A customer works with an IKEA employee at one of the company’s planning studios. Photo courtesy of IKEA.

A new, small-format IKEA concept is taking over an 8,000-square-foot storefront at Long Beach Towne Center in the former location of Red Ball Fun Zone on the eastern edge of the shopping center.

The company announced plans Wednesday to open two locations of the scaled-down store in the Los Angeles area. IKEA did not announce the second location but said it will be “finalized soon.”

“We had identified geographic areas in the market that are beyond a 30-minute drive from existing stores, and where affinity to IKEA is extremely high,” an IKEA spokesperson said in an email. “Based on this, we looked at expanding the IKEA touchpoints in the LA market, where Long Beach became a great fit.”

Two full-size IKEA stores are within driving distance for Long Beach residents, both a straight shot on the 405 Freeway, in Carson and Costa Mesa. Both stores opened in 1992.

The two new stores, called planning studios, are slated to open in spring 2022, according to the announcement. The Long Beach location is expected to employ 13 to 20 people, the spokesperson said.

Customers will not leave planning studios with products. Instead, they will book appointments to meet with design specialists who will assist them with planning and ordering furniture and decor. Orders are made during the appointment, and products are then delivered to the customer’s home or another delivery point of their choosing.

The new concept is based on “extensive market research to understand consumers, what logistical barriers they face, how they like to shop, how they live at home, and more,” the company said in the announcement.

“By opening the two planning studios in the LA market, we are taking the first steps to create customer meeting points that are more accessible, … while continuing to offer smart and affordable home solutions,” IKEA U.S. Area Vice President Janet McGowan said in a statement, adding that LA-area residents are “often frustrated being stuck in traffic.”

The planning studios will be the company’s first on the West Coast and second and third in the country. The concept has one location in New York City, two in London, and one in both Stockholm and Warsaw.

“We’ve seen that customers are still eager for in-person experiences,” Javier Quiñones, CEO and chief sustainability officer for IKEA U.S., said in a statement. “That’s why we’re investing heavily in brick and mortar locations, and newer, more accessible store formats like the two L.A. planning studios – in addition to e-commerce.”