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Expert: IKEA Opening To Have Lasting Impact On Region’s Economy

Some people camped out as early as Sunday ahead of the grand opening.

Photo: Steve Burns

Some people camped out as early as Sunday ahead of the IKEA grand opening.

A little more than two years after becoming a city, Fishers is seeing explosive growth. The opening of Swedish furniture maker IKEA Wednesday means more economic development is expected.

People lined up several days ahead of the store’s opening.

“We actually showed up on Sunday night at probably 10 or 10:30,” says Beth Middleton, who lives about 40 minutes away from Fishers.

Construction resulted in 500 jobs and the store will employ more than 300 Hoosiers. But the economic impact doesn’t end there. There are fewer than 50 IKEA stores in the United States, so Fishers will be a regional shopping destination.

“If you look at midsize cities around the United States, they are becoming really attractive destinations that are set away from some of these cities that have more challenges in terms of traffic, housing expense and things like that,” says John Talbott associate director of Indiana University’s Center for Education And Research in Retail.  “I think in some ways getting an IKEA is an indicator of status.”

That means more retailers and restaurants are likely to open in the area. The popular restaurant chain Portillo’s opened a Fishers location last month. And an all-seasons golfing center called Topgolf will open Friday.

It’s part of a growing trend for the Hamilton County community. Fishers transitioned from a town to a city in 2015 and elected its first mayor, which led to major changes.

“There are now people in Indy who drive to Fishers to work,” says One Zone Inc. President Mo Merhoff. “And what’s being created is not just a place to come home at 5 o’clock to. It’s a place you want to be 24/7.”

According to the U.S. Census, the city’s population has grown by more than 13,000 residents since 2010.

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