Sunday, January 11, 2009

Good things come from SMÅLAND - very good things

Today we took a family outing to IKEA.

Our boys' toy closet was in need of reorganization and tidying up.

We debated about whether or not to go to The Container Store or IKEA and we landed on the latter.... boy, am I glad we did because it has given me enough inspiration for our next LM facility to last a whole year. The weather was dark and dim, and I was not sure we had made a good decision when we suddenly came up the hill and saw IKEA like a beacon in the snowy distance.

The moment we drove into the covered lot, we were transformed into a Swedish experience. IKEA was born in Småland, Sweden, a bucolic and lovely land and you could feel the presence when we sat in the cafe to eat.

Swedish meatballs, fresh Gravad Lax, and wonderful things for the boys. They were in heaven and busily eating as Susannh was previewing the catalog neatly left on our table for just that purpose.

Plants were growng on the roof to help dissipate rainwater run off, and I was in high-cotton thinking of our first LM facility and its ability to transform its "participants".

Immediately, I started to scan the room for the type of people there and how they were interacting. Clearly shopping for homewares is not the most common of male past-times (I know that is a generalization, but probably spot on), nonetheless, men were all over the place shopping away with their significant others.

I saw many Harley Davidson leather jackets, some rough looking Chevy NASCAR duds, and many a piece of automotive garb that told me some of those guys, had their heart elsewhere, but they were happy to help. I think, that Local Motors will be the same way for the spouses and family who will come to spend the afternoon and to support the key interested party. Food will certainly be offered (simple but healthy), and the decor and merchandizing will do every bit as much to emphasize education and the love of automotive...No the smell of grease will not be artificially pumped in :)

The next thing that caught my eye was the Training room decorated in serious IKEA fashion and dedicated to Arne Jacobsen (obviously someone whom everyone working there needed to know and pay respects to). A Dane, no less, who had a profound impact on modern furniture design....and we ought to have known that....and now we do.

I love this kind of inner-company commitment and seriousness of brand. In fact, I was surprised to see floor tents that said "Wet Floor/Piso Mojado" and not "Wet Floor/Vått Golv" (that is, of course, Swedish for "Wet Floor"). But at any rate, the seriousness of the Swedish decor thing was ominipresent and the employees were great. Even the signage was clean and clearly directive. Education, education, education, from the moment you walk in the door.

Well, we went on our shopping. The boys played and we looked for organization for the toy closet. The folks (MA lineage/Swedish trained) were SOOO helpful and we quickly found what we wanted. Then we headed down to the warehouse to pick up our stuff, and the boys LOVED that.

Self-Service, less cost for the business and the client, more connection with the customer, more time to merchandize, better experience all around!

Finally we packed up the car on this terribly weather day, and we trundled home to spend the rest of the evening reorganizing.

Voila. A great day. A great shopping experience. A little bit of handiwork from Dad. A little bit of organization from Mom. A little bit better for the environment than your standard store. And shelves we will always remember - and keep - because of it.

Someday these shelves will no doubt hold the matchbox car of the LM Rally Fighter ;)


Matt Fusco said...

Jay -

Great post. I get a good sense of the experience that you are seeking to create at LM.

Not 100% on point but MR ( created a destination/club for men that goes beyond simply getting a hair cut.

I'm looking forward to seeing the first LM facility.

Good luck!


Local Motorhead said...

Thanks matt for the comment, I checked it out. I will drop by MR. the next time I am in town in SF.

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