Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Swedish Giant


Monday: to Toulon to visit the Swedish giant, Ikea, to buy the last items for the kitchen we've been renovating for a long, long time but that's another story...

Ikea has this huge store just on the outskirts of Toulon, an hour and a half drive from our house. The place is always busy no matter what time or what day you go and, wishing to capitalise on its success, of course, the company had plans to open a store about a ten minute drive from Valbonne. The plans caused a huge furore; though the intended site was in Mougins, it bordered the neighbouring commune of Mouans Sartoux and would have had a much greater impact on the vibrant shopping centre there. M-S is also a well known traffic bottleneck even without adding in a popular furniture store and the traffic it generates. Here's a link to a local blog if you'd like to read about the traffic problems the superstore would generate.

The row raged for months with increasingly bitter demonstrations, public meetings and petitions for and against but in the end, to my relief, Ikea was refused permission. The roads here are narrow and winding and were not built or intended for the amount of traffic they carry now let alone in the tourist season. Adding more cars to this mix would make moving around doing daily chores intolerable. As to the jobs the store would have created; If we're all buying at Ikea, existing furniture stores will be forced out of business as there's only so much furniture anyone needs..

5 comments:

Tanya said...

Would you believe I've never stepped into an Ikea? We got one in San Diego, right before we moved away and I never did venture into it. Not sure if there is one here or not.

Hope you got what you needed!

Catherine said...

When we bought furnitures for Menton, we've ordered and paid in IKEA Paris, then fixed a date for the delivery in Menton from Toulon during our holidays !!! I regret IKEA couldn't find a place closer than Toulon. Look for instance, in Antibes, where there's a huge shopping area out of town. I 'm sure it's a problem of competition between furniture stores. They're perfectly aware they'll lose their customers if Ikea sets up in PACA.
But what they sell in IKEA is so original, and uncommon!

babooshka said...

I'm another who has nver been to Ikea but heard many tales of woe and joy. No Ikea here and for once I am glad I live somewhere to small to support one. I agree the smaller individual shops suffer. Hopefully a compromise can be achieved.

George said...

I'm glad that controversies over the location of 'big box' stores are not limited to the U.S.

Hyde DP said...

Same controversy here - what grates is that local people were kept in the dark until the matter was fait accomplie - hate the concept personally - you'd have to pay me to step inside.