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Mo i Rana is Northern Norway's third largest town and has been a regional center for trade and culture since the 1870s. For several generations, Mo, the open plains at the heart of the Ranfjord, has been an important trading point for people in the municipalities of Hemnes, Nesna, Luroy, Rødoy and Traena, and for the farmers, hunters and Sami villages far inland in Sweden. It is almost a matter of course that the national shopping center chain Amfi has been in Mo i Rana for many years, and both Coop and private players such as Byporten have made large investments in retail space in recent years.

Mo i Rana, Moholmen, Meyer, gamlebyen, Giga Arctic

In the old district of Moholmen around 1900, pleasant trade was a central business activity. Photo: Rana Museum

Trade can be brought back as long as we know there have been people in the region, since the iron age. It is assumed that the trade between the coastal population of Helgeland and the Sami population inland and in Sweden has been going on for several hundred years. Before 1800, Mo i Rana was as important for Sami trade and existence as Kautokeino was in Finnmark.

The merchant Lars Aagard Meyer was the one who, around 1860, set up the barter trade between the Sami and the coastal population, and who raised Mo i Rana up as one of the country's most important trading towns. Later, the trade went through a number of changes and modernisations, but the shopkeeper spirit that Meyer brought with him can still be found in the merchants and employees today. Meyer's rule that a pleasant trade is a good trade still applies.

Mo i Rana, Byporten, handel, Giga Arctic

The Byporten shopping center has several sought-after shops and a popular café. Photo: Yamo

Just as important as the shopping centers are the town's small specialist shops. Several of these are like hidden treasures in terms of selection and specialist knowledge. In these stores you can find employees with a life behind the counter, and with a formidable knowledge of shoes, clothes, watches, glasses, or handicrafts. Their specialist knowledge helps to make trading both safe and pleasant.

Mo i Rana, handel, Giga Arctic

The clothing store LOE has been in the same premises since 1950. Photo: Yamo

The melting pot Mo i Rana is also home to many people with an Asian and African background. They have brought many unfamiliar and colorful dishes with them, but it can sometimes be difficult to obtain raw materials. The conventional Norwegian shops are not able to provide at an acceptable price, and this opens the door for creative creamers. In Mo i Rana, we have two shops that specialize in various foods from Asia and North Africa. The product range in the two stores 1001 Natt and Tooti Asia is impressive.

Mo i Rana, handel, Tooti Asia

In the Tooti Asia store, merchant Mustafa Heidar Bavi offers goods that the conventional stores do not have. Photo: Yamo

As a consequence of a high level of activity over several years, most building material chains are represented by large stores in Mo i Rana. This gives customers competition both on price and expertise. Several smaller craft businesses also have their own outlets, and the selection is, in sum, impressively large.

Byggmakker, Mo i Rana, handel, Giga Arctic

Byggmakker is one of several specialist chains with shops in new and modern premises. Photo: Yamo

Coop's major investment on the south side of the city center created Mo Tradepark and Helgeland's largest Coop store, Obs, with a formidable selection of products. Wall by wall is Obs Bygg, and on the floors above there are the national chains XL Sport and Bohus Furniture. Next door to Coop's shopping center is the flower and garden center Plantation (Platasjen).

Coop Midt-Norge, Coop, Obs, Mo i Rana, handel, Giga Arctic

Mo Trade park, which is owned by Coop, is located on the E6 just by the entrance to the industrial park. Photo: Yamo

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