The Colonel, the Peacock and the Bullerobong team bid farewell
In the 230+ years that the Armfelt family has dwelt at Wiurila, my three years has been just a short tick of time. It has been a hectic, challenging, eventful time – but also thankfully purposeful!
I came to Wiurila in the end of 2016 to help out the owner and my relative, who was struggling to find anyone to continue the restaurant business after the previous tenant had left. Being part of the Armfelt family, I saw it as a duty to contribute to the family heritage and take responsibility when few others did. Since then, my team has worked hard to make Wiurila a prominent visitor center, to create awareness among potential visitors, to modernise the interiors, and to fill the old stable buildings with life again. We have served and hosted numerous parties, business events, group visits, dining experiences, and concerts, and we have kept the demanding daily restaurant activities going during the summer months.
The road has been tough and cumbersome. So far, I have personally funded all the development work, the branding and marketing, the interior upgrade and styling, and the service development. All the investments have been necessary to bring Wiurila to a level where it would have a chance to succeed long-term.
The original plan was a long-term plan. I knew from the beginning that this business was very difficult to make work. At the same time, I saw a lot of potential in the place, providing there would be collaboration and joint development efforts. I was aiming for an elementary business that would cover its costs and make it possible for us to welcome people at Wiurila to experience the great buildings, learn about the family history, celebrate special moments, and sense the heritage connected to the place.
Business-wise positive things have been achieved – Wiurila has been put on the map as a destination for a wide group of people with different interests, the positive reputation has grown and the strong demand already for next year is evident. However, due to the many limitations of the buildings, the short season, a lack of cooperation on-site, and the competitive restaurant activities, we have been struggling to even reach minimum profitability. We still could have worked around these things to continue the business. But the true roadblock has been the disproportionately high rent to pay.
Despite numerous attempts during the past 12 months to negotiate more realistic conditions, we have not been able to reach an agreement with the owner. I and my partners have brought many options to the table, as our intention and wish has been to find a solution where the work we have started would be continued. Unfortunately, we have failed. Hence, our last 50 days at Wiurila start today.
I want to thank all our wonderful customers who have visited us during the last 3 years. I especially cherish the happy moments when we have been able to contribute to someone’s special day, or delight someone when they least expect it. We have aimed to serve our customers well. I am also thankful to my team who has created the wonderfully warm and cheerful service approach the place has become known for. Your efforts and hard work are amazing, and I am grateful beyond words. Finally, I am grateful to the oldest generation in the Armfelt family who have been involved and supportive, and acted as helpful marketers through the whole journey.
Count August Armfelt’s grandson’s granddaughter
Bullerobong ceased management of Wiurila on December 31, 2019
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