The oldest business magazine in Iceland, Frjáls Verslun (Free Trade) has nominated Sigurbergur Sveinsson and his two sons, Sveinn and Gísli Sigurbergsson Businessmen of the Year. The trio owns and runs Fjardarkaup supermarket in Hafnarfjördur, a popular, inexpensive retail outlet with excellent service.
The father Sigurbergur Sveinsson established the Fjardarkaup company with his partner Bjarni Blomsterberg in 1973. He bought his partner’s share sixteen years ago.
Fjardarkaup supermarket has expanded gradually over the years, operating in five different locations until settling down at their new location at Hólshraun 1, in a building designed to be as inexpensive as possible. The father and sons have never been interested in expanding their business to other towns than Hafnarfjördur, focusing on offering fair prices and good service to their customers, which has attracted customers from all over the country.
The whole family has worked in the supermarket which employs 100 people. Some of the employees have been with the company from the start in 1973 and many have worked there over twenty years, creating an atmosphere of stability and old fashioned kind service for customers.
Fjardarkaup’s philosophy has been not to borrow and never to spend more than they could afford at any given time. That has resulted in a stable debtfree company that has a healthy turnover of ISK 3 billion ( USD 24 million / EUR 16,3 million) annually, making profit every year and managing good customer relations.
Sigurbergur Sveinsson, born in 1933, was raised by fosterparents in the now desolated district of Selárdalur, Arnarfjördur fjord in the West Fjords. In an interview with Frjáls Verslun he says that he learnt socalled ‘coal-economics’ from his fosterparents who never spent more than they earned and burned peat in their stove instead of coals which they had to buy. That meant they usually had a surplus at the local co-up in the village of Bíldudalur at the end of the year.
Sigurbergur worked as a fireman in Keflavík when studying business and worked two jobs until he founded Fjardarkaup in 1973. His wife, who regrettably passed away this month, worked besides him at Fjardarkaup until she died. They couple have four children, two daughters, Hjördís and Rósa and the two sons, Sveinn and Gísli who now run Fjardarkaup on a daily basis.
Frjáls Verslun is published by Heimur hf., that owns and runs this website.