The local rebel (hero)

FurumackenAt the age of 70 Kjell decided to go his own way. When the petroleum company this time as usual neglected Kjell’s pleas to negotiate the fees for his gas station franchise contract, they didn’t get a signed contract in return. He had already moved on, setting up his beloved gas station free from any obligations. I guess you could say that his bus stop dreaming paid off in the end.

I live in a small village, Furulund, in the south of Sweden. It has about 4000 inhabitants and the gas station Kjell runs is one of the rallying points of the village. He was born and raised in Furulund, and in 1963 he realised an old dream he had, bought a piece of land and set up his own gas station.

In the beginning of the eighties he joined Bilisten, a new petroleum brand, as a way of getting better deals, cope with investments and building a trusted brand. Thirty years later the driving spirits who started it are long gone. The petroleum company had been walking from one hand to another and now it’s more about skimming of the profits of the gas station owners, without adding any value to the business.

Having your own gas station is a little like being a farmer: you are never free. And one of Kjell’s dreams is being able to employ someone who can help him out, so that he and his wife can go on vacation now and then. Within short he’ll be able to reach his goal about that, now when he’s on his own.

A person like Kjell is pretty important to a small village like Furulund. It feels like he knows everyone in town, he’s always up for a chat and if you like to you can sit down with him and have a coffee, if there’s no customers waiting. In these days when almost all shops have standardised products, looking the same whereever you go, Kjells place is different. He’s always on the lookout for what people in the village might need, and if you ask him if he sells something and he doesn’t have it, he always answers: “No I don’t, but I can get it for you”.

Add to this that he every year organises a Christmas fair, he sponsors and helps the local football team and he always helps out with other events run by schools and others. So I guess we can call him our local hero, being a rebel now too.

I think Kjell is a really cool person and he’s helped me out many times when I needed help with my car, the christmas tree lighting were broke or when I was out of tobacco (Swedish snus). I have helped him out with his Facebook page, but now we have to migrate to a new one, since you can’t change the name of a page. There are of course bigger hassles than that to a change like this, but they seem easy to carry when you’ve really decided yourself for something.

The other day I asked him if any gas station owner could do this if they wanted to, and he simply answered “Yes”.

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