Rinteenkulma opened its doors on November 6 2008. Find more information about the shopping center and the Rinne shopkeeper family.
It started with a backpack, a sled and a shopkeeper
Over a hundred years ago, when the family of Rinne was starting out their trading activities in northern Finland, the world was a different place. Finland had yet to declare its independence and many advances were still hiding under the surface. During those times, the products weren’t moved by cars or through the skies but instead in a backpack or in a sled pulled by horses. While a lot has changed, some things have remained the same: a customer is respected the same way whether they are in the wilderness or a shopping center. The first ever steady shop by the Rinne family was opened in Rovaniemi in 1907.
The Rinne family are long-time shopkeepers, whose growth and development have followed the phases of Finland. Northern Finland was living in a self-sufficient economy for quite some time, but with the stabilization of the monetary economy, industrialization and prosperity, the retail supply has become more and more diverse. At heart, the Rinne family are rural shopkeepers, whose business focus started to shift towards Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, only in the 1970’s.
Most of the family’s shops had been born and disappeared from other towns along with the economy. Shops were set up densely, for example, in the savoyards, because for a long time the countryside was a cash-poor area. The lesser known side of the Rinne family’s businesses was their work with cars. Did you know that the family had one of the oldest traffic licenses in Lapland? It was acquired in the year 1926 – the same year that Suomen Yleisradio was created! Cars, transportation of goods and bus transportation are a part of the family’s story, but merely as a side track.
From wilderness to the city
The family’s business activities at the current location of Rinteenkulma date back to 1983 when Lihakunta’s property was transferred to their ownership. Renovating the wartime slaughterhouse to be a business wasn’t an easy task, and plenty of people pondered the rationality of the entire project. But the Rinne family believed that the building of the Jätkänkynttilä Bridge would improve their location’s worth – and they were right. At its best, the shop had over a hundred people renovating it, mainly just the tenants and their families.
During the opening day of the facility, Kesko contacted the family with the idea of building a modern business building at the location – a suggestion that the workers would have loved to hear half a year before. Besides this, the negotiations to rent the location started and nine months later they managed to put black on white: start building the new Citymarket with a 20-year-rental contract. Everything was done by 1986 and, as a cherry on top, the Rinne Cafe was opened at the location.
“It’s time to sell goods,” the Rinne’s often says. The reuse of goods is a trademark of the family – have you, for example, come across the sign of the old Rinne cafe at the entrance to Rinteenkulma?”
The recession years were also difficult times for the family. As supermarkets accessible by car became more common and the appeal of Rovaniemi’s city center faded, the Rinne family expanded its operations to trucks and invested, among other things, in store cash register systems. Livelihood was obtained where possible. But as the Finnish saying goes: there is always sun after the rain. As the economic outlook improved, the Rinne family brought an old project back into development, a deck built over road no. 4. – a project that the city already had stopped once in the early 90’s. Surprisingly, the biggest push for the project was given by a local monster who plays metal music.
The Eurovision winner Lordi wanted to open their own restaurant and at Rinteenkulma’s location there was space for it. “If Finland hadn’t won Eurovision, the Rinne family would not have a shopping center either”, the manager Pekka Rinne pointed out. When the Kukkola companies started building the Revontuli shopping center next door, the moment was also right to renew Rinteenkulma’s operations. The opening of the fresh-looking Rinteenkulma was celebrated on November 6, 2008. Since then, the locals of Rovaniemi and domestic and foreign tourists have been able to enjoy services that promote locality and versatility.
What’s in the future?
Besides the Rinteenkulma shopping center, the Rinne family still owns two K-Market’s which have kept the family attached to their roots as shopkeepers. But what does the future look like? The world we live in is ever changing, but even a quick look into the history of the family proves that they are not strangers to change. The shopping center’s mission is clear: to keep up with times, expand the service selection and be a crucial part of the daily enjoyment for the residents of Rovaniemi. What does the next chapter of the Rinne family’s life say? It is currently being written – welcome to shopping!