The next generation of Grundtals, Jiggas and Krokens will infiltrate Toronto's downtown core to square off with some of the city's high-end furniture designs when an IKEA showroom opens at the end of the month near the corner of Church Street and King Street East.
The showroom, located on 1½ floors that will open to the public July 31, will contain items from the Swedish company's 2009 catalogue, to be released the same day, according to IKEA Canada spokeswoman Melanie Lowenborg-Frick.
"We really wanted to position ourselves competitively and reach a consumer who might not otherwise be considering IKEA, and to showcase our products and bring them to the streets," she said, adding that the showroom's location is near some of the city's hippest furniture retailers. "We're pretty serious about the fact that we've got some quality stuff with great design that really can go toe to toe with the high-end design stores."
Golden IKEA decals pasted in the future showroom's large windows have spurred speculation on Web forums and blogs that an urban version of the mammoth self-assembly furniture stores, like one that opened recently in Brooklyn, N.Y., had arrived in downtown Toronto.
Not so, according to Ms. Lowenborg-Frick, who said the showroom will have more in common with the miniature "pop-up" shops that appeared throughout Manhattan this summer showcasing new products that could be ordered online or through a catalogue.
"I don't want people to think it's a store," she said.
So, at least for now, urbanite furniture shoppers will still have to trek to the chain's five suburban Ontario locations for take-home Poangs, meatballs and oversized blue-and-yellow shopping bags.