I was at Ikea with a good friend this weekend, looking for things for both of our new homes, and was struck once again with how accessible my local Ikea is. I honestly don't know if that's a nationwide trend, but I can say for certain the West Chester, OH Ikea is a good one. The handicap spots can be a bit further out than you're used to, but the lot is extremely level, so getting in isn't tough at all.
Once in, you're greeted by concrete floors that are all but polished to a shine. A wheelchair nearly flies over them, even years after the store opened. The elevator is only 10 feet or so from the escalator, and it's massive. Seriously, I've been in that elevator with over 20 people and it didn't feel crowded. No waiting for the next load here!! Once upstairs, a few of the demo home layouts are tricky in a narrow manual chair and would be very tough in an electric chair, but they've managed to lay things out so the vast majority of the demo layouts are visible from the main walkway. I was able to navigate a path to every couch I wanted to try out (the friend needs a couch, I felt the need to weigh in on the Comfort Factor- I am, after all, a Comfort Factor Expert). The downstairs shopping area was the same way- I could get to pretty much everything I wanted to see. There were a few tight-ish corners, but I could get around them fine, and I expect most electric chairs would be able to turn around and get back out if the chair is too big for a corner. The tight corners were pretty dang rare. Now, if I could just get the good people of JC Penny's, Sears, etc, to follow suit.
But the star of the day? The bathrooms. There were 2 handicap stalls, both of which I could fit my chair in. A big chair would only fit in the larger one of the two stalls, but it's great that there's a second option for those who can stand to transfer like myself or are ambulatory but need the bars and higher seat, which is normally me with my crutches. The baby changing table was not in either handicap stall- instead, it was in the main area. Which is exactly where it should be. There's a sink that's set low enough a toddler standing could wash their hands unassisted, which is excellent for small children in small, low to the ground chairs. Added benefit I'm betting the installers didn't foresee: it's also a good height for many Little People.
Only improvement I could possibly suggest would be push button openers on the doors. Actually, I think I'll message Ikea and ask about them. :) Never hurts to ask and goodness knows I shop there enough!