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The Country Shop

From the 1870s onwards, every single village in Finland had a small country shop or general store, like this one. And like this one, they were often located in a room in the shopkeeper’s house. In this shop, there is also a post office, as well as the shopkeeper’s kitchen and parlour. The country shops were almost like miniature department stores – except that they sold no fresh produce. Some of their wares had been shipped from faraway countries, like spices and teas from Asia, and cotton yarn and cocoa from America. You could buy decorated porcelain of the domestic brand Arabia, as well as rubber boots with the Nokia logo. And of course, there were also products on the shelves from the first industries in Vasa, such as threads and yarns from Vasa Cotton, candles and soap from Vasa Soap, and crispbread from Vasa Steam Bakery – what a sensational new product! One interesting difference is that it wasn’t so very common in the olden days to have ready cash. For example, the shoemaker, the tinsmith and the broom-maker preferred to trade for products they had made. If you didn’t have any money at all, you might be permitted to buy on credit.  After all, no matter how poor you were, there were at least two things you still wanted for Christmas: coffee beans, and a piece of the sugar cone.