Largest Ikea in the U.S. opens in Burbank

- In a party-like atmosphere that included music, balloons and cheering crowds, the largest Ikea store in the nation opened Wednesday in Burbank, offering its unique Swedish brand of some-assembly-required home furnishings and, of course, meatballs.

The 456,000-square-foot store near San Fernando Boulevard and Providencia Avenue is about a mile from the previous Ikea location, which was the oldest in the country, having opened in 1990. That store was 242,000 square feet, and closed Saturday.

"We are excited about building upon our established Burbank presence with a new, roomier store so close to the original one, and in the same city,'' store manager said Jeff O'Shaughnessy said. "The enthusiasm of coworkers about offering customers an updated, spacious and enhanced Ikea shopping experience is translating into excitement and a great shopping event for our customers.''

The store has about 575 employees -- up 150 from the old location and includes 50 room settings, three model home interiors, a children's play area and a 600-seat restaurant serving up its signature Swedish meatballs, among other items.

To celebrate the store's opening, the first 26 customers received a free sofa and the next 100 received a free armchair. Stuffed toys were handed out to the first 100 children, and the first 2,500 adults were given prize envelopes featuring a variety of prizes, raising from $250 gift cards to vouchers for free frozen yogurt.

Ikea has 392 stores in 48 countries, including 43 in the United States.

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