Opening of the IKEA design studio in the Devonshire Mall

IKEA Canada will open its new design studio inside the Devonshire Shopping Center on Thursday.

The new store allows customers to design and order furnishing systems for their kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, laundry room and living room.

A groundbreaking ceremony with representatives of the shopping center and the municipality is scheduled for 10 a.m.

“We’re excited for everyone to come check it out,” says store manager Sandra Maksimovic. “Nothing here is store pickup and fulfillment so you can buy the items here we can order them for you we are here to help with that process.”

Maksimovic explains that the IKEA Design studio is much smaller than a traditional Ikea store, noting that professionally trained staff assist customers throughout the design process. “We have displays here, so yeah, customers should probably come here and take a look for themselves,” she says.

Inside IKEA’s new Windsor design studio at Devonshire Mall, March 23, 2022. (Chris Campbell/CTV News)

Store note appointments for one-on-one planning sessions with a design expert are encouraged, although walk-in customers may be accommodated.

Maksimovic explains that customers can also use self-service planning stations.

“We have countertops, we have the doors, different types of kitchens, cabinets, so let them come in and speak for themselves.”

Devonshire Mall general manager Chris Savard told CTV News the opening of a new store signifies a new chapter in the mall, noting there has been a lot of buyer interest in an IKEA since the closure of pick-up and order point on Walker Road in early 2020.

“Obviously any time we can add a new tenant to the mix, we’re very excited here in Devonshire,” says Savard. “We get a lot of requests for this use.”

Savard says discussions about what will replace the old Sears store have also resumed since the COVID-19 vaccination center is set to close this weekend.

“We are always open to suggestions regarding what might be available. Obviously we sat on the Sears box a little longer than we had hoped, but COVID kind of slowed down a lot of plans for a lot of people, including us.

Sandra Maksimovic, IKEA Design Studio store manager, March 23, 2022. (Chris Campbell/CTV News)

Savard thinks there are plenty of options for what could be, but won’t disclose who the ongoing talks are with.

“We’re talking to some pretty cool retailers and some really great first-to-market deals in Windsor, so we’re excited there’s some really good potential stuff there.”

Savard adds, “I think if you make an investment and you’re in Windsor, we’d like to think that’s where you want to be.

IKEA officials say their ambition is to become more accessible to Ontario residents by bringing the company closer to them and offering convenient new services that meet changing demand.

“We’re testing it everywhere else and it’s been taken down, so Windsor needs it.” Maksimovic says that despite the pickup location closing in 2020, “the sky’s the limit” for future expansion if things go well at the mall’s design studio.

“We just had to, you know, take a step back and reevaluate and this is our new baby, this is our new project, and we’ll see how it goes,” she explains.

Joseph E. Golightly