Britha Sundström was a businesswoman. She and Alma Ströberg jointly set up Växjö’s first fruit and flower shop in 1893 which they ran until the late 1940s.
Britha Sundström was born in Gothenburg in 1858. Her parents were Gustaf and Mathilda Sundström who had nine children together. When she was born her father was the director of Skansen Kronan prison in Gothenburg. He had been moved to that job from a post at Carlsten fortress following the dismantling of the prison facility there. The family then moved to Nya Älvsborg fortress and finally to Landskrona, after which Gustaf Sundström was made redundant at the age of 45. He then became a merchant and had various agencies, including one on behalf of Gemla toy factory.
Britha Sundström worked variously as a shop assistant in Landskrona, Helsingborg, and finally in Karlshamn where she had moved in 1888. In 1893 she moved to Växjö and it was there, along with her friend Alma Ströberg, that she set up the first fruit and flower shop in the town. The shop was on Sandgärdsgatan 8 in the same building that had been constructed for her sister Mathilda and her brother-in-law Sven Johan Johanson for their own company, Nya Jernboden.
The advertisements in the Smålandsposten newspaper reveal that the Ströberg & Sundström company sold fresh fruit as well as fresh and artificial flowers. It remains unclear how the two shop proprietors had come by their skills in floristry. Britha Sundström’s youngest sister, Eleonora (Nora) Sundström, began to work in the shop in 1904 and remained there until her death in the late 1930s.
On the establishment of Växjö handelsklubb (business club) in 1903 Britha Sundström was one of only two women who immediately became members. The aim of the club was “partly to generate a community and encourage collaboration within the body of business people as well as to campaign for developments and improvements, and to, as far as possible, support any needy members who, whether through illness or other extenuating circumstances, have fallen on hard times”. Britha Sundström’s brother-in-law, Sven Johan Johanson was also a member – as was his brother, August – and he even served as chair during the 1908 to 1911 years. Britha Sundström resigned from the club rather quickly. According to the historian Lars-Olof Larsson her resignation was brought on because “the male-dominance became intolerable”.
The Smålandsposten newspaper obituary of Britha Sundström noted that she “was a very energetic and hard-working business woman”. She ran her shop until the late 1940s.
Britha Sundström died in 1951, aged 93. She is buried at Tegnér cemetery in Växjö.