Stores’ selection of goods attracts

BUSINESS AS USUAL: COMMERCE, KARI AUKIA/AUKIA

The family-owned Aukia was established in 1956. Their store in Vaasa was opened in the 1960s and has in the past 15 years doubled its activities. But what are the growth prospects for specialized shops in general? It is worth the while to be an entrepreneur in Vaasa? We asked Kari Aukia, third-generation entrepreneur and in business since 1999, to tell what the consumers in Vaasa are really like.

The web vs. IRL

“Because of strong online shopping and increasing travel, the competition is actually no longer local. That is why companies that direct their efforts to the local consumer only are in a bit difficult situation if you think about growth. In my opinion, you should put your efforts in online shopping and in a strong concept that can also attract tourists. Continuous improvement is important in this business.”

The consumers in Vaasa

“Vaasa is an exceptional city on the Finnish scale. Even though the city is not that large, its inhabitants are relatively open-minded. Many of them have lived abroad and seen other things than just their home region. At the same time, they demand a high level of standard from companies, which in my opinion is a good thing. People in Vaasa also follow more closely than elsewhere in Finland what is going on in Sweden and favor brand names that are popular among the Swedes. This offers advantages for retail trade because people outside Vaasa see our selection of goods and different emphases in positive light.

Events

“I would recommend making best use of events and networks that market specialized shops as larger entities. Shopping Vaasa, for instance, brings in an excellent way together what Vaasa has to offer for tourists and occasional commuters. Rewell Storm, in turn, activates the consumers within the economic influence zone of Vaasa.”