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Canberra flocks to IKEA's opening day at Majura Park

The day has finally arrived - the first ever IKEA Canberra store is opening at Majura Park. 

First in line: Belinda Turner, Mandi White, Nardine Johnson and Mel Preston arrived at 3.15am for Ikea's opening.
First in line: Belinda Turner, Mandi White, Nardine Johnson and Mel Preston arrived at 3.15am for Ikea's opening. Photo: Jay Cronan
Catherine Geppert, an IKEA first-timer at the opening of the Ikea Canberra store.
Catherine Geppert, an IKEA first-timer at the opening of the Ikea Canberra store. Photo: Jil Hogan

Catherine Geppert is an IKEA first-timer. She was pretty cool, calm and collected for her first visit, but: "I hear there's a food section - you might see me go crazy there."

If you're heading out now, try your luck in the Ikea carpark - there seems to be people on their way out. Otherwise, there is a free loop shuttle bus from the Majura Park shopping centre carpark. There's lots of helpful Ikea staff in the carpark who can direct you.

It seems there are some workplaces missing people today. Quite a few people admitted they had taken a sick day today - we won't reveal their names.

More pics coming in from our photographer Jay Cronan. 

Hundreds waiting for entry to Ikea Canberra on its opening day.
Hundreds waiting for entry to Ikea Canberra on its opening day.  Photo: Jay Cronan
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Here's another look at the crowd waiting to enter Ikea on its opening day. Looks like several hundred Canberrans. 

Hundreds waiting to enter Ikea in Canberra.
Hundreds waiting to enter Ikea in Canberra.  Photo: Jay Cronan

Ikea staff have been told to expect more quick visits in lunch breaks to this store compared to other stores. This is because it only took 20 minutes for anyone in the ACT to reach Majura Park. 

Store manager Mark Mitchinson​ said "well over" one million visitors to the store were expected in the first year. 
The team also believes Canberrans tend to play games in their living rooms, perhaps because of the colder weather, and this will be reflected at the Canberra store as well. 

Ben Rautio, one of the many staff putting together furniture.
Ben Rautio, one of the many staff putting together furniture.  Photo: Rohan Thomson

Earlier this year a pop-up exhibit filled with Byholma​ armchairs, Hektar​ pendant lamps and jars of Lingonberry​ jam has opened to give Canberrans a first taste of what to expect when IKEA hits the capital.

Store manager Mark Mitchinson​ said the company had held similar exhibitions in other parts of the world, but the ACT space was the first in Australia.

"We probably have not seen this excitement in our market before when we've opened a store in Australia for a long time.

Staff prepare for the opening of the exhibition on Friday night.
Staff prepare for the opening of the exhibition on Friday night.  Photo: Jay Cronan
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There's plenty of excitement coming from Ikea this morning, although not everyone is happy.

Local furniture retailers have expressed fears IKEA's presence in the capital would dramatically cut their patronage, with one store owner warning she would be forced to close once the retailer opens.

"Undoubtedly there's going to be some displacement activities as people will come and check out products here," Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.

"Competition in the marketplace is a good thing. I don't think anyone denies that consumers deserve the widest possible choice of home furnishings and that's exactly what they're going to get." 

Canberra Airport has warned travellers to schedule at little extra time for traffic when headed to their flights. 

Ikea have been preparing for this day for years. Back in January, they visited close to 130 Canberra families to find out what products they wanted to see in the store. 

From left, IKEA communication and interior design manager Debbie Bon, interior design worker Sam Udon, and householders ...
From left, IKEA communication and interior design manager Debbie Bon, interior design worker Sam Udon, and householders Lali Burton and her daughter Tasha. Photo: Jamila Toderas
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Customers catching a bus to Ikea will have access to a special loop service this week, departing from the city bus interchange at platform nine and travelling directly to the Majura Road store.

The temporary bus route will operate from 10am to 5.40pm from Monday, November 16, to Sunday, November 22.

Ikea Canberra is officially open!

Ikea expect close to 15,000 people to enter the store on its opening day. The government has also warned of traffic delays in the Majura Park precinct.

Those brave enough to get behind the wheel are advised to enter IKEA from the north via the Majura Parkway, Tambreet​ Street and Majura Road and take the northbound route when exiting.

More information here. 

News. IKEA co-workers "hide" a Duktig (children's kitchen) near their
Floriade display. Rebecca Smith left and Casey ...
News. IKEA co-workers "hide" a Duktig (children's kitchen) near their Floriade display. Rebecca Smith left and Casey Gill. IKEA will be hiding flat pack items around Canberra as part of a competition to win gift cards. October 2nd. 2015 The Canberra Times photograph by Graham Tidy. FullSizeRender.jpg Photo: graham.tidy@fairfaxmedia.com.au
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