The man with a van and a shuttle to Ikea
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The man with a van and a shuttle to Ikea

Benjamin Terrell offers Jerusalemites access to the Swedish furniture store

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Benjamin Terrell, hard at work at Ikea Rishon Lezion (Courtesy Benjamin Terrell)
Benjamin Terrell, hard at work at Ikea Rishon Lezion (Courtesy Benjamin Terrell)

Need some new BILLY shelves for the bedroom, but don’t feel like driving to Rishon Lezion to buy them from Ikea? (Or assembling them once back home?)

Benjamin Terrell is ready to help.

The Jerusalemite is the proprietor of On The Move, a moving company that ferries Jerusalemites to Ikea in the coastal town of Rishon Lezion once a week on Mondays, for a fee of NIS 150 (about $40) per ride, which includes schlepping those heavy boxes of flat-packed furniture.

If there’s room in his eight-seater van, he sticks the cardboard-wrapped shelves and storage units in the back; he also brings along a trailer for the larger items, like closets or the ever-popular bulky but light Poang chair.

On weeks where there are more riders than spaces in the shuttle, Terrell may add a Thursday run to Rishon. The ride takes less than an hour. (There are also Ikeas in Netanya and Kiryat Ata.)

It’s a smart move for Terrell, who specializes in working with fellow English speakers, catering to the market of people who don’t have cars and may also need help maneuvering around the Israeli branch of the Swedish furniture giant.

The Ikea store in Rishon Lezion is the only Ikea destination for On The Move customers (Courtesy Ikea Israel)
The Ikea store in Rishon Lezion is the only Ikea destination for On The Move customers (Courtesy Ikea Israel)

It helps keep Terrell busy during the quiet winter months, when fewer people move apartments.

Said Terrell, “I’m actually getting a lot of people who say pick me up a closet, since I’m going there anyway.”

Last week, he ferried a French family who had recently made aliyah and needed to buy an apartment’s worth of furniture to use until their shipment arrived from France.

There are customers who know what they want to buy and don’t want to spend four hours at Ikea, the average length of time that On The Move offers on the Monday trips. In those cases, Terrell will take their list (compiled online through On The Move), make their purchases, and deliver their items to the door.

Ikea shuttles exist almost everywhere where Ikea exists; in Florence (Italy), Oslo (Norway) and Brooklyn, the shuttles are free but don’t include personal shoppers.

On The Move is slightly cheaper than Dror4U, the moving company exclusively associated with Ikea Israel, which handles the home delivery of all Ikea furniture purchased at the store as well as all online orders from Ikea Israel.

Dror4U charges NIS 230 ($58) for deliveries to Jerusalem from the store, or 5% of the value of the highest item, with an extra NIS 25 ($6.4) per floor for deliveries to apartments on the fourth floor or higher in buildings without an elevator. Assembly costs at Dror4U range from NIS 238 ($61) to NIS 400 ($102) or 10% of the price for items above NIS 4,001 ($1,024).

On The Move fees for assembly vary per item, said Terrell, starting from NIS 100 ($25) for assembling one BILLY bookshelf, or NIS 200 ($51) per hour for two workers to assemble a clothing closet.

Terrell’s service also charges an additional NIS 100 fee for ferrying items that will require a mover to get it into the house and NIS 250 for two or more heavy items.

“I know a lot about Ikea assembly now, especially closets,” said Terrell.

He’s thinking about adding another service, based on the Ikea Hackers website, which takes Ikea ideas and furnishings and finds other uses for them.

“If you find something on Ikea hackers, I’ll build it for you,” he said, commenting that he’s been thinking about creating his own PAX Murphy bed.

He also wants to work directly with Ikea, given the business he’s bringing them from Jerusalem. He sees his service as “building a bridge” for a lot of the store’s customers.

For that, however, he may need to speak to Ikea Israel’s boss, Matthew Bronfman. Who knows? Maybe Ikea will open a store in the holy city.

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