The store, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Miami, is the first of three planned in Florida. Orlando will get one in November and Tampa in 2009. The closest location had previously been in Georgia. The competition could drive down prices at other retailers or make them reevaluate their niche in the market, an industry expert said.
Some 500 people were lining at the store early Wednesday, angling for armchairs Ikea planned to distribute free to the first 100 customers. The store is expecting 25,000 people, and, to accommodate the crowd, shoppers will be bused from a nearby professional hockey arena on a dozen trolleys.
As is typical for Ikea openings, officials planned a Swedish log-sawing ceremony, said to bring good luck, and an honorary consul of Sweden was scheduled to raise the country's blue and yellow flag in front of the store of the same color.
Shortly before the store's scheduled opening, acrobats and stilt-walkers contributed to the circus atmosphere as store employees distributed blue plastic shopping bags to the customers in line. Some shoppers planned only to rush in before work for small items such as candles, vases or a fondue set.
With the Sunrise store's opening, there will be 264 Ikea stores in 36 countries. The Florida store has been five years in the making, said Ikea's Joseph Roth.
Ikea opened its first U.S. store in 1985 in suburban Philadelphia. Since 2000 the company's goal has been to open three to five stores a year and to eventually have 50 or more stores in North America, Roth said. They currently have 11 stores in Canada and Sunrise's opening makes 32 in the U.S.
In June, it opened a distribution center in Georgia that will serve Florida, among other states. Two other distribution centers in Washington and the Illinois are planned, and the Swedish retailer will open its first U.S. factory in Virginia in the spring of 2008.
The US is going to ban exports of Iranian oil to the world market from November 5 of this year. In turn, Iran threatens to block the passage of oil tankers of the Gulf countries through the Strait of Hormuz
The World Cup that is about to finish in Russia has shown that the Western propaganda machine has failed to create the image of Russia as a monster with "many tentacles." By and large, the Russians and the Ukrainians are close to each other