Saint Louis was founded by Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau on February 15, 1764. That will make next year, Saint Louis’s 250th anniversary. The City of Saint Louis will begin celebrating this anniversary on New Year’s Eve and continue with festivities throughout 2014. This is good news, but anyone could have seen this party coming. In a bit of a surprise, city Mayor Slay announced today that IKEA will build a store in town. The store will be located near Vandeventer and Forest Park Avenues, southwest of SLU. Groundbreaking is scheduled for next summer, with the store opening in the fall of 2015. This news will act as a great salve to our hurt feeling, because we all knew here that Kansas City’s IKEA will open next year. Many other metropolitan areas have been enjoying their IKEA for years. I’m just glad that we’ll finally be getting ours, even if it will have taken 251 years to get here.
The placement of this IKEA store in our urban core is a bit of a departure from their usual business model. Normally, IKEA stores are placed in the suburbs. This difference didn’t go without complaint from some of my more white bread colleagues. Some scoffed at Mr. Slay’s assertion that this store marks a turnaround of the flight of jobs and people from the city. Their derision probably prevented them from hearing the mayor’s enumeration of other store chains that will also be setting up shop in town, Whole Foods and Lululemon to name a few. I fled their company, in order to hang out with the cool kids. They were nice to me today, even though I brought ‘tidings of great joy’. Their take on the store’s location was totally different, because they live within five miles of that spot. One of them, a Michigan grad, even offered that they had softened up Ohio State for me. I hope that this is true. Eventually, we all agreed that win or lose, Michigan State is almost certain to go to the Rose Bowl. It’s a BCS thing.