Progress on Wisconsin’s first IKEA store continues with newly-named store manager Samantha Gravina busy hiring employees before the store’s summer opening.
“We’re planning to open with 275 employees,” Gravina said. “Hiring has been great. Over the weekend we had a hiring blitz and hired more than 50 people. We will hold another event in February.”
On Tuesday the floor was being laid inside the 290,000-square-foot store and frame work was being completed to shape what will become the various rooms of the store.
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The store will be built on 29 acres at the northwestern corner of Interstate 94 and Drexel Avenue on land owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. It will anchor a larger, mixed-use development, although future tenants have not yet been announced.
Gravina and her team have been working at the store since early this month, hiring and training new employees and overseeing the future store.
A Chicago native, Gravina has been with IKEA since staring as a part-time furniture sales associate in 2000 while getting her MBA. Gravina enjoyed the company so much that after obtaining her degree, she worked full-time at IKEA’s Schaumburg and Bolingbrook, Illinois stores in the marketing departments before moving into a management role in 2008.
“IKEA recognizes the customer base that exists in Wisconsin, and I look forward to providing the 206,000 existing customers as well as future new customers with a store of their own,” Gravina said. “At the same time, I also am excited about growing IKEA culture among new co-workers from the Milwaukee area.”