EAST WINDSOR, CT — After more than five decades in business, including the past 20 years in its founder’s historic Ellington home, the Scandinavian Gift Shop has moved to a newly renovated location at. The shop is on the corner of East Road, just west of the Ellington town line, in buildings formerly owned by the East Road Garden Shop and Juknis Farms.
The new locale is a labor of love for newlyweds Olivia and Drake Smith, who recently renovated the buildings with help from family and friends. It also keeps the business in Olivia Smith’s family; it was founded 56 years ago by her grandmother, Siv Harvey.
“It’s a dream fulfilled,” Smith said about taking the reins from Harvey, whom she referred to as her Mör Mör, Swedish for grandmother.
Well known for its inviting atmosphere and friendly conversation, Harvey opened the doors to the original store in the Ellington Center Plaza in 1964 after emigrating to the U.S. from Sweden. She operated there until 1995, when she moved the store to her historic home at 99 Maple Street, across from the town green.
“It’s heartwarming to see the shop continue in the hands of my granddaughter,” Harvey said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”
For the foreseeable future, Harvey plans to continue working alongside her granddaughter in the new storefront.
“I’ve always been inspired by Mör Mör and by my Swedish heritage,” Smith said. “I feel honored to carry on our family and cultural traditions.”
The Smiths bought the property in late December, and have worked since then to completely overhaul the buildings. The new location resembles a small Scandinavian village with quaint white framed structures, signature red and blue doors and gleaming hardwood floors.
Inside the shop, shelves are filled from top to bottom with everything from imported Orrefors Crystal, candles and holiday decorations to assorted sundries including cheese, soda, meat and candy. Norwegian, Danish, Finnish and Swedish handcrafted products add considerable charm and character.
Whole Harmony Tea Cottage, a latte-tea bar with to-go items and wellness products, rounds out the village, along with a specialty greenhouse operated by Floral Accents by Bonnie from Glastonbury.
Harvey joined the Smiths in celebrating the grand opening of the new location last weekend, accompanied by several local dignitaries.