The history of the 100-year-old company has a wide range of twists and turns. Where has everything started, and how has today been built? Get to know the Finnish success story in the timeline below!
Nowadays, Wahlstén has two factories in Lahti – Horse and Dog Equipment factory and a Pet Food factory. In the summer of 2018, Wahlstén bought Rahulan Rehu Oy’s dog food factory, and in the future, there will be further focus on dog products. Wahlstén’s sewing professionals in Jokimaa continue to produce high-quality W-Profile products. Wahlstén has added various dog products in the collection, developed together with dog enthusiasts to get the best possible result. W-Profile has been awarded the Key Flag Symbol as recognition of Finnish work and quality, being the only horse and dog equipment collection in Finland with this symbol. Riina Haikonen is currently the Managing Director of the company. Ensio Wahlstén still lives in Lahti and is doing well.
In 2017 Velj. Wahlsten was the biggest company in the Nordic countries selling and importing riding and trotting equipment. Exports accounted for 40% of the total turnover. The main export countries were Sweden and France, but other European countries and Russia and the United States also played an important role. When it became clear in the autumn of 2016 that the children of Anne and Jukka Santonen were not interested in continuing the company, it was time to think about the future of the company. There was no hurry to sell, and it was known that the selling process could take years. It was important for the siblings that the family tradition continues and that the workers of the company could continue in the company. They started defining the value of Wahlstén and potential sales channels. Markku Wahlstén saw an article in the newspaper of WestStar Oy and contacted the CEO Heikki Savolainen. The letter of intent was signed in the spring of 2017 and the final acquisition was concluded on 14 August 2017. WestStar Oy is a growing company from Lahti, and the company wanted to commit itself to developing Wahlstén. Old values remained, new owners arrived.
The beginning of the 21st century was a period of strong growth, and Wahlstén was particularly involved in exports, wholesale and product development. A special milestone was when the daughter of the veterinarian Antero Tupamäki, Riikka Lehtonen, contacted the company and inquired about hand-made riding equipment. Wahlstén was known for its hand-made trotting equipment, and Lehtonen hoped for the same quality in riding equipment. This was the beginning of the W-Profile product line. The first W-Profile products were developed together with Lehtonen. The series has grown and diversified year after year, and the product family has evolved according to the customers’ wishes. As Wahlstén’s people found other high-quality products, items such as supplementary nutrition, blankets and other equine supplies were added to the product range. In 2012, Velj. Wahlsten was elected the regional enterprise of the year.