Here's a look at the now-open IKEA SF, how it's different from its suburban counterparts

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Here's how IKEA SF takes a spin from tradition
Many people hope a new IKEA store could help jumpstart downtown San Francisco's recovery.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Wednesday, the new IKEA opened in downtown San Francisco, amid a flurry of retailers leaving the Market Street corridor.

Many people hope a new IKEA store could help jumpstart downtown San Francisco's recovery.

It's the first new IKEA to open in the Bay Area in 20 years.

The new IKEA store at 945 Market St. is now officially open.

There were cheers, music and long lines this morning. Among the nearly 100 people waiting in line was Daniel Cherry who arrived at 5 a.m.

"I just wanted to be the first to make my grand entrance -- to see it all first," Cherry said.

The new IKEA store in San Francisco has a different format.

Instead of what big box suburban stores offer, this store will carry home furnishing accessories.

RELATED: IKEA to open store in downtown San Francisco this month, defying retail exodus

And, it's focused on "small-space living."

"This is a different IKEA. It's three stories, 52,000 foot and full of inspiration and solutions," said Arda Akalin, market manager of IKEA SF.

Mayor London Breed has an ambitious plan to build more housing in the city.

"In the next eight years, we hope to be able to build 82,000 units. What does that mean? A bunch of people that need furniture. And those units are not going to be big. They are going to be kind of small, because we know how it is in an urban dense city like San Francisco," said Mayor Breed.

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IKEA launched this new store at a time when many other retailers in San Francisco's downtown shopping district have given up.

Westfield Mall, Old Navy, Whole Foods, Nordstrom are just a few.

City leaders say IKEA promises new jobs and new reasons to come Downtown--that this new store is a place to shop and work.

"What I love about this, it's not just retail but also a community space where people can come, work on their laptop and have coffee," said SF Supervisor Matt Dorsey. "We are poised for a comeback. So I'm pretty optimistic that this is going to be the beginning of many success stories in Mid-Market."

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As for concerns about safety in the Mid-Market area, the IKEA store manager says there will be extra security during business hours.

Some wonder if the new IKEA store can succeed.

Others wonder if this is a good sign of downtown's recovery.

Kyle Havens just moved to downtown San Francisco from Texas.

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"Will it work? Hopefully so. I think it will serve people who already live downtown and nearby," Havens said.

"It's a start. I'm happy to see a new building," said Ruby Tsang, a SF Resident.

"I hope so. I hope it will bring in more businesses that are empty right now. This brings in people so hopefully other places will start reopening," said Susan Tome.

According to the store manager, there will be eight to 10 security guards at the new IKEA to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

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On the food side, there will be IKEA's famous meatballs but no fried food in the cafeteria, including fries.

Again, the mayor and other supporters say IKEA will help bring more jobs, more people, and more commercial activity to the Mid-Market area.

IKEA also has locations in Emeryville and East Palo Alto.

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