1.3. 2013 Kuukauden kasvo

Long days in a BioCity shop

After a break of many years, a new grocery shop has arrived in Turku Science Park. Having previously worked as a retailer in Tikanmaa district in Raisio, Satu Nurola opened K-market Biocity in late January. As a retailer she has to work long days, but the customers are happy with the new shop.

There used to be a Ruokavarasto shop on Tykistökatu street, at the western end of the BioCity building. After it closed, there was a long period with no grocery shop in Turku Science Park. After Ruokavarasto the premises were used by a computer technology outlet, and since it moved out the premises were vacant for some time.

“My husband works as a retailer in K-market Martinmylly and drives past here every day on his way to work. He started thinking about opening a new shop in the vacant space. It took well over a year from the initial idea to the opening of the shop”, says Satu Nurola, the retailer of the new K-market.

Satu has previously worked as retailer in Southwest Finland’s smallest K-market in Tikanmaa district in Raisio. She lives in Paimio, so changing the location of the shop shortened Satu’s way to work, but above all it offered new challenges.

“The Tikanmaa shop and this one are very different, and this is my second place on my retailer career. Although my parents were retailers and I worked in their shop as a student, after the commercial college I had a phase when I thought that I don’t want to follow in my parents’ footsteps.”

“After graduation I worked at international marketing in a veterinary medicine company, but six years ago an opportunity to start as a retailer pulled me into this career after all”, Satu Nurola says.

Customers range from students to pensioners

K-market Biocity is open till 9 p.m. every day. On weekdays the shop opens at seven in the morning, so those going to work at eight have time to pick up some packed lunch. In addition to herself, Satu employs seven people.

“Some of them followed me from Raisio, and some started in the new shop, but everyone has worked in retail business before.”

The customer base turned out to be as varied as expected: students, working people and pensioners living in the area, but only few families with children. The new blocks of flats rising at the edge of Kupittaanpuisto park will bring new customers in the future. With attention to those working in Turku Science Park, Satu’s shop offers a wide range of ready-to-eat foods. In the salad bar the customers can compile their own salad portions. During the spring there will be a grill e.g. for grilled chicken. Filled baguettes are also planned to be added to the product range.

“We aim to respond to the customers’ wishes. For example, organic food and gluten-free options are asked quite often. On the whole we have been well received, and we try to develop our product range and services on the basis of customer feedback.”

Working long hours

As an entrepreneur Satu often works around the clock and even longer. In the early phase of the business Satu has to be in the shop even more than usually. In addition to working, she is kept busy by training for the Specialist Qualification in Management which Satu is currently taking. As the shop opens at 7 a.m. it means that Satu’s working day starts at 5.30 a.m.

“First I have to switch on the ovens, so that there will be fresh bread and doughnuts for the customers when the shop opens. Salad bar also needs to be prepared, and the checkouts. I usually get home between six and eight in the evening, so when I leave there’s again plenty of room in the garage.”

Satu’s family comprises husband Jari-Pekka Pelkonen and children aged 12, 16, 19 and 22. It’s not easy for those of us used to regular office hours to understand how they manage to organise time together in a family of six with two retailers.

“We need to make arrangements to have leisure together with the whole family. Forgetting about work usually means going on a trip. If you try to have time off at home, it’s deceivingly easy ‘just to pop in quickly at work’.”

Satu did not have a summer holiday last summer, that’s when the employees have their holidays. She remembers taking a holiday in the autumn, though.

“At least I had a long weekend. I have to try to arrange one for next summer, too”, she ponders.

Satu Nurola

• Born in Turku in 1966.
• Vocational Qualification in Business and Administration (marketing and foreign trade). In addition e.g. vocational degrees in financial administration and entrepreneurship, and Kesko’s retailer training. She is currently taking Specialist Qualification in Management.
• Opened K-market Biocity in January 2013.
• Worked previously as K-market retailer in Tikanmaa district in Raisio.
• Married to Jari-Pekka Pelkonen, retailer of K-market Martinmylly.