving 35 years in the Richmond market), the first 1,000 fans in line will be handed mystery envelopes offering everything from an IKEA hot dog to a $250 IKEA gift card.

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The sparkly new IKEA Richmond store is located at 3320 Jacombs Road, one block away from the now-closed location.

The old IKEA Richmond will be demolished to make way for new shops in the future.

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