Make 50 stops on a road trip through Norway, and not every one is going to be in a major metropolis. The country is 385,252 square kilometres large, with only five million people. Riding the backroads here often brings to mind the question “where is everyone?”. On Monday in Skei i Jølster, home to 438 people, the answer was “at Alf Helgheim & Co.” A family business since 1946, Randi and Reidar are the second generation running the shop, but Alf himself, now 94, comes by every day to keep an eye on things.
How do you stay in business for 70 years? Get people to come to the shop, obviously. Which is what they did on the decidedly chilly autumn evening when I was in town. More than two dozen serious amateur photographers turned up and stayed to the bitter end of a long presentation on the finer points of Olympus camera technology. There was coffee and food, though. Even the fire department came. He’s also the school teacher. And the bus driver. Don’t ask me when he has time to take pictures.