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Ahti Huvila’s customers have been happy with the speed and reliability of Matkahuolto’s deliveries

Ahti Huvila has served as hunters’ trusted partner for 70 years

This hunting shop of long standing, located in a village in southern Ostrobothnia, is generating an annual revenue of almost EUR 3.5 million. Ahti Huvila sells hunting and camping equipment and maintains in-house stocks of the products.

Matkahuolto partnered with the Ahti Huvila online store in 2015

“Our customers have been extremely pleased with Matkahuolto’s locker terminals and extensive network of pick-up points. Most of the feedback received is positive. For gun deliveries, we use the ‘To be collected in person’ service, which has worked to our full satisfaction. We’ve been very happy with the speed and reliability of Matkahuolto’s deliveries. We also use ADR transports,” says Olli-Pekka Ojajärvi.

“It’s easy to agree with what Olli-Pekka is saying. Although we’re practically the only parcel service for the delivery of high-security items to consumers in Finland, our cooperation has also been expanding nicely to include other products. Working with Olli-Pekka, Pekka and Seija has always been uncomplicated and constructive,” says Matkahuolto’s Key Account Manager Joonas Peura.

To be quite honest, the village of Soini is off the beaten track, somewhere between Viitasaari and Seinäjoki, with a population of 2000. It is, therefore, a little surprising to find one of Finland’s largest and best-known hunting shops located along the quiet main street. The business was founded by Olli-Pekka Ojajärvi’s grandfather, who set up a village shop in Soini. It offered a wide range of products, which was subsequently expanded to include hunting equipment. Mrs Seija Ojajärvi says that her father Ahti started with a grocery shop some 7 kilometres from the village centre.

Right from the start, Ahti Huvila wanted to do things differently

He understood that the low number of people living in the vicinity was not enough to support volume sales. It was necessary to expand the customer base to include the whole of Finland, and so he started mail-order sales of firearms as early as the 1960s. At that time, the only other company engaged in mail-order sales was Anttila, a large department store based in Tampere. It is safe to say that the foundation on which the company stands today was laid by Ahti Huvila in the 1960s. Initially, Ahti Huvila posted classified ads in newspapers with nationwide circulation. They only included long lists of firearms complete with prices. And as the price-setting was successful, the business took off.

“In the early days, my mother used to take the moped and drive to the village centre to send customers the parcels packaged by my father,” Seija Ojajärvi laughs. Even then Ahti Huvila understood that it was necessary to have the products in stock in order to be able to dispatch them quickly.

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Firearms were included in the product range from the early days

Over the decades, Ahti Huvila’s product range varied to the extent that groceries had to make way to other products. At one point, he sold household appliances. In 1984, the shop was relocated to the village centre.About ten years ago, Seija and Pekka Ojajärvi, who had acquired the company in the early 1990s, decided to focus entirely on firearms and other hunting equipment. “When the firearms laws were tightened as a result of the deplorable school shootings that took place at the time, we wondered for a moment whether it had been a mistake to concentrate on guns. But since it was mainly the provisions on hand guns that were made stricter and we didn’t sell many hand guns anyway, we got off with a scare,” Pekka Ojajärvi recalls.

”Currently, about 60 per cent of Ahti Huvila’s revenue comes from online sales with brick-and-mortar sales accounting for about 40 per cent. Even people living in neighbouring municipalities place their orders online. In the past, they used to come to Soini to do their shopping,” Olli-Pekka says with a smile. “But in summer the ratio is 50-50,” his father points out. The friendly and cheerful members of this family of entrepreneurs smile a lot and engage in affable humour. Seija Ojajärvi says that she is in charge of administration and number crunching.

Ahti Huvila is basically still the same shop as in the 1960s

Classified ads have since been replaced by the online store. While large stocks tie up a lot of capital, it is essential to have the traded goods readily at hand either in the warehouse or on the shelves. Once Ahti Huvila receives the customer’s purchase permit, the customer gets the firearm on the following day,” Pekka Ojajärvi says.

Footfall in the brick-and-mortar shop is also high, even though Soini is way off the beaten track. Still, random shoppers and passers-by are rarely seen in the large, stylish and well-equipped shop.

“People make it their business to come here all the way from Oulu and Helsinki. And the reason is that the products we offer online are also available on location,” says Managing Director Olli-Pekka Ojajärvi, Pekka and Seija Ojajärvi’s son – and Ahti Huvila’s grandson. The third-generation firearm dealer is, among other things, responsible for online sales, which the company has been engaged in since the early 1990s.

His father Pekka Ojajärvi, in turn, is responsible for shop management. “Competition between us is tough, but my son tends to come out ahead,” Pekka chuckles.

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Ahti Huvila Logo (002)