By now we have all felt the effects of the dire straits of the economy in one way or another. Nordstjernan wanted to find out how the financial decline has affected the import and sales of Swedish goods in America, and hooked up with some favorite companies. We are happy to report that the immediate future for lingonberries and herring in the U.S. looks positive.
Chicago Importing Company is a family owned and operated business, which has on its roster Swedish delights like Abba’s herring and caviar spreads, Anna’s Pepparkakor, Ahlgrens bilar (chewy candy) and cookies from Göteborgs Kex AB and more. Vicki Mirabile, Marketing Manager of Chicago Importing Company agrees the past year has been a bit of a challenge.
“Sure, it has. But we have quite a variety of goods, so there are always things that move ahead. We have many products that are priced well, and we’re right now broadening our horizons a bit and adding more to our portfolio while also keeping our Scandinavian products. We’re realizing our customers are having problems paying their bills, and that it is difficult to sell products on the higher end. Now we’re introducing some Belgian handmade chocolates, for example. And chocolates are good and comforting when things look bad!”
Elki is a company with strong Scandinavian roots, centered on Danish gourmet preserves. They also carry Kirsten’s Skandi Snaps in a variety of tastes (like ginger spice and almond cinnamon). Giovanna Norde, Elki’s Marketing Manager, says,
“People aren’t buying as much ahead of time as they used to. But I believe that’s the only way we really feel the financial decline.”
Source Atlantique imports Felix Lingonberries, and Swedish recycled aluminum foil.
“Obviously business is slower,” says Charlotte Abella, Marketing Manager. “That’s not just our business, it’s everywhere. But in general we’re OK. We haven’t had any huge losses and we’re even a little bit ahead in our total sale. So I would say we’re in pretty good shape. There are no indications that we won’t do well in the next six months ahead.”
Lastly, we spoke with Anna Vikki, Assistant to Walter Seifert, President of Haram-Christensen Corporation, a company that brings us Västerbotten, prästost, Wasa knäckebröd, Göteborgs kex, matjesill and herring spreads and much more from Sweden. The company is the result of a consolidation of two food import corporations founded by Norwegian immigrants, with origins going back to 1919. Haram is the name of an island in Norway. Says Vikki:
“Of course people are more concerned, but they still buy. They have to eat! We still take orders. Summer is not really our season, it is fairly slow, but we take orders for fish balls, the Norwegian jams do nicely, as do the lingonberries from Felix. You have to remember this is an old company, 90 years old.”
So what’s a little recession after all? Don’t let it stop you from enjoying your herring and your lingonberries this summer. At Elki’s Web site we were reminded of an old Swedish custom for eating ginger snaps: “Place a cookie (pepparkaka) in the palm of your hand and make a wish. Press the cookie in the middle. Swedish tradition states that if the cookie breaks into three pieces, your wish will come true. If the cookies does not break into three pieces, you’ll savor the cookies in smaller portions.” Here’s to making a wish for a prosperous future.