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This morning, we were lucky enough to be included in an exclusive, behind the scenes tour of the new IKEA Exeter store, before it opens to the public on May 10th. But, rather than keep this to ourselves, we thought we’d share the experience with you!

As well as a short presentation from Nick Earle (new Store Manager) on the vision, culture and community engagement of the store, we were also treated to a one-hour guided tour by Sandra Sinfield (Head of Communications and Interiors) and members of the store and PR agency teams . On this tour, we were shown around all the different departments, the dedicated children’s area and a first for IKEA in the U.K, a ‘Greenhouse’ section of the store centred around gardens and outside spaces. One thing that really stood out was the sheer variety of products to choose from and the intentionally staggered price ranges throughout the store.

As their vision statement says, IKEA really is a store that ‘wants to create a better everyday life for the many people’.

Joff Alexander-Frye and Nick Earle, Ikea Exeter store manager, talk.

And let me tell you, you are in for a treat! The store is spacious, airy and full of natural light, courtesy of the numerous large glass walls and windows (another first for IKEA in the U.K). This makes for a much more pleasant and relaxing experience as you walk around the store; an experience also aided by the in-store direction system (not dissimilar to a London Underground or New York Metro map). There are also plenty of shortcuts signposted for those of you who want to get in and out more quickly!

The store is very nearly finished, with the last touches being made around us as we toured the impressive facility.

Our Editor-in-Chief, Joff Alexander-Frye, also had the pleasure of sharing some one-to-one time with Nick Earle, who openly discussed the culture, vision and ethos behind IKEA. He also unpacked (no pun intended) their reasoning for picking Exeter, their desire to work closely with the local community and also his imminent personal relocation to the area on Friday.

To read the full chat between Joff and Nick, please keep an eye out for the article in our June edition (coming out in a few weeks).

For now, enjoy browsing through these photos and start a countdown for May 10th!

Joff Alexander-Frye and Nick Earle, Ikea Exeter store manager talk. Joff Alexander-Frye and Nick Earle, Ikea Exeter store manager talk at the top of the stairs in Ikea Exeter.

A sign in Ikea displays the slogan 'Design for Everyone'.A sign in Ikea Exeter details 'Clever storage throughout your home'. A sign outside Ikea Exeter proclaims: 'The Wonderful Everyday is coming'.Ikea Exeter Eket storage.A kitchen set-up with a striking lighting feature in Ikea Exeter.A dining table laid with crockery in Ikea Exeter.A sign in Ikea Exeter: 'Borrow a shopping bag'Written on the wall in Ikea Exeter: 'Where the heart is'A striking lighting feature in Ikea Exeter with a sign saying 'Your favourite place to be'. A row of industrial-style lights hang over a table in Ikea Exeter. An employee at Ikea Exeter has his back to the camera in his uniform. A sign at Ikea Exeter says: 'You have 365 days to return your purchase.' The warehouse in Ikea Exeter.

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