After 57 years in business, Bertil Ohlsson of Olson’s Scandinavian Deli is retiring. The Open House this past Saturday was a day full of laughter, shared memories and fond well wishing for the future.
Well over 100 people stopped by Olson’s Scandinavian Deli this past Saturday, when Bertil Ohlsson, his daughter Debbie Chen and employees Kjell Jönsson and Warren Lautz, invited customers to celebrate 57 years in business with a final Open House. It was a busy day – one would have thought it was two days before Christmas – and Kjell and Warren behind the counter got by with a five minute lunch break and plenty of energy drinks. Debbie kept the coffee and cake coming and Bertil, dressed in his customary light blue shirt and white apron, was working the floor.
Surrounded by longtime friends and customers it’s easy to see why retirement long has been a Four-letter word for Bertil Ohlsson. He’s turning 90 this year and his back is aching, but he’s on his feet for six hours straight, chatting with visitors, making jokes, having his picture taken and receiving all the appreciation and gratitude one could only wish for at the end of ones working life.
Bertil and his beloved wife Helene ran the store together for many years and they got to know their customers well; they got to know their children and grandchildren too. And after Helene passed away ten years ago, he kept going on his own, the store and his customers keeping him busy and providing company.
Olson’s Scandinavian Deli is open until next Tuesday, after which the new owner takes over. The incoming owner has bought the business and the building and while he/she was not present during Open House, rumor has it that business will be open during the upcoming renovations and the Scandinavian theme will live on, in one form or another.
For more on Bertil Ohlsson and his Scandinavian Deli – go here.
Text and photos: Ingegerd Landström