IKEA's Store in St. Louis Is Taking Shape

Categories: Bidness

ikea1.jpg
Photo by Micah Usher
IKEA, under construction.
St. Louis has a bad case of IKEA fever.

The 380,000-square-foot store at the intersection of Forest Park and Vandeventer has been under construction for ten months -- and every day, anticipation only grows stronger. Locally, the store has gotten a bigger buildup than most presidential campaigns. Here come the letters for the sign! Oh wait, those weren't the letters for the sign. Now they're here. Each development gets the sort of breathless play-by-play typically reserved for such matters of import as Jennifer Aniston's baby bump (still unconfirmed) or Princess Kate's delivery (pending, or so says US Weekly).

This can't just be about our desire for a nice Grundtal/Norrviken sink or a Dagstorp faux-leather sofa. Our need for IKEA is about more than mere furniture.

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IKEA's St. Louis Store Is Taking Shape (PHOTOS)

Categories: Bidness

extIKEA.jpg
Photo by Micah Usher
St. Louis has a bad case of IKEA fever.

The 380,000-square-foot store at the intersection of Forest Park and Vandeventer has been under construction for ten months -- and every day, anticipation only grows stronger. Locally, the store has gotten a bigger buildup than most presidential campaigns. Here come the letters for the sign! Oh wait, those weren't the letters for the sign. Now they're here. Each development gets the sort of breathless play-by-play typically reserved for such matters of import as Jennifer Aniston's baby bump (still unconfirmed) or Princess Kate's delivery (pending, or so says US Weekly).

This can't just be about our desire for a nice Grundtal/Norrviken sink or a Dagstorp faux-leather sofa. Our need for IKEA is about more than mere furniture.

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Star Clipper Blasts Off in Downtown St. Louis

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Photo by Jeremy Essig
Star Clipper opened for business Saturday under new ownership, but with many of its Delmar Loop employees.
By Jeremy Essig

It's fitting that the story that rebooted some of history's most famous superheroes also began a new era for St. Louis' bestl-known comic-book shop.

Star Clipper Comics relaunched from its new downtown location under cloudy skies Saturday morning. In a moment of beautiful synchronicity, Flashpoint, a 2011 comic-book series that began anew the histories of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, among others, was the first item rung through new store's till.

See also: Star Clipper Returns: Comic Book Shop to Resurrect with New Owners, Location

Much as Flashpoint made some dramatic alterations to comic history even while maintaining some continuity, the new Star Clipper location was also a distinct mix of old and new. The smell of fresh paint and new fixtures combined with recognizable signage and some familiar faces from the store's old Delmar location to begin the store's next chapter.

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Could Chrona Be the Key to Deeper Sleep? These Wash. U. Grads Say Yes

Categories: Bidness, Tech

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Courtesy of Ultradia
Ultradia cofounders Ben Bronsther (left) and Zimin Hang think they've cracked the code to deeper, more restorative sleep.
Zimin Hang and Ben Bronsther didn't set out to improve sleep. Like many entrepreneurs before them, the young Washington University grads merely thought they could measure it better.

They wanted to invent a device that would allow sleep research to be conducted in the patient's own bedroom. Instead of intrusive caps that require study subjects to spend nights wired up in a lab, what about sensor sheets that could be tucked beneath their pillowcases to measure sleep patterns? Perfect the technology, and researchers would surely line up, checkbooks in hand.

"We spent so much time and money on a patent to protect the technology that would do that," Hang admits. "The technology literally doesn't exist yet -- but we have the patent."

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Star Clipper to Hold Downtown Grand Opening on April 25

Categories: Bidness, Books

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Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
The new Star Clipper will have the same fixtures and staff as the old location in the Delmar Loop.
Two months after Star Clipper closed its doors in the Delmar Loop, its new owners have set a date for its grand reopening downtown: April 25.

The soft opening may come even sooner, says Keya Matanagh, who will be managing the location for owners Fantasy Books Inc.

"We are definitely going to be open by then," Matanagh promises.

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Star Clipper Returns: Comic Shop Resurrects With New Downtown Location, Owners

Categories: Bidness

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Jennifer Silverberg
The new Star Clipper will open in April on Washington Avenue with many of the bookshelves, fixtuers and staff familiar to regular shoppers of the Delmar Loop store.
"Oh my God, it looks just like Star Clipper!"

Ben Trujillo was visiting 1319 Washington Avenue, where two long-time friends wanted to open a new comics shop, when he first noticed the similarity to his own store.

Trujillo and his wife, A.J., had just decided to close their venerated Delmar Loop comics shop Star Clipper, ending its nearly three-decade reign after years of struggling to recuperate revenue lost after the economic collapse of 2008.

See also: Why Star Clipper's Owners Shuttered Their Beloved St. Louis Comic Book Shop

Hoping to fill the void left by Star Clipper's closure, Steve Unverferth and Tony Favello, co-owners of Fantasy Books, Inc., purchased the store's fixtures for their Wash. Ave. store and even hired four of the Trujillos' former employees. Unverferth and Favello didn't have a name for their shop yet, but it was easy for Trujillo to see how this new store -- a long, narrow space with hardwood floors that had formerly housed an art gallery and a dojo -- could channel the spirit of its popular predecessor.

"I was like, 'Wow, this really does look like Star Clipper,'" Trujillo remembers.

Until then, Trujillo hadn't seriously considered selling Star Clipper's name or branding along with its bookshelves and inventory.

"Our feeling was that we wanted to take it with us," Trujillo says. "We had built it up into what it was, and we didn't feel like there was anyone who could really pick up the reins."

But as any comic fan knows, the hero never really dies. As the Washington Avenue store took shape and as St. Louisans floundered over the loss of their favorite comic-book store, the Trujillos agreed on February 21 to keep Star Clipper alive by selling to Unverferth and Favello.

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Is Target Opening a St. Louis Store Across from IKEA, Or Nah?

Categories: Bidness

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Target
The CityTarget store in Seattle, Washington.
Business leaders say there's no truth to the news that Target is opening a new location near St. Louis' long-awaited IKEA store, but the bloggers who broke the story say they're sticking to it.

NextSTL, the urban-affairs blog that originally broke the news IKEA was coming to St. Louis, reports that Target has signed a letter of intent to build a CityTarget in the Cortex technology and innovation district, near where IKEA is under construction. There are only eight CityTargets (like a slimmed-down, Walgreens-style Target) in the country.

See also: IKEA is Coming: 5 Businesses St. Louis Will Freak Out Over Next

"The St. Louis CityTarget will be located at the northwest corner of Forest Park and Vandeventer avenues in midtown," Geoff Whittington reports for nextSTL. "This is directly across the street from the new 380,000 square foot Ikea currently under construction."

The CityTarget wouldn't sell large furniture, like its neighbor IKEA, and construction starts in 2016, Whittington reports.

But Cortex says the news about Target is bunk.

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I-K-E-A Letters Get Installed Today on New St. Louis IKEA Store

Categories: Bidness

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IKEA
IKEA is scheduled to open in St. Louis later this year.
It's been almost a year since a flatbed truck carrying the giant yellow letters I, K, E and A through town reignited St. Louis' IKEA fever.

Alas, the twelve-foot letters were destined for Kansas City's store, which opened in September, and not for the Lou, where construction officially began in June.

See also: Sorry, St. Louis, Those I-K-E-A Letters Were A Total Fake Out

Now St. Louis is getting its own I, K, E and A -- for real this time.

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Uber: Thousands of St. Louis Drivers Have Already Applied for Rideshare Work

Categories: Bidness

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Uber
UberX isn't legal in St. Louis, but the company says drivers are still applying for rideshare jobs.
St. Louis remains one of the largest metropolitan cities that bars ridesharing businesses. But that hasn't stopped drivers here from applying for jobs with one of ridesharing's biggest names: Uber.

Four months after Uber rolled out Uber Black, its app-based black car service staffed by already-licensed livery drivers, the company says thousands of St. Louisans have already applied for its rideshare service -- even as the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission shows no sign of allowing the business model here anytime soon.

See also: Uber Rolls Out in St. Louis, Officially Launches Uber Black

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South Broadway Athletic Club Wrestles With Possible Closure

Categories: Bidness, Sports

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Lindsay Toler
Is South Broadway Athletic Club down for the count?
For more than a century, the South Broadway Athletic Club has been a haven for St. Louis' ring-hardened wrestling fans.

World Wrestling Entertainment's Randy Orton got his start here, along with a host of chair-smashing, head-bashing, pile-driving amateur wrestlers who've become local heroes to the regulars who come to the club's monthly wrestling nights for the dropkicks and cheap booze.

But after decades of declining membership drained the club of revenue, organizers say South Broadway could be down for the count.

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