Spend any time in and around Akureyri and you can’t fail to notice the ubiquitous KEA logo, plastered on hotels, fishing boats and even Kaffibrensla Akureyrar, the town’s coffee-roasting plant. It’s said locally that KEA, the Kaupfélag Eyfirðinga Akureyri (Cooperative Society of Eyjafjörður and Akureyri) and no relation to Sweden’s IKEA, owns everything except the church – and while that’s not strictly true, KEA does have fingers in many pies. Established in June 1886 by local farmers keen to win a better price for the live export of their sheep to England, the society opened its first co-op store ten years later and never looked back. Still with headquarters on the main street in Akureyri, and still operating despite the economic downturn, KEA now owns shares in virtually any local business you choose to mention, concentrating on the food and merchandise sectors.

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