50 Shops in the Middle of Norway

By October 19, 2015 Backroads No Comments

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.

With Reidar Helgheim, second generation proprietor of camera store Alf Helgheim & Co in Skei i Jølster, one of the more that 50 stops on the #OlympusBackRoads roadtrip.

With Reidar Helgheim, second generation proprietor of camera shop Alf Helgheim & Co in Skei i Jølster, one of the more than 50 stops on the #OlympusBackRoads roadtrip. I had an excellent evening with Randi and Reidar, only missing out on meeting Alf himself, who at 94 still comes by the store every day.

 

A large percentage of the population in Skei i Jølster watching my "look how small it is"-presentation. Photo: Helgheim & Co.

A large percentage of the population in Skei i Jølster watching my “look how small it is”-presentation. Photo: Helgheim & Co.

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