My coworker Bobby and I took a trip to the Chicago suburbs Saturday (don't call it a man-date), first to drop off a box of photos to Casa Italia in Stone Park, and then to IKEA in Schaumburg.
If there's a recession going on right now, it certainly hasn't hit my sentimental old favorite Scandinavian superstore.
I've been an IKEA fan since my college days, outfitting my old Washington, D.C. apartment with cheap Swedish rugs, particleboard-inspired entertainment centers and Scandinavian lighting. When the gigantic retailer finally made its way to Chicago in late '90s, I rented a van and filled it with furniture for my East Side apartment.
And, when I moved to Bay View in 2002, I visited IKEA one more time, picking up lighting and kitchenware and other essentials. I guess I hadn't thought about it, but until Saturday, I hadn't been back in almost seven years.
Part of me would like to declare that I've matured past the point of buying IKEA's self-assembly furniture. I know enough people who think everything the Swedish megastore sells is cheap crap, and indeed my tastes in furniture have changed from sleek and modern to Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arts and Crafts.
But as my dad and I get closer to finishing the rec room we're building in my basement, I knew IKEA could fill that space on the cheap. So after comparing prices at local alternatives and coming up underwhelmed, I borrowed a friend's pick-up truck and headed south with unbridled enthusiasm.
Recession or otherwise, IKEA was packed as usual. Bobby and I made a beeline for the cafeteria, of course, to begin shopping on a full stomach of Swedish meatballs and lingonberry juice. Just like the scene in 1999 and 2002, teams of shoppers strolled the expansive building in search of bargains. The lines were long and slow, and the parking lot was filled with hundreds of cars.
Obviously, that's because value is still the name of the game at IKEA. Contrary to what the haters say, it isn't all cheap, pre-fab junk. They have some legitimately nice and pricier upholstered and leather furniture, though I was shopping for maximum bang for the buck.
In the end, I walked out of the store with a loveseat, recliner, two ottomans (ottomen?), two lamps, a coffee table and two bags of frozen meatballs for under $450. If there's any place in Milwaukee that can offer such a bargain, albeit stylishly, please let me know, because I looked at everywhere from Big Lots to HOBO to Value City before driving to Illinois.
I know it's never going to happen, but I really wish an IKEA would come to Milwaukee or Madison. I'd be there all the time.
On the other hand, maybe it's good that Schaumburg is just far enough away for me to space my IKEA trips a few years apart. Swedish meatballs to sectional sofas, it's just too easy to go nuts at this store.
I wish Ikea would re-ignite their interest in opening a store in Wisconsin again. Unless they have and I haven't heard.
I have to say that my occasional shopping there in the last 10+ years has given me some great furniture. If you take care of the stuff it will last quite a while. I recently bought my couch and platform bed there and I like it. It is a great step up from hand me downs or finishing off a spare room. I am certainly glad that they are across the border, otherwise I will not have the room!
Love the IKEA. Haven't been there in 3 years. Its time to go back with a Scanda-shopper buddy soon. Nice job reigniting that fire Andy....pfft. thanks a lot. :)
Ottomans??.......ottomen???......."Otto, man!!!" (the Simpsons bus driver).....who, incidentally, likes to get "blotto".............blotto, man........blotto men???.......
Jerry Seinfeld | March 23, 2009 at 2:52 p.m. (report)
What's the Deal with The Ottoman Empire? Were they that lazy? Come on! Put your Feet on the ground? (in high, comedic-pitch)
5 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published June 17, 2013
I went into Sunday night's John C. Reilly & Friends show at the Miller Caves with no expectations at all. I'd never heard Reilly's music before - unless you count "Boogie Nights" and "Walk Hard," but I'm a big fan of his work as an actor. I'd never seen a show in the Miller Caves (and nor had anyone else) but I remember being impressed with the space on brewery tours in the past.
Published June 11, 2013
Seven months ago, OnMilwaukee.com needed to move, and move fast. It wasn't entirely unexpected. Having called the East Side our home for the past 14 years, we were already on the lookout for new space. We'd outgrown our old office on North Avenue in several ways, and with the building for sale, we hired our friend and corporate realtor, Steve Palec from Cresa, to find us something better. We just didn't know what that was.
Published June 9, 2013
OnMilwaukee.com Publisher Andy Tarnoff was in concert heaven Saturday night at the Vic Theatre in Chicago, when 13 years after its release, the band played "Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia" in order. It was magical.
Published June 3, 2013
I'm not sure if summer is really concert season anymore, but each year, it certainly seems like my favorite shows fall when it's hot, hot, hot. This summer, I'm looking forward to a several.
Published May 31, 2013
Brewers Senior Director of Media Relations Mike Vassallo didn't grow up rooting for Milwaukee. He was a Mets fan who first worked for the Yankees, then traveled to the Reds, and finally arrived with the Crew in 2006. Day in and day out, Vassallo is embedded with the Brewers, working incredibly long hours, and not just during the baseball season. Here's his story.
Published May 25, 2013
Miller Park is definitely the kind of place to enjoy a Miller Lite under the baking sun. But if you're the kind of baseball fan who's looking for a beer with a bit more body, you have choices. And starting Monday, you can drink the first beer ever brewed for the Brewers: Bernie's Barrelman Ale.
Published May 21, 2013
Preparing to hang three photos I took in 1997, I noticed something amazing about the second photo that I had never noticed before: the building in the center of the frame is CityCenter. The viewfinder is looking right at our new office suite. When I shot that photo, I had no idea what that building was. It just looked cool.
Published May 17, 2013
I watched the series finale of "The Office" last night, but before I did, I had to blow through the previous five episodes gathering dust on my DVR. In the end, it was worth the night of marathon television, but when I think about the entire final season of "30 Rock," also unwatched on my DVR, I wonder when I'll get around to it.
Published May 15, 2013
Hidden in plain sight is a clothing store you have to see to believe. Frieschskys, 788 N. Jefferson St., isn't actually that special to look at. But when you step out of the elevator on the seventh floor of the nondescript office building, it doesn't take long to realize that something special does await you.
Published May 13, 2013
Plenty is written about baseball's jerks. I've even met some of them. But rarely do people talk about how nice some players are. They may not have been the best players, but if personality counts (which it doesn't), they'd be in the Hall of Fame.