Now when Mr Selfridge has become so popular, it is even more fun to be able to recount a similar story from Karelen, set in the latter part of the 1800s and with a woman in the lead role as entrepreneur.
After Sofia von Zweyberg’s husband mysteriously left her and their children to travel east, she finally saw no other option than to rent for herself a cold and draughty warehouse without a floor, on the quayside in Viborg, where she could sell cloth and reels of thread. Here Emilia, her daughter, recounts in her memoirs how it all began;
“Do you see that little house, there we shall begin our work for the future. We will wait for Pappa, but meanwhile we will work with prudence and diligence. When all is said and done, mother was seized by a strange urge to start a trade. – Yes, there she stood behind the counter, that dynamic woman with her friendly and winning ways, year after year, during the cold winters as well as the hot summers, always as happy and contented. The trade was successful but also demanded toil and commitment. The hardesttime I remember from my childhood was then, because every Sunday trade thrived in our old town from 2 o’clock in the afternoon until late in the evening. Business was best at this time so mother and I took many heavy steps during these hours”.