A multifunctional store refers to a store, which provides a wide range of services in addition to groceries. The shop has the ability to survive also in regions where the population is diminishing. The services can be both public and commercial.
Due to the multifunctionality of such rural stores the merchants must be able to handle a variety of tasks. Four factors are especially important and vital in order for a multifunctional store to be successful and are bottlenecks which this project tries to solve:
- The merchants’ roles and competence levels.
- The commitment from the communities.
- Institutional frameworks.
Following this, it is important to develop the merchants’ abilities to address these factors. They must be good merchants, of course; however they must also deal with different issues associated with social services, entrepreneurship and the various multifunctional services which are offered in addition to the regular grocery store merchandise. In some cases the most appropriate solution can be involving other service provider professionals, for example an additional service provided in the shop is a nurse few hours a week performing medical services.
The project covers most of the NPP area: Finland, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Faroe Islands, Northern Ireland but also Greenland, Sweden and Norway as the associated partners come from there. The partnership is a combination of research, public services and private institutions.
The RRR Project is partially financed by Northern Periphery Programme and European Regional Development Fund. National match funding comes from different sources. NORA is partially financing partners from Greenland, Iceland and Faroe Iceland.
RRR project will help to overcome the bottlenecks of establishing multifunctional stores and support the start up and running of these kinds of stores. The project purpose is to provide and sustain tailor made support for rural shops. This support will be offered by for this purpose trained professionals on the regions but also by utilizing the transnational network of professionals. Final product will be a “Triple R model” adapted and implemented in NPP regions.
The project is divided into four different workpackages.