"Kiruna has the right costume now"

Kiruna A year ago, Kiruna's new city center was inaugurated. In the space of a few weeks, 36 businesses moved from the old town centre into the new quarters. Initially, there was a lot of scepticism, but now many business owners welcome the change.

One of them is the classic Centrum clothing store. A store that left its mark on the old city center. The shop has been run by four generations since 1925, with the family living in the same corner building as the shop. Johanna Lindgren Ringholt is the fourth generation owner of Centrum JW Lindgren AB. She thinks that Kiruna's new center is better than the old center.

"Kiruna has the right costume now. The old center was too big a suit. There was a large windy square and scattered trade. The malls were not synchronized either. It was a town for tourism, not for trade," she says.

Johanna saw the potential of the change and took the opportunity to reduce the space in more appropriate premises in the new center. There was only one thing that was non-negotiable:

"The sign must be included, and it must sit on a corner, otherwise we won't move", she explained to LKAB and Kiruna municipality. And so it was. The same sign, but new premises in a new location. And new customers.

"We have more customers, and new customers who didn't know about us before. A lot of younger people and a lot of tourists who come to see the transformation of the city," says Johanna Lindgren Ringholt.

Another store that also moved last year is the sports shop Höjdmeter. It has lost a category of customers through the move, mountain tourists passing through.

"The tourists don't find their way here, there's a difference. The railway station and bus station are too far away. It's a process to get people used to coming here," says Marcus Lygnersjö, who together with Johan Andersson owns Höjdmeter, a shop specializing in summit tours and free skiing, cross-country running, cycling and cross-country skiing.

But despite this, the shop is developing positively. It has more premises for the business, is increasing its turnover and is investing even more in events.

One business that had problems finding suitable premises in the new center was Spis, a restaurant and hotel. When they were not offered any suitable premises, they were about to close down their operations in Kiruna. In the end, they found a solution that turned out to be good, when they opened a new restaurant right next to the new city center. Spill saluhall & eatery opened at the beginning of the summer.

"It works very well. We have a lot of people both at lunch and in the evenings. And weekends with live music almost every weekend. The atmosphere in the new center is becoming more positive," says Daniel Stålnacke, who recently became a partner in Spis together with his brother Johan Stålnacke and Johan Lans.

Lennart Håkansson