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Same workplace for 34 years: " Strømmen Storsenter is like an extended family"

Ole Herredsvela first started working at Strømmen Storsenter when he was 16. He is now 50 and has the same workplace.

Portrettbilde av Ole Herredsvela
Ole Herredsvela is technical director at Strømmen Storsenter. PHOTO: Madeleine Gedde Kjällgren

The Strømmen dream 

"I remember when the centre first opened. It was a big day for those of us who grew up in Strømmen," recalls Ole Herredsvela.

With its 39 shops, Strømmen Storsenter was considered Olav Thon's first large shopping centre back in 1985. Today, the centre has more than 190 shops and food service establishments and continues to be one of the Olav Thon Group's biggest centres.

"When I was 13, I had a job delivering newspapers. In the morning, I would pick up the papers outside the centre and see the employees go through the doors to start their workday. Even back then, I dreamed about working there. It looked like fun, was close by and pleasant," explains Ole.

Determination and commitment pay off 

When he applied for the position of community worker at the centre at the age of 16, it was a dream come true. After school and on weekends, he would keep the common areas clean and tidy with a broom and dustpan.

Ole had high ambitions and told his employer from the very start that he wanted to work his way up. He was eventually given the opportunity to be a caretaker apprentice.

"That's what's so great about the Olav Thon Group. As long as you show determination and a passionate commitment to your work, you are given the opportunity to develop further." 

Neighbourly solidarity 

Ole does not have a formal education, but is currently the technical director for a team of five. His team is responsible for all technical operations at the centre. They also take care of operations at the other Thon properties in Strømmen and Lillestrøm.

More often than not, they fix minor issues at their neighbours as well.

"In an urban area like Strømmen, we actually play an important role, for better or worse, since we cover a large surface area, have long opening hours and generate traffic. So, it feels good to go the extra mile to be a good neighbour," says Ole.

"We know many of our neighbours and help them with all kinds of things, from unclogging sinks to screwing on door handles. Many of them are at the centre daily, so it's nice to be able to give something back."

Strømmen Storsenter family 

When we ask Ole what he enjoys most about working at Strømmen Storsenter, he doesn't have to think twice before answering:

"The people. Both my immediate colleagues and the around 2,000 employees who work in the shops and cafés. We consider ourselves an extended family."

Ole's actual family members have also had the Strømmen Storsenter as a stop along their career paths. Not only did Ole meet his wife when she was working at the florist at the centre, but their three children have also started their working life at the centre, where two of them still work.

"I don't normally stop by their work when I'm here. I'm their father at home, not at work, since they also have bosses and customers to deal with," says Ole with a smile. 

Get to know our people: Ole Herredsvela

  • Age: 50
  • Employed in the Olav Thon Group since: 1989 
  • Position: Technical director at Strømmen Storsenter
  • Best part of my job: It's very versatile and I get to meet and know lots of new people, from colleagues and partners to tenants and customers. 
  • Something you may not know about me: I make an amazing kringle almond pastry and gyoza. 

Read more about everyday working life in the Olav Thon Group