Company History

STØR was an IKEA style furniture store that operated in the United States from 1987-1992. The store was very similar to IKEA in the sense that they sold European style flat pack furniture in a a huge maze like building. This obviously caught they eyes of IKEA who was expanding into the U.S. at the time. They sued STØR shortly after opening for copyright infringement. The lawsuit was settled with STØR’s agreement to modify their store’s layout and advertising to differentiate themselves from IKEA.

Houston History

During STØR’s short life they managed to open four locations. Three were in California with a fourth opened in Houston. The location was 157,000-square-feet and was described as “selling everything from picture frames and linens to office furniture and bathroom cabinets.”1 The location opened Wednesday October 16, 1991.2 Before opening STØR aggressively advertised via Radio, and mailing product catalogs all throughout Houston. The Houston location was the first and only location to be franchised by STØR. The chain had plans to continue expansion through franchising more locations. However STØR’s plans for expansion were unfortunately thwarted after the opening of the Houston location. A large amount of debt was acquired by the chain and they were purchased by IKEA in February of 1992.

The location after its conversion to IKEA kept many distinct STOR features. It didn’t completely resemble an IKEA. Taken in 2004
Photo Credit: John Rover

The plan was to sell all the STØR branded furniture then close the locations re-branded as IKEA. The location continued to operate normally until March of 1992 when a going out of business sale was started.3 The location was completely gutted and rebuilt by IKEA to match their other locations. This was done as the location was built by STØR after the lawsuit with IKEA had been settled. As part of their legal agreement with IKEA STØR had to rework the layout of their locations to look less like IKEA. The location reopened July 15, 1992.4 Upon reopening it donned a blue and yellow paint scheme, contained a cafeteria, playground, and familiar maze like showroom.

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