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IKEA hires store manager for St. Louis; set to open in the fall

The blue and yellow exterior is almost complete, and the store is on track to open this fall in Midtown St. Louis.

We’re talking about the IKEA, of course.

The Swedish furnishings company’s arrival in St. Louis has been long awaited and much anticipated. It will be the 41st store in the U.S., but the first in Missouri.

IKEA officials gave the media a sneak peak inside the store on Tuesday. Most of the construction work is now taking place inside the 380,000 square foot building. Joseph Roth, IKEA’s director of U.S. public affairs, said there’s no hard date for an opening just yet.

"Once construction work is complete inside, then IKEA enters and transforms it into the store," Roth said. "It truly will take into the fall, so all we can say is after Labor Day but before Thanksgiving."

Hiring for the store is well underway.

IKEA announced Tuesday that John Achillea will be the St. Louis store’s manager. The London native started with the company back in 1996 in the U.K. and most recently worked as a store manager of the Long Island IKEA in Hicksville, New York.

He expects hiring for about 300 positions will begin next month.

"At the moment we’ve recruited the managers, and those managers are in the process of beginning and getting ready to interview people for those 300 jobs," Achillea said.

The St. Louis store will include all LED lighting and a large solar installment on the roof, which will power a portion of the store.

The 21-acre site at Vandeventer Avenue and Forest Park Parkway still includes a Laclede Gas building slated for demolition. Roth said that’s expected to happen in the next few weeks, and then work on the parking lot will begin. There will be 1,300 parking spaces between a garage below the store and outdoor parking.

The store itself will include 10,000 products and a 450-seat restaurant with Swedish specialties such meatballs and lingonberries. Roth said the new store also will serve “veggie balls,” a meatless version of IKEA’s signature dish.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.

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