Nathan & Olsen is a family friendly company with emphasis on balance between work and personal life. The company’s headquarters are located in Reykjavík in a new and modern building.
Two Danish businessmen, Fritz Nathan and Carl Olsen, founded the company Nathan & Olsen on 1 January 1912.
A third Danish businessman, John Fenger, of Scottish descent on his mother’s side, became a partner in Nathan & Olsen in 1914.
During the Great Fire in Austurstræti on 25 April 1915, everything in the offices of Nathan & Olsen, on the upper floor of Austurstræti 9, went up in smoke.
The company leased a steam-powered vessel in 1915 to transport goods to and from Iceland and subsequently purchased its own vessel, the motor cutter Harry, to use in international and coastal shipping.
On 15 September 1917, Nathan & Olsen moved into the attractive building that the company had built at Austurstræti 16. The building was lit with electricity, the first in Reykjavík.
The company had branches in Akureyri, Seyðisfjörður and Ísafjörður. The years between 1920 and 1923, however, were difficult times, and it was during this time that Harry was lost at sea, uninsured. As a result, the premises at Austurstræti 16, as well as property in Ísafjörður, had to be sold.
Nathan & Olsen opened an office in New York in 1942. The office was operated to the end of WWII and began imports of US goods, many of which remain family favourites in Icelandic households.
Fritz Nathan sold his shares in the company in 1936 and Carl Olsen in 1958. The company has since been in hands of the descendants of John Fenger.
In 1968, Nathan & Olsen moved into new premises that the company had built for itself in Ármúli 8. Twenty years later, in 1988, the operation moved into premises at Vatnagarðar 20.
The company Ekran ehf. was purchased in 1999. The decision was subsequently made to divide the company’s operations into three units.
By 2012, a century had elapsed since Fritz Nathan and Carl Olsen first opened the offices of Nathan & Olsen in Hafnarstræti 21, and the company, therefore, celebrated its 100th anniversary.
At present, Nathan & Olsen is a leading marketing company in the Icelandic groceries market creating relationships between producers and consumers.