So I’m watching Channel 2 news tonight, and they do a story on Buffalo’s waterfront development. It seems that Mayor Byron Brown has just returned from some kind of retail convention thing in Las Vegas where has was reportedly schmoozing retail company execs about the current development of Buffalo’s waterfront. One company mentioned was IKEA.
So Channel 2 actually called IKEA, whereupon a rep for the company says that IKEA currently has no plans to open in Buffalo or anyplace else in Upstate NY, mainly because of population issues. (Which makes sense. Nothing wrong with IKEA’s thinking here, although it’s a bummer when some company says no to our city.)
Having that answer in hand from the IKEA rep, a Channel 2 reporter then confronts Mayor Brown by saying something like, “You said you were talking to IKEA about expanding in Buffalo, but we called them, and they say they have no interest! Can you explain that?” The question was clearly phrased with the underlying assumption that Mayor Brown had been BS-ing everyone last week when he mentioned possibly talking to IKEA.
Well, of course, he did nothing of the sort; conventions like the one he intended aren’t where one goes to ink final copies of deals, but rather to just make contacts with people and put the proverbial bugs in their ears. Brown never said that he was entering formal negotiations with IKEA or anything else of the kind. Channel 2’s attempt at a “Gotcha” moment was just plain lame.
(On the topic of IKEA, though, I wonder if that company were to announce a waterfront store if it would then draw the same kind of “anti-big box retail” sentiment that Bass Pro seems to be drawing. Especially since I’ve never yet seen an IKEA that was not of the “suburban big box” variety — a single-use building containing just the IKEA store, surrounded by a giant surface parking lot.)