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IKEA appoints Monica Varela Manager of Future Tampa Bay Store
Dec '08
IKEA, the world's leading home furnishings retailer, announced the appointment of Monica Varela as store manager for its future store on track to open Summer 2009 in Tampa, FL. It will be the Swedish company's 3rd store and restaurant destination in Florida, 6th in the Southeast, and 37th in the United States. Until the 353,000-square-foot future IKEA Tampa opens in Summer 2009, customers can shop at existing Florida IKEA stores in Orlando and Sunrise or at its website.

“We are very excited about opening a store in the Tampa Bay area, where there are many IKEA customers as well as others who may not know us yet but are anxious for us to open,” said IKEA North America president Pernille Lopez. “Monica's retail store experience with IKEA, as well as her product life-cycle management expertise, has prepared her for managing this store in Tampa.”

“IKEA recognizes the strong customer base for us in the Tampa Bay area, so I am pleased about providing these 100,000 customers with a store of their own,” Varela said. “Also, I look forward to introducing new customers to our unique family-friendly shopping experience and wide selection of stylish, functional and affordable home furnishings.”

Varela, who relocated to the Tampa area from South Florida, started at IKEA after working at several department store chains. A native of Havana who grew up in Barcelona and Philadelphia, Varela joined IKEA in 1989 as U.S. sales manager responsible for textiles. In 1997, she moved to France to be a commercial/supply manager within the IKEA Distribution Services team. Two years later, Varela joined IKEA Spain as the country sales leader, and then as assistant store manger for sales at a Madrid-area IKEA store. In 2004, Varela returned to the U.S. as assistant store manager for sales at IKEA Elizabeth (NJ) near New York City. Three years later, Varela was named deputy store manager at IKEA Sunrise (FL) where she served until now becoming store manager of IKEA Tampa.

Under construction on 29 acres along Adamo Drive at 22nd Street and the Crosstown Expressway, near Ybor City, IKEA Tampa will present 50 different room settings, three complete model homes, a supervised children's play area, and a 350-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries or salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a 'Children's IKEA' area in the showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store. IKEA Tampa also will offer services such as home delivery, furniture assembly, kitchen installation and in-store consultations.

Additionally, IKEA Tampa brings job creation, with 400 coworkers joining the IKEA family when the new store opens. Candidates interested in working at this employer of choice should look online (www.IKEA-USA.com) for all positions available at the future IKEA Tampa store, where they soon can apply for diverse positions available in: home furnishings sales, interior decoration, customer service, safety and security, cashiers, maintenance, goods flow, receiving, warehouse and stock replenishment.

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