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IKEA pull-out from Somerville leaves shoppers looking for a replacement

Posted by Matt Byrne  July 25, 2012 10:22 AM

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With the announcement that Swedish furniture giant IKEA will no longer pursue a store at Assembly Square, shoppers and residents are rethinking what could anchor the city's newest planned neighborhood.

In interviews Tuesday, residents and visitors shopping at the strip mall that now abuts the future Assembly Row development said they would like to see another retailer step into IKEA's shoes.

Suggestions included a Wegmans, Whole Foods, or other high-end supermarket.

"It's something a little different that what is carried in normal grocery stores," said Mark, a 47-year-old Boston resident, who asked his last name be withheld. He said the specialty items carried at the Northborough Wegmans are enough to entice him into the hourlong drive to the store.

Another shopper said she would prefer a Dave & Buster's or similar entertainment venue that could cater to families.

Rido Chhay, 28, said she used to frequent Good Time Emporium before it was shuttered in June 2008, and now must search farther away from her Everett home to find similar indoor entertainment.

"It was a hang-out spot for the kids," said Chhay, who now must drive to Braintree to the Dave & Busters location there.

One Somerville resident, Marco Oliveira, 43, said he was displeased that IKEA decided to take a hike, saying the area's population of young professionals and college students could have used a cheap outlet for furnishings.

But in IKEA's stead, Oliveira was specific about what he did not want: "a Walmart-type store," he said. "Basically there is nothing that big that could come. They had the anchor."

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