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A typical part of the IKEA experience is finding yourself lost among Billy bookcases, Hemnes bed sets, and Poäng chairs looking for a way out – or at least a shortcut to light bulbs. But thanks to some Swedish downturn, there’s no chance of getting lost in the retail giant’s newest location in Toronto. It’s significantly smaller – at 66,000 square feet, roughly a quarter the size of the popular stores in Etobicoke and North York. It’s also downtown, inside a residential tower no less. There are approximately 3,500 items on display on two levels, and of course there is also a Swedish restaurant. District office workers note: meatballs with kimchi and potato salad topped with green onions make an excellent lunch. Here is a look inside.

Discount real estate is possible thanks to a cashless scheme and modified inventory that dispenses with a spacious self-catering warehouse or a football field-sized car park (although there is limited underground parking). The two-level store has taken over a space formerly occupied by Bed Bath and Beyond in the Aura Shopping Centre. Below the 80-story Aura Apartment, Canada’s tallest residential skyscraper:

The Swedish Deli, a bite-sized restaurant just off the entrance, is a new concept for North America. The only other species can be found in London, England:

Inside, the store still looks a lot like IKEA, down to the bags of Daim candy, cured salmon, and blue wrinkled non-perishable bags. The Swedish Deli has chocolate-filled cookies and rye cracker snacks called Kafferep:

In traditional IKEA stores, the market and open displays are located on separate floors. Here, the items available for purchase are geared towards living with small spaces. And you’ll notice quickly, it’s all mixed up: Customers will find kavalkade teflon pans next to frozen Swedish meatballs. Dinner is served:

Much of the stock is displayed on Level 2 – accessed by stairs or elevator – which is massive, airy and flooded with natural light. Expensive items, such as sofas, beds, and smart miniatures for full-size apartments, still exist, but about 60 percent of the items are ready-made goods such as pillows, plants, and picture frames that can be carried on the subway:

The small mezzanine restaurant is located just above the Swedish deli and features classics like hot dogs ($1), cinnamon buns and brownies ($1.50), frozen yogurt on a cone ($2), a vegetarian version of strawberries, and meatballs in lingonberry sauce. Plus, there are fresh treats like vegetable balls (vegetables or chickpeas), which are combined with green lentils, curry sauce, shredded Parmesan cheese, and arugula or potato salad (starting at $5.49):

Here are some vignettes on the second floor:

The displays focus on compact rooms and use every inch of available space – vertical, horizontal, or even diagonal:

By 2030, IKEA wants to sell products made exclusively from recycled or renewable materials, like these eco-friendly baskets:

This site has a larger selection of sustainable products, like this surfer-inspired line of art, canvas hats, and stainless steel water bottles:

Shoppers can trade in their flat pillows for one of these fluffy, colorful options:

Here, criticism is fleeting. You will have to pay the new school way: scan as you go on the IKEA app for smooth checkout or use the self-service kiosks. There are checkout lanes on both levels:

The store has a large vegan section for those who can’t quit this green habit:

There are no information towers – those pods with pencils and an assistant to help you navigate your latest Renault ideas – at this IKEA. Alternatively, there are stations like these, where customers can get items to suit their plans:

There is an As-Is section for refurbished purchases and a return area at the entrance to College Park. They will also accept returns purchased at other locations, so downtown customers can save on gas:

382 Yonge Street

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