Many travellers begin their holiday in K-Supermarket Levi, more commonly known as Levi-Market. Riikka Syväjärvi, a member of the shopkeeper family, describes how the shop successfully serves customers of all nationalities during all seasons. And that is no small operation.
“The cornerstones of our work are a smile, warm customer service and the fact that we know Levi inside and out. I’m sure that we guide tourists just as much as the tourist information does: we give them directions to their place of accommodation or find services for them. It can get busy in the winter, but the aisles seem wider when you’ve managed to create a good customer experience.
We know what types of customers visit us at different times of the year, what products they want and what volumes are enough to meet the demand. We also do a lot more anticipating than a normal grocery; we plan six months ahead based on the on and off seasons. People who come here don’t need to worry about finding everything they need – that's our job.
In addition to the wholesaler of Kesko, we have hundreds of suppliers. At Christmas, we usually have everything from elf hats to caviar, insane amounts of salmon and all the Christmas treats that the Finns, the Russians and the British enjoy.
When people come to admire the autumn foliage, we stock up on thermos flasks, sausage roasting sticks, umbrellas and disposable raincoats. During Levi Outdoor Fest, we sell hydration packs, energy gels and all sorts of proteins.
We also have many goods in stock that do not fit in our shelves. If you’re looking for something, you should always ask; we might actually have it.”
How customers transform the shop
“I’m part of a shopkeeper family. My husband’s mother is still the official shopkeeper, but gradually the responsibilities will shift to us and my husband’s brother. We’re in this together and pretty passionate about it too.
The shop has always grown and evolved with Levi. We now became the first grocery in Finland to launch a cab app service, where local cab drivers deliver goods by order of the customer.
Another speciality is our service counter, Herkkutori, where you can find fresh fish, meats, salads and barbecue products. When the COVID-19 crisis was at its worst and restaurants were closed, we started thinking about our oven here. We ended up organizing six pizza weekends, selling piles of pizzas to an empty village.
No two days are alike here. During a normal season, we have a lot of customers coming in from morning to evening, but as soon as I step outside the door, I’m at peace. You can enjoy any hobby in Levi, and this environment and our spirit of solidarity makes this a great place to be and live.
The whole village has taken it upon itself to make sure that visitors want to return again and again. You can send us feedback and wishes on the website of the shop, in Facebook or Instagram, or tell us what's on your mind between the shelves. We’re more than happy to make wishes come true.”