Locals From Rishon Fight IKEA

ikea-green-prophet.jpgA day out at the IKEA store in Netanya is a national pastime in Israel. While we don’t mind an outing once and a while to the superstore, we’re cautious about buying furnishings from there. Firstly for the quality issue and secondly because the business shuts out our smaller home furnishing stores in Israel.Big box stores are a pretty new concept in Israel, and thank God that not every Israeli city wants them in their backyard. A word from someone who has see the beautiful farmland around her hometown Newmarket, Ontario stripped and converted into vulgar strip malls of big box shops: they have no place in a healthy and sustainable town or city.First of all, big box shops like IKEA and Office Depot put smaller local businesses out of business. That would mean no more Yossi from the Tamboor shop on the corner of your street to chat with. While big box promises cheap and trendy, it does not promise quality. Plus you need a car to get there.Goods from big box shops are often assembled and packaged in the Far East or some other locale with cheap labor and shipped around the world until they are bought by you. Needless to say, trucking those goods around puts a heavy toll on the environment. And we become a part of that cheap throw-away culture when the crappy cupboard from IKEA falls apart after a year.After the resounding success of Israel’s first IKEA, the Bronfman-Fisher group decided to open one in Rishon Letzion. The possibility sparked a flurry of complaints from environmental groups and local Rishon businesses who have the foresight to know that the entire city would change if IKEA opened its doors there.The stakes are big in this project, as something like NIS 400 million has been invested to for leasing the land and building the store, which currently stands on the site practically finished. The legal battles are not over and the wealthy Bronfman’s will continue to appeal, reports Haaretz.If you are looking to support local craftsman and cabinet-makers, you can find the practical to the divine in south Tel Aviv’s Florentine district. Furniture galleries are open during the day and friendly carpenters who work on streets with names of the trade are open to build your heart’s desire.

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