How it all started: 1918-1928
On 6th June 1918 two cousins, Jarl and Walter Hedengren established a new enterprise, an electric shop registered as Aktiebolaget J. Hedengren & C:o Osakeyhtiö in the centre of Helsinki. The business concept was bold, “a full-service shop in the electrical field”. The first premises still exist.
Hedengren’s first shop was not big, only 52 square metres. One year after the foundation the staff consisted of 7 persons: the two owners, one shop assistant and four electricians.
The first shoals were fatal for the two owners and they were forced to give up their enterprise. On 20th March 1920 Einar Johansson, earlier office employee in an insurance company, bought the electric shop. The new owner and managing director kept the name Hedengren, which already had a good reputation.
Einar Johansson went in for large-scale advertising in the daily press and illustrated his business concept. The space for customer service was small, but properly organized it was possible to keep a wide range of products.
At the beginning of 1922 Hedengren took over an electromechanical repair shop. Einar Johansson had earlier used this repair shop for all repair works brought to him. The owner of the repair shop became a minority shareholder of Hedengren.
“Visit our shop today at 7.00 p.m. You will have the opportunity to listen to radio transmissions from Germany. ” This was the headline of an advertisement in the autumn of 1924. Hedengren had started assembling the most popular gadget of that time, i.e. the radio set. And the HEDE radio brand became history being the first radio produced in Finland. By then Hedengren had moved to larger premises, now 230 square metres, and when still 700 square metres were acquired in a back building in 1928 the space sufficed for some time ahead.
In 1926 the staff amounted to 37 persons, 22 of them electricians. To meet the new challenges, which for instance the growing number of motorcars entailed, import contracts were concluded, many of them lasting for more than 7 decades. Einar Johansson’s first own car was a 1926 model Ford Touring.