Kotilaakso is over 70 years old family company. Operations began in the 1940s in the village of Sotkia in the municipality of Kylmäkoski, where Yrjö Laaksonen returned from the war and started wondering about his future. He decided to set up a brush factory, to be called Yrjö Laaksonen’s Brushbinding. Operations started up in 1947, when in the backyard of Laaksonen’s home in Sotkia village brushbinding got under way. The operation expanded, and little by little more workers were recruited. At its peak the personnel numbered 28.
By 1983, Yrjö Laaksonen had reached retirement age and was ready to give up his enterprise. As there was no family member available to continue the work, Yrjö sold his company to Pekka Kouvo. Sales and administration were transferred with the Kouvos to the city of Tampere, but the warehouse and production facilities continued in Sotkia. A change was made in the form of the company when in the 1980s became a share company under the name of Laaksosen Harjatehdas Oy.
Pekka Kouvo and his wife, Ritva, set up another company in 1988, Euro-Center Oy, concentrating on imports of other domestic supplies including household goods and interior decorating supplies. Thus two legally separate companies operated with virtually the same personnel and on the same premises, deriving the benefits of synergy. The Kouvos already had experience of importing, and in the 1980s a conscious effort was made to develop this further. The company’s machinery was renewed and new warehousing facilities were built. The next generation began to be involved in operations in the 1980s and all the Kouvos’ children have at some point been in the employ of the business.
Spring 2006 saw the second change of ownership in the company’s history, this time a handover to the next generation. Janne Kouvo, the son of Pekka and Ritva, assumed control of the company which also acquired a new name, Kotilaakso Oy. This name is more descriptive of the nature of the business, which is much more than industrial manufacturing. At the beginning of October 2007, the most recent event in the change of generations came when the two companies were formally fused, with Euro-Center Oy selling its entire stock to Kotilaakso.
Today, products for domestic cleaning and storage and those for interior decoration and minor repairs are all under one roof. Now in the new millennium and mindful of the current demands and expectations, Kotilaakso Oy serves every Finnish home.