A venture that started as a need to fill up a moving truck has turned into a growing business in the Maritimes, and will soon expand into Newfoundland.
Mike Smith of Halifax started My Ikea Buyer in July when he was renovating his house, and ran into trouble with his online Ikea order.
"The items we needed, a lot of them, we couldn't get them delivered to Atlantic Canada," Smith told CBC News Thursday.
Ikea won't ship some larger items or things that can be easily broken, and the cost of shipping smaller orders can be prohibitive. According to the Ikea website, the company charges $189 to ship a $99 bookshelf to P.E.I.
Smith wasn't going to fill a truck with his own order, so he put out the word he would buy for others while on the trip. He ended up with a $15,000 order for a few dozen households.
Since then he's been doing a monthly run to Ikea in Boucherville, Quebec. He started with orders from Nova Scotia, but expanded into New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island deliveries in September. The company is accepting orders for delivery in St. John's in December.
Smith said he's never talked to Ikea about his venture, but he noted many small businesses operate around Ikea like his does, and he doesn't see why they'd object.
"There's businesses that specialize in installing Ikea kitchens or doing set-up," he said.
"I mean we're bringing them business, right?"
Ikea Canada wouldn't comment directly on Smith's business.
A shipping agent for the company pointed out shipping prices from Ikea go down as the size of the order goes up. Smith's business works the opposite way. His prices are based on order cost, with a charge of 20 per cent of the pre-tax cost of the merchandise.
That means for larger orders, it can be cheaper to order direct. For example, an order of five items worth $1,275 would cost $189 for delivery to Charlottetown directly from Ikea. Ordering through My Ikea Buyer would cost $255.
Smith is on his fourth trip to Boucherville this week, and will make his next trip in early November.