Wayfair's first-ever physical store opens in Wilmette with freebies, giveaways

The 150,000 square-foot, purple-and-white store sits in the Plaza's remodeled Carson Pirie Scott space, which has sat empty since 2018

NBC Universal, Inc.

Two years in the making, popular online furniture retailer Wayfair will come to life Thursday in Wilmette as it opens its first-ever physical store.

The highly anticipated store, at 3232 Lake Avenue in Eden's Plaza, will host a grand opening at 10 a.m. As of 6 a.m., some customers were already in line hoping to score deals and freebies as part of the festivities, NBC 5's Lexi Sutter reported.

By 9 a.m., the line had wrapped around the store.

Visible from the highway, the 150,000 square-foot, purple-and-white store sits in the Plaza's remodeled Carson Pirie Scott space, which has sat empty since 2018. According to Wilmette village president Senta Plunkett, the store is expected to have a "transformative effect" on the suburb.

"It will be our largest sales tax generator," Plunkett told NBC Chicago in an interview. "We're excited to be able to reinvest those sales tax dollars into our infrastructure. It's a big deal here."

The store also features an on-site restuarant called "The Porch," with all-day breakfast along with snacks, salads, sandwiches, coffee and beer and wine, officials said, where customers can "sip and shop."

Following the grand opening, the store and restuarant hours will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, the release added.

What the store is like on the inside

The store contains more than 80,000 pieces of inventory -- from couches and cribs, to wallpaper, flooring, backsplash, showers, sinks and refrigerators -- plus a home improvement section, test kitchen and fully-loaded design center line the newly renovated walls.

"We wanted customers to see that we have things for the entire home," Barclay Resler, Wayfair's head of visual merchandising said. "And not only that, we have the entire style spectrum, so everything from the most modern, through the spectrum to the most traditional, and also really every price point."

Similar to a home furnishings store, a walk through Wayfair offers multiple home vignettes and colors along with finishing touches like pillows, candles, vases and tableware. While many of its furniture and finishing brands are signature ones -- like Joss & Main, which also has a brick-and-mortar store in the Chicago area -- it also carries appliances from top names like Samsung, Bosch and Cuisinart.

The store also offers custom cabinetry for kitchens, complimentary design services, a gallery wall creator and a "Dream Center" that allow customers to get matched with certain mattresses and pillows using a five-question process.

According to officials, customers can select and purchase items in store and pick them up at the end of the shopping trip, though some items would need to be delivered. Customers can also order items online for store pick-up, or select "fast and free shipping," which typically takes under a week.

Officials said the Chicago market -- Wilmette, in particular -- offered a "great" opportunity for Wayfair's first physical store.

"Lots of young families here," said Liza Lefkowski, VP of merchandising. "It's kind of right for our brand."

Lefkowski went on to say that the store is meant to be a destination for all things "home," and to fit a wide variety of budgets.

Ahead of the opening, here's a sneak peek into what it looks like inside:

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