Virginia’s Potomac Mills IKEA turns 35

The IKEA furniture store at Potomac Mills, whose original location was among the first to open in North America, marks its 35th anniversary on Nov. 15.

The original Potomac Mills IKEA, part of the Woodbridge, Virginia, mall itself, opened in 1986.

In 2001, that store closed and was replaced by a free-standing IKEA store nearby that is twice the size of the original Potomac Mills store.

The first U.S. IKEA store opened in 1985 outside of Philadelphia. There are now 52 IKEA stores in the U.S. and 389 stores total in 32 countries.

Its other stores in Maryland include College Park and White Marsh Mall.

To mark the 35th anniversary at Potomac Mills, IKEA will hold a weeklong birthday party with special offers, activities and giveaways.

IKEA, which stands for Ingvar Kamprad from Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (the founder’s name, the name of his family farm, and its local parish) was founded in 1943, though its first permanent showrooms didn’t open until the mid-1950s.

Its flagship IKEA store — a huge, round, multistory building outside of Stockholm inspired by the Guggenheim museum in New York — opened in 1965.

IKEA has long been known for its sleek furniture that often requires frustrating assembly, though there are independent assembly services that have emerged in recent years.

IKEA has also long been known for its Bible-sized catalog, but the 2021 catalog, released last October, was the last it will publish. At its peak in 2016, IKEA printed 200 million copies in 32 languages.

This year, IKEA also launched a furniture buyback program, purchasing gently used IKEA furniture in exchange for store credits. It is resold in an as-is section of stores.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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