Ikea store in Halifax area is the work of developer Glenn Munro
Talks with Ikea date back to 2003 but company wanted to wait until the time was right
Now that it's official that Ikea is opening a full 30,500-square-metre store in the retail development of Dartmouth Crossing, it's time to meet the man who brought the meatballs and Scandinavian furniture aesthetic to town.
Glenn Munro is with the North American Development Group, the developers behind Dartmouth Crossing. He doesn't leave any doubt who is the Allen key that put this deal together.
"It's been my baby since day one," Munro told CBC's Tom Murphy.
- Ikea was founded in Sweden in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, who is no longer involved in the privately owned company.
- The letters in the name Ikea all have their own meaning.
- The I and the K are the founder's initials. The E stands for the farm where Kamprad was born and the A represents the nearby village.
- Ikea offers a staggering 12,000 products in 370 stores worldwide.
- Ikea has a special naming system for its products, dividing them into categories and using mostly Scandinavian names. For example, its dining room tables and chairs all have Finnish place names.
The store planned for Halifax is an average size for Ikea in Canada. But it's dwarfed by the company's largest store in Seoul, South Korea, which is twice the size of what will be built in Halifax.
Munro said the journey to bring Ikea to Halifax started over a decade ago.
"It was just a question of time. We did the Ikea in Boucherville [Quebec] in 2003 and we've been talking with them since then, on and off and they said when we're ready we'll come and talk to you," he said.
"At the time they had said 'We have to do Winnipeg first, and after Winnipeg, we'll take a look, take a breather.' And so after that it started to heat up."
The serious discussion began about a year ago, Munro said.
The pitch for Halifax
"You didn't need to pitch the market, they know that probably better than we do in terms of what they need and what they want," Munro said.
One advantage of Dartmouth Crossing, he said, is lots of infrastructure has been installed in around the retail park.
"When you actually look at the site and look at the access options, look at the roadways, the water, the stormwater, the storm ponds, all that stuff, it's all in place," he said.
Munro hopes an Ikea at Dartmouth Crossing will attract other retailers. He said it will sit nicely side-by-side with Cabela, an outdoor retailer that was also recently announced for the site.
What is the selling feature of having an Ikea?
"They're very much international, iconic is a bit of an overused word, but very much iconic retailers," Munro said. "They're very much super-regional. So if you're going to be looking to be shopping in the Maritimes, we're at the top of the list."
Jobs will also be at the top of the list for many Maritimers when the store opens.
The company already employs 147,000 people, with about 350 employees to be added to that tally when the Halifax location opens.