Skafferiet combines coffee with sofa sales

Norway embraces the international trend to incorporate furniture sales into the cafe experience

People sit at tables outside of Skafferiet

Photo: Øyvind Holmstad / Wikimedia Commons
Skafferiet’s yard fills with customers on a sunny day, serving both those seeking a new couch and guests simply looking for their next cup of coffee.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Norwegians are among the heaviest coffee drinkers in the world. Now you can also buy furniture while having your Americano.

In Norway we have a few furniture-selling cafes popping up. When the local plumber moved to a new industrial area a year ago, Nina Høyer moved in with coffee, clothes, and furniture to create Skafferiet. Instantly it became popular with the locals at Tjøme. The entrepreneur had been planning to start this new venture for almost two years. When she heard that the plumber was moving, she made him a visit to see what the rooms could be used for. According to her there is an international trend towards combinations.

“Skafferiet” has taken its name from the room in the old sailing vessels where they kept the food, bedclothes, etc. The name means we are close to the sea. They have a simple lunch menu with salads, open sandwiches, baguettes, cakes, and waffles. The bread comes from the local bakery close by.

This combination has been around for some time.

In Chicago you have Kouks Vintage Café, for example. This is half antique store and half coffee house. The offbeat North Park destination will fill you up as you take a trip through time. The menu features a full line of coffee drinks, high-grade teas, fresh smoothies, pizza, and pastries. The antique store features vintage radios, furniture, and what the owner calls a man room with military figures, Planet of the Apes figurines, and action heroes in display cases.

An enthusiastic customer said the place was a hidden gem where you could enjoy espresso with cherry pie listening to the Supremes, with friendly service and the best collection of old radios he had ever seen. Another enjoyed the spread of vintage items from clothing to furniture to jewelry to toys. He felt like he could spend days there just exploring. Most of the items seemed reasonably priced, and he ended up buying a pipe with a Viking’s head on it. He just loved the intimate, neighborly vibe in such a place!

In London they also have a few built on the same concept; one of them claiming to be the first around. You can find the Public House in London. This is in Islington, located north in the city, with a restaurant, bar, and with lots of used furniture that you might buy on the way out. The place is pretty, not in a statuesque model sense, rather like the kooky girl next door with something a little wonky about her person that just adds to her charm, as the brits would say. They say they were the first around with the concept of restaurant, bar, and furniture sales in one.

Another is the shop 2M run by a design company. They welcome you to a contemporary approach to modern living. Formed in 1997, 2M are the joint talents of a furniture designer and a ceramic/glass artist. Of course you can by modern furniture and artworks while you enjoy coffee and cakes.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 30, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.