Umba business scene

Industry consists of fishing (poaching), berry and mushroom collection (but processing facilities are most conspicuously missing – a note for those looking for a business opportunity), and subsistence farming under conditions fundamentally unsuitable for growing things.

Active attempts to develop tourism are being made over the last couple of years.

I’m afraid I’m one of these hopefuls too, and I’m always eager to eek a few kopecks off you. I cater to private travellers or very small groups, travellers who are here or a reason, offer fixer type support etc. See Hire me or Categories > Services.

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Hurray!

flagIt’s a frenzy of “patriotism” and flags sell like hotcakes.

This one was noticed in a alterations shop. The price, 1500 roubles, is about $45. Yes, $45 for a synthetic made in China Russian flag.

Demand for patriotic paraphernalia is usually followed by a serious for coffins and assoicated stuff. That may be the business to get into. Tourists, off whom I’ve been making a living for the last 18 years, are unlikely to come here in any number, and the few clients I’ve been lucky to get don’t form any dissernible pattern except that they’ve all fallen for the “no job too small, few too weird” line, the second part. Can’t build a strategy around it. Coffins may be the next hot item.

Another high-profile accusation. Vasily Shambir, Murmansk Parliament speaker.

Just came out in the news. The speaker of the Murmansk regional parliament, Vasily Shambir, is accused of stealing 42 million roubles ($1 million something) from the Kandalaksha Experimental Machine Building Factory while being its shareholder, member of the board of directors, and director-general.

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Kandalaksha oil depot bankrupt?

The establishment has been beset by less than friendly takeovers and property disputes, and finally seems to be out of business. The last tanker was unloaded in August, and 302 employees of the facility haven’t seen any wages for months. The latest news is that the facility’s vehicles and some real estate are being sold by court order. Problems and opportunities go hand in hand, and I’m mentioning this for the benefit of serious business travellers. Although I’m skeptical about doing business in Russia in general, oil may be among very few real opportunities.

Auto service

Land Rover is one of the most environmentally friendly cars you can find. It puts the oil back in the earth.

The situation with auto repair here sucks big. As an owner of an old British jeep designed to test owner’s patience and to keep the repair industry afloat I find myself in an intense and prolonged predicament here.

No, I cannot recommend a specific garage or a service center. If your car is down, feel free to ask, and I just may be able to issue some constructive advice. With some luck you’ll leave Kandalaksha under your own steam but no, this town may have its share of artists and literati (see eg. www.kola.gallery) but no auto mechanics in numbers anywhere near enough to look after a population of 40 thousand with at least one decaying car per household.

I should add opening a proper list repair shop to the list of business niches screaming to be filled. Done. Here is a new category that I’ll call Business scene. There I’ll list opportunities screaming to be filled.

The closest place where you can realistically get your car fixed is Murmansk, and here is a summary of what I’ve been told or dug up about the auto repair scene there.