KahviKaveri is the brand-new Helsinki branch of an international coffee and coffee equipment store. The company has already spread around the Baltic countries and Poland and is on its way to expanding across Europe. Its strategy is to enter new markets as a webstore, acquaint itself with the business culture of the country, and then set up a brick-and-mortar store.
The company’s name means the same thing regardless of the country and language: Coffee Pal. It is the place to go for coffee lovers, as it offers over 50 varieties of coffee beans and a selection of more than 200 coffee machines. Founded in Lithuania in 2010, it has already spread to Latvia, Estonia, Poland, and now Finland under the name KahviKaveri. The company has a very practical growth strategy: when entering a new country, it first launches a webstore to establish and crystalize its processes and to find partners.
“Starting with a webstore is a good way to get our feet warm before the sprint. Business culture and processes vary slightly in different countries, and running a webstore helps us understand the market and feel its pulse. Most importantly though, a webstore allows us to raise brand awareness, which will later generate traffic to our physical store. The combination of a webstore and a physical store is important for success in today’s market,” says CEO Tanel Kalmo from KahviKaveri.
Finnish coffee culture attracted the company to Helsinki
In the process of expanding across the Baltic countries, the company became intrigued by Finland’s coffee culture. Finns drink about 10 kilograms of coffee per capita in a year, which is more than in any other country in the world.
“Coffee culture has strong roots in Finland. As in other countries, our plan was to start with a webstore and then launch a physical store. The process is never easy, as you need to understand both the local business culture as well as cultural traditions. But we find Finland a very welcoming country and are excited to strengthen its coffee traditions,” Kalmo says.
The Finnish KahviKaveri webstore launched in 2015. In May 2017, KahviKaveri opened a brick-and-mortar store in Töölö, Helsinki.
“We received a great deal of help from Helsinki Business Hub when setting up our physical store. They guided us in the various processes of establishing a business, introduced us to potential partners, and helped us make sensible decisions. Finland is a great place for business.”
Carving a niche
The consumer market can often be very competitive. KahviKaveri is still doing research to find out, which products will be most popular in Finland.
“Research is important because it is a challenge to carve our own niche in the market. At the moment, we feature a very wide selection of coffee machines in our store to find out what interests our customers and to offer them the best possible experience. A wide selection and our expert sales staff help customers understand the differences between coffee machines and choose one that best suits their needs. Excellent customer service is a central part of our business,” Tanel Kalmo says.
KahviKaveri and the company’s other local branches in the Baltic countries and in Poland now employ a total of over 50 people. The company’s plans for Finland are still under development but its large-scale aspirations are clear. It intends to become the Coffee Pal of all Europeans by establishing webstores and physical stores all over the continent.
Text: Anu Jussila