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Chamber Leadership Series: Charlie Plisco Shares IKEA's Story

Chamber Leadership Series: Charlie Plisco Shares IKEA's Story
Chamber Leadership Series: Charlie Plisco Shares IKEA's Story
Chamber Leadership Series: Charlie Plisco Shares IKEA's Story
IKEA's Charlie Plisco Shares the IKEA Concept Story Emphasizing How Far One Small Business Can Come While Focusing on Sustainability and Diversity

“What starts as a problem always turns into a solution” and “We don’t just make things. We make things better.”  These are two core elements of IKEA’s culture.  IKEA Market Manager Charlie Plisco presented the IKEA story for the Hampton Roads Chamber Leadership Luncheon on Thursday, August 8th.

Against countless odds, IKEA has grown from a small operation in Sweden in 1943 to over 400 stores worldwide today, exemplified the image of success, and reached to achieve numerous dreams while always dreaming up new ones. One of these dreams was bringing IKEA to Hampton Roads.

Opened in April 2019, IKEA Norfolk brings values that resonate in the region—healthy and sustainable living, climate positivity, fairness, and equality. Plisco understands these values well; he has deep ties to Hampton Roads, having attended Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach and the College of William and Mary for graduate school. He says, “Finding people who believe in the same things we believe in is a key part to our success. Hampton Roads shares IKEA’s vision”.

Plisco announced IKEA has donated $100,000 to Norfolk Botanical Garden to plant saplings.  The IKEA team will assist in the planting.  Plisco highlighted the sustainability of IKEA by pointing out their newest store in Denmark is completely self-reliant and uses no outside energy.  The Norfolk store has the largest solar rooftop in the region. IKEA has windmill farms throughout the world to create energy. 

Plisco also highlighted IKEA’s diversity and inclusion programs.  The company strives to have the store service staff reflect the demographics of the region.  More than 50 percent of the Norfolk employees are African American, and more than 50 percent of the team leaders are women.

When answering audience questions, Plisco addressed the importance of changing with the times, citing a very real disruption to retail—the emergence of e-commerce.  IKEA is using this threat to its advantage by rolling out “click and collect”.  Customers can purchase items online and pick them up at the store, often within minutes, without going onto the showroom floor.

Southern Bank is the Hampton Roads Chamber Leadership Series Presenting Sponsor.  “Our goal is helping businesses grow, helping businesses be successful, and helping owners of these businesses achieve their dreams,” said Taylor Harrell, Executive Vice President and Regional Executive, Southern Bank & Trust Company.

The Hampton Roads Chamber means business and works as an impactful advocate, a powerful economic partner, an inspiring ignitor, and regional collaborator for our diverse and inclusive business community.

Thank you to our 2019 Hampton Roads Chamber Leadership Series sponsors: Presenting Sponsor, Southern Bank; Silver Sponsor, Hampton Roads Workforce Council; Host Sponsor, Hilton Norfolk |The  Main; and Media Sponsor, Inside Business.

Join us for the next Chamber Leadership Series Event.  On Thursday, October 10, 2019 Kathleen King, founder and owner of Tate’s Bake Shop, as she discusses the journey of her business from almost ruin to where it is today—selling over a million cookies per week to all 50 states. To register or sponsor go to

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