One of Ingvar Kamprad‘s more interesting ideas in recent times was to open up an Ikea store in Haparanda, a town perched right up by the Finnish border.
It is now seven weeks since the grand opening and so far the flat-pack concept has managed to pull in hundreds of thousands of punters from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia.
On Sunday The Observer published an article detailing the effects that the most northerly Ikea in the world is having on the local economy. Among other things the article claims that since Ikea came to town unemployment in Haparanda has dropped from 10 to 3.8 percent!
Misha Maksimovic drove more than 500 miles from Russia to northern Sweden just to be like the rest of us. Yesterday in a blizzard he drove back again with his Ikea flatpacks, full of excitement that soon a Billy bookcase would be in his hall, a Sultan mattress would grace his bed and his kitchen would carry the Rationell name.
‘Ikea’s arrival in Haparanda is bigger news than the Russian revolution,’ said Maksimovic, a 45-year-old teacher, as he loaded £540 worth of shopping into a trailer hitched to his Lada. ‘The journey is nothing to us northerners.’