DIY furniture assemblers and meatball lovers will be jamming the front doors of the first IKEA store to open in Wisconsin 10 weeks from now.

The iconic blue and yellow Swedish home furnishings and furniture store will open at 9 a.m. May 16 along the west side of Interstate 94 between West Rawson Avenue and West Drexel Avenue in Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee, the company said in a news release.

“We are thrilled by the construction progress to date and believe we can complete the remaining milestones and interior build-up by May,” said store manager Samantha Gravina.

“Besides furnishing our store, we are also focused on recruiting and training all of our co-workers joining the IKEA family,” Gravina said.

The store plans to hire 300 people. The one-level store has almost 300,000 square feet of floor space, including a children’s play area and a 300-seat restaurant serving the store’s famous Swedish meatballs.

This is the 48th IKEA in America. Construction on the Oak Creek store started less than a year ago.

The new store will save a lot of time for Wisconsinites infatuated with IKEA merchandise, since they won’t have to drive to suburban Chicago or Minneapolis to shop in the store.

Customers will be allowed to line up beginning at 5 a.m. May 16 for the store’s first day, with IKEA planning a variety of extras inside, including live entertainment and “tons of giveaways,” the grand opening website said.

By the way, if you don’t like Swedish meatballs, the restaurant also features a salmon fillet dinner and Swedish pancakes for breakfast.

Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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