It’s one of the most anticipated store openings we’ve seen in southeastern Wisconsin in quite some time and several thousand poured into Oak Creek’s IKEA for its grand opening.
Traffic was one of the concerns for customers and commuters heading into the big day.
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Oak Creek police said IKEA’s 1,000 spot parking lot reached capacity several times throughout Wednesday, but there were other options. For Bill and Geri Greathouse, parking wasn’t an issue.
“No problem at all, we got right in,” Greathouse said.
Others like Mindy O’Brien of Madison found it to be quite a challenge.
“I felt good at first until they told us we have to park way far away and bring shuttles over,” O’Brien said.
A free Park and Ride shuttle service sits about five miles north of the IKEA on I-94.
“I was like, I’m not waiting in line for an hour,” O’Brien said. “We Ubered over and got here finally.”
There was another option about a five-minute walk away, but it also cost customers.
“We thought we’d capitalize on their parking lot filling fast,” said homeowner Amanda Maughan.
Maughan is the owner of the only remaining house that has a backyard view of IKEA. She charged $10 a spot.
“It’s easy in, easy out,” Maughan said.
No matter how customers get to IKEA, one thing is certain, the hype won’t be slowing down any time soon.
“Take your time, it’s going to take a while,” O’Brien said.
Oak Creek estimates they will get a million IKEA visitors a year. The free shuttle service runs through this weekend.