Entrepreneurs Seek To Capitalize On Ikea Opening Buzz

By Lisa Brown
St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Flummoxed by Allen wrenches or loath to circle parking lots, hunting for a space?

The opening of the first Ikea store in St. Louis is still weeks away, but businesses and entrepreneurs in the region are already scrambling to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the new store.

They’re offering a range of Ikea-related services, including furniture assembly, painting advice and free shuttles to the home furnishing retailer when it opens on Sept. 30.

Patrick Marsden, a veteran carpenter who lives in Hazelwood, is one of the folks hoping to cash in.

Marsden last month posted an ad on Craigslist, offering Ikea customers delivery and assembly services for a fee.
“I have the knowledge and knack to put things together,” Marsden said.

Ten years ago, Marsden renovated and flipped houses for a living, but that business dried up with the housing crash and recession.

With the new Ikea opening, Marsden foresees demand for his services from customers who want an Ikea bookshelf or other goods but feel overwhelmed by the need to put together the ready-to-assemble furniture. His ad lists a range of fees based on the value of merchandise a customer buys at Ikea, starting at $79 for goods up to $299, up to a $769 for goods over $3,000.

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and this has a lot of potential,” said Marsden, who works in the IT industry but said he wants to restart his renovation and construction business.

When a new Ikea opened a year ago in Merriam, Kan., a Kansas City suburb, home remodeler and former professional painter David Helm quickly seized on the opportunity by opening a new business that focuses solely on installing Ikea cabinets.

The Kansas City-based business, Pro Kitchen Builders, charges more than $1,500 to install some Ikea cabinets.

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