Store of the month: Elin Arvid
Elin Arvid is a cloting and interior store, which together with the delicacy store Tant Grön, is located in the countryside on an old family farm on the beautiful Bjärehalvön in the northwest of Skåne. We asked some questions to Nils and Anna-Karin, who own and run both the stores. We got to know a little more about Elin Arvid’s history, how they view sustainability, and what it’s really like to run a business and live in the same place.
Tell us about Elin Arvid, how did it all start?
“We started the store Elin Arvid in October 2011. Everything started already in 1998 when we just had taken over an old family farm on Bjärehalvön, right in between Torekow and Båstad. When we arrived here we became the sixth generation. The farm has been driven as active agriculture through all generations, but we understood that it was not possible to get any probability in that anymore. Then we specialized on the berry culture that existed on the farm and in 1998 we opened the farm store Tant Grön in a barn here at the farm. The development went pretty fast and after a few remodelings it was a cheese and delicacy store.”
What kind of products do you sell and which market are you targeting?
“We are two persons full of ideas and there were thoughts about developing the business here at the farm. In the year 2011 we decided to remodel another barn. Since we both have a big interest in fashion we thought it would be nice to complete the delicacy store with a clothing store.
October 16th, 2011 was Elin Arvid ready to open. By then we had not had the time to buy so much of AW11, so we completed with an assortment of interior. These days we have a bigger focus on clothing, but some interior is left. The name Elin Arvid comes from Anna-Karins grandmother and grandfather who lived at the farm before. The joint name for Tant Grön and Elin Arvid have become Butikerna på gården. We also see that most of our customers appreciate that we offer an assortment of quality in both the delicacy store and the clothing store. We also think it is a big advantage to have two stores with different assortment here on the farm, it creates synergy effects.”
Photo: Anna-Karin and Nils with their team.
What is the best thing about running a store?
“We think that we see our business idea from another perspective than we would have if we had rented premises elsewhere. Our big driving force is that the family farm should live on. The best thing about running stores in this way is that we have everything around us and that we own our premises. We also think that the customers experience it more personal and that it is an experience to visit our ‘home’ out in the countryside.”
What is the hardest part of running a store?
“We are not free from the difficulties that come with running your own business. As for many entrepreneurs, it is hard to get your time to last. It also requires great self-discipline to be off duty, since we live in the same location as we run our business. Everything we do has to be done with a great sense of caution to details. Nothing gets to be compromised. As we are the owners of the property, as well as it is our home, makes it hard to draw a line between private life and work. When you own your properties you also become your own caretaker, with everything that implies.”
The topic of sustainability is highly actual, how do you at Elin Arvid work with sustainability?
“We think sustainability is important. Since both our parents were farmers and lived out of nature, sustainability is a matter of great importance for us. What we have brought into our business is that the quality of what we sell is long-term sustainable. When it comes to Elin Arvid and fashion, it is important to us that it is not “fast fashion.” Our brands must stand for a quality that means that what you buy from us is used a lot and for a long time. Sustainability for us is also a broader concept. Our stores consume a lot of electricity. Tant Grön has refrigerated counters with the highest energy class, all lighting in both stores has been replaced with LED lighting. In addition, we heat all our premises with bioenergy. We hope to be able to invest in solar panels within a year or so. The fact that we don’t have to commute to work is also a positive environmental effect.”
Photo: Christmas decorations in the store.
What do you think are the most important ingredients to be successful at what you do?
“What the most important ingredients for our success with our company are, are something that we actually have thought about ourselves. We got an explanation from a customer and it is surely a big contributing factor, he said: ‘What you do should not work. But I think that I have figured out why it does it anyway. You are so careful with the details. Since our staff also has the same attitude and that we always should have fun when we work in the stores. We think that is what most customers put to notice and make them feel comfortable with us.”
Hur er bransch ut idag och hur ser utvecklingen ut framåt?
“Branschen som vi verkar i är något udda. Butiker på en gammal bondgård mitt ute på landet blir något mer än bara köp och sälj. Vi tror att kunden får en upplevelse av att komma hit. Det är något som säkert fler och fler efterfrågar och som står i total kontrast till näthandel. Därför ser vi ljust på framtiden. Människor efterfrågar mer naturnära upplevelser. Tror att lugnet och enkelheten på landet gör att fler människor kommer att söka just efter butiker som våra.”
What is your industry like today and what does the development look like going forward?
“The industry in which we operate is somewhat odd. Shops on an old farm in the middle of the countryside become something more than just buying and selling. We believe that the customer gets an experience of coming here. It is something that more and more people are probably asking for and which is in total contrast to online shopping. That’s why we see a bright future. People demand more experiences close to nature. I believe that the tranquility and simplicity of the country mean that more people will be looking for shops like ours.”
Elin Arvid (Butikerna på gården) on social media
Facebook: Butikerna på gården – Tant Grön/Elin Arvid