Well . . . it was touch and go.
A long drive, a little drama and some miserable weather but I successfully attended the grand opening of the 1st Ikea in the Carolinas.
My journey didn't even begin until midnight. I boarded the car & headed off to Charlotte. My GPS was spot on accurate and the trip itself was just fine. Once I got there though there was a problem. I'm VERY asthmatic and the cold winds from last night weren't kind to my lungs. By the time I got to my spot at the end of the line I was struggling to breathe let alone set up. The wonderful people ahead of me in line helped me set up my machine & got me to an electrical outlet so I could take an albuterol treatment.
Just as I was feeling good on the machine I felt it . . . the rain drops.
I got right into my tent, blogged for Positive Fanatics then buried myself with the blankets I had brought with me. I must have dozed off for a bit because the next thing you know I could hear a lot of voices outside my tent. I came out and a large line of people had formed beyond me.
I made small talk with the folks adjacent to me . . . all in a good mood despite the weather. The rain hardly let up the entire morning AND it was cold to begin with. Luckily I was smart enough to wear 2 pairs of socks 2 pairs of pants and 4 tops/jackets and my hat/hoodie combo. I stayed relatively comfortable (with the exception of my lungs). Around the actual ceremony I could feel the cold permeating though my shoes & socks into my feet, not fun at all.
As we moved up in line making up for the space left over from the tents being put away I could feel another attack. The awesome girl who saved me earlier got someone from security to escort me to the family restroom and hour before the doors opened. I needed it . . . the guy from security was so nice & came in to check on me. I plan on writing a letter to Richard Castanon thanking him & praising the staff overall.
The Ikea co-workers really did the best they could to keep our spirits up (without coming across as phony). That's is one of the things I love about that store, no pretentiousness, no phonies, no attitudes just people available to help when needed. We were given doughnuts & apple juice, keychains, frisbees, and squshy mini chairs and most importantly rain ponchos in line.
The ceremony took place & at that point folks were getting restless . . . so they opened the doors 15 minutes early . . . let's face it they didn't want to be out there in the cold rain either!
Entering the store we were greeted by co-workers hooting, cheering & hollering. They kept going well into the morning giving 1st day shoppers an enthusiastic greeting. I have to say I kinda felt like a rock star when I went in. I am relieved that they didn't have those dreaded "bang sticks" like I've seen in footage of previous openings. Between the cold & my fatigue I don't think I could my head could have handled it.
I gave the showroom 1 good quick walk through then went right over to the restaurant. I got the regular breakfast and a coffee then sat down at a table that fortunately was next to a wall outlet and by the large window facing the side parking lot. I was able to take another treatment and view the steady stream of people still entering. It was nothing short of amazing.
. . . & that's when it hit me. I started to get a little teary eyed. I've waited a long time for this. To be able to shop at my favorite store without having to wait so long to actually get there. Granted it's still a good 3 1/2 hour drive, not exactly a trip I can do spontaneously but I can still plan a day trip without having to find overnight accommodations. I wish my family could have been there with me & I started missing them.
I trotted down to the market place & picked up a new hamper for daughter #1, a gift for daughter #2's teacher (that she's been dying to give her for months) some new curtain rod sets for my master bedroom and the obligatory 6-pack of cinnamon buns for my husband. In the plant shop they were giving out free baby houseplants to commemorate the grand opening. I picked one out for my friend Kelly as a thank you for taking care of my girls after school.
I roamed through the As-Is department (they have a LOT of stuff right now . . . I wish I'd brought more money and a pickup truck) then checked out.
I got to my van loaded up & started to leave when I realized it was only 10:30!
I had plenty of time to get home . . . but MAN I was EX-HAUST-ED! I was soooo tempted to pull off into a rest area & take a nap, but I just simply needed to get home.
I got home, gave myself a chance to unwind, then slept . . . but even right now I'm SOOOOOO tired.
I'm looking forward to a full night back in my warm, safe, comfy, dry bed!
That's about it . . . I will be continuing the blog . . . my work is far from done. I'm still shooting for at least one more store closer to home. I will keep posting any store opening updates and future trips, wish lists and sales as they come along.
WELCOME TO CAROLINA, IKEA!!!
IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!