A Swedish Affair for All Your Swedish GoodsOctober 24, 2016
Richard Warren’s business got its start at a party in the 1970s.
It was there that he befriended a group of Swedes who introduced him to Scandinavian culture and most important, his Swedish wife Yvonne.
The couple opened A Swedish Affair, a Scandinavian gift and food shop located in Fort Myers, Fla., in 1984. They’ve been selling and shipping Scandinavian products across the world ever since.
“We started off trying to sell just arts and crafts, things made in Sweden,” Warren said. “We branched out over the years and started selling Swedish food. We sell a variety of things from food to crystal, to dish clothes, it’s a wide range of products.”
Need some candleholders, blankets or coffee cups adorned in Dala Horses? A Swedish Affair has you covered. From Christmas and Easter décor to wooden tableware, the store has a little bit of everything, all made in Sweden. According to Warren, the company’s extensive stock of tablecloths are popular sellers.
Warren credits returning shoppers and word of mouth for the store’s success over the past 30 years. The brick and mortar store at 1400 Colonial Boulevard is frequented by Swedes visiting the United States and travelers from the Midwest with Swedish roots. The company’s online store accounts for another 40 percent of sales.
“I’ve shipped Swedish calendars to Japan,” Warren said. “I send out a lot of things to Australia. There are Swedes everywhere. I’ve sent to Hawaii, Alaska and Canada.”
Warren and his wife have visited Sweden more than 30 times. They owned a second home there for 15 years that they would frequent during the American summers. During their Swedish travels, they often would attend gift shows to pick up products for the business.
It’s easy to understand that Warren loves his life and the work he does at A Scandinavian Affair.
“I enjoy Scandinavian culture, and the Scandinavian people,” he said. “They’re a kind, friendly group of people.”