SA MÖBLER'S HISTORY
ONCE UPON A TIME
The founder of our business, Mr. Johannes Johansson was born on May the 26th in 1821 and already in 1850 he and his wife moved to the cottage Broholm. Where he found an additional income by making small chairs out of the small bits and pieces of wood he was allowed to have from the mansion Ruder under which they served. The children of the house had to help out by running the lathe by hand in the small house of two rooms and one kitchen. Finished chairs were sold on local fairs at Hjo, Skövde, Skara and many more. Response was great and his business could now grow greatly which was why he soon moved production and family to the larger house of Lillholmen. This still today is the same location for our business, though the property was significantly smaller but more than enough for family and production.
The owner family and the employees at the factory in 1896
Sometimes during the first half of the 1890 Johannes son in law Mr. Emanuel Andersson was allowed to succeed the business and it´s thanks to his accountancy we know the actual first year of the industrialized business, 1896. With firm grip Emanuel ran the business forward and already in 1896 they started to work in a new factory built only for carpentry purposes, right next to the cottage. His primary production was five-drawer-desks in oak but also regular furniture such as chest of drawers, beds, linen cabinets and dining room furniture. An interesting footnote is from his accounting in 1897 when a furniture dealer in Stockholm named CJ Johansson bought the entire yearly production. The purchase price was 1355 Swedish kronor which allowed the business to totally support five whole families.
A substantial investment in needed machinery was hard to make for one company which was why they started a collaboration with 3 other companies, Johan Andersson in Granelund, CG Johansson in Källsängen and Karl Fredrik Johansson at Nyelsborg. In the beginning the machinery was running on kerosene but later with electricity given from a water turbine in the nearby river Tidan. A change that created new discussion topics down in the village, especially when the farmers needed to run their threshers in the late summer and lack of volumes in electricity occurred. Much depends on lower amounts of running water in Tidan. The collaboration ran their machines with one electric engine and belt drive which in turn supplied the power all the way to 1931 when everything was changed to one engine one machine. Parallel to this they also built a new barn in 1915 in which livestock were held until 1932 when it was changed to a polish workshop.
The years went by and in time Emanuel decided it was time to hand over everything to the next generation which happened in 1937 when his son Samuel Andersson was left in charge. It’s also Samuels initials that you’ll still today can find in our company name, Samuel Andersson furniture. With a great respect for the craftsmanship and traditions from previous generations Samuel continued the chosen way of furniture making, but also made innovative addendums such as the choice of solid birch for the dining room furniture. At the same time the polishing workshop increased in importance so he made addition to increase greatly in size in 1939. But that was not enough, right after the war in 1947 another addition was made to the carpentry section which also got a basement in which they installed a separate boiler. The machine section received a machine to automatically apply veneer, brand Fjällman. Shortly after a band-finisher brand Bogesund from the town of Ulricehamn. Samuels sons inherited the business in 1959, Folke and Harald Almestål. At the same time they started the build of a brand new factory, this time of bricks, still here today though heavily modified. Another addendums and builds was made during 1968 and 1974 during a period where focus was on home furniture.
Kjell Hammar, our current owner and CEO bought the business in 1983. With annual sales of 7 million SEK and about 7 co-workers. Based upon previous experience Kjell changed the focus back to office furniture and other items towards the public areas. His first range of office furniture was Samba a creation back home in front of the TV and the world cup, soccer. A range that was greeted with open arms on the market thanks to it´s for its time creative and innovative solutions for a modern workstation.
With a great interest in technology and computer, Kjell early realized the risk for repetition strain injuries so already in 1978 out in the garage his first electrically height adjustable table was born. A table based upon windshield wiper-engines and sewer pipes. But that was way too early for a market that just began to hear about a new thing called computers. Still the repetition strain injuries occurred so in 1987 Kjell re-launched his vision of height adjustable tables in a subsidiary company SA Comfortable, today an integrated section of SA Möbler AB.
With credit given for his unique electric tables, sales skyrocketed and just as previous corporate managers in 1989 Kjell realized it was time to build an addendum to his facilities. In this case he more than doubled the area from 4000 square meters to 9000. With that improvement he also saw that he had room for a separate metal workshop as well as an upholsterer. Both sections are now key-elements in our business today. So by the time the build was completed the now so famous bank-crisis occurred in Sweden and the currency devaluation in its tracks. Something that set a new framework for furniture, low-budget range Konto was introduced which was sold in large volumes to schools, home offices and garages etc.
Next step forward was an integration of the functionality of the electrical tables according to the motto, work but not seen. Which landed the new range, the design line Snitsa® in 1998. A line that still today is the fastest in the business to assemble and has several innovative solutions. The concept was so successful that an executive version was launched 2002 under the name Snitsa XL. It got a stronger and stricter design with a slightly more international image. Right between these two faces SA once again grow out of its facilities and another build was started in 1999. In this case a new assembly section of 3000 square meters and a new showroom of about 1000 square meters. At the same time new investments in machinery was made, edge-processing line and a new machine to apply veneer, a cost of about 11 million SEK.
SA Möbler AB in year 2010
The continuous hunt for innovations created round and oval storage units with architect SIR Marie Påhlstam from Stockholm in 2003. The year after a tribute to the American 1950s was launched with Index designed by PINC, People Incorporated. To be able to explain the guiding lights of SA Möbler AB the arduous work of the ”Quality Office” concept began, a work that still today is in progress. Or as Kjell said it ”Quality Office is our know-how and experience in combination with commitment and innovation, which are shown in every furniture we deliver, everything we do”.
There after SA Möbler AB got more and more established as the supplier of innovative solutions to primary the business world all over Scandinavia. Among the exception that confirms that rule is the collaboration with professor Love Arbén when we created the range artur for Konstfack, The University of arts and crafts of Sweden.
With great joy we have seen our ranges extend and develop at the same time as new series have been unveiled, thanks to our existing cooperation’s with the elite of the Scandinavian and European designers. This has led to many honorable commitments to customers such as ICA, H&M, WHO, Björn Borg, MTVE, Trä & Möbelindustriförbundet among others. When the company during 2007 did field studies towards the international market at the furniture fair in Milan we had extremely good feedback. Swedish design and production is a high performer in the international competition.
This made the choice simple, SA Möbler AB has during the last years worked with key cities in Europe and are still developing ourselves as a Swedish interesting alternative for many Europeans. That is why we have developed a new series with our Italian design agency – Evoluzione that was released during 2016 and with high expectations.
SA Möbler AB has also established ourselves on the Chinese market in Shanghai where the reception has been truly positive, even if we still have many challenges, such as culture and core values. Even so, we are having high hopes for this region and we strongly believe this in the future will be our most important market for our company for many years ahead.
A globalized world awaits SA Möbler and our products, but we won’t forget our local markets. This is a truly exciting development that would have been hard to predict for Emanuel when he in the end of the 1900-century) went to the for him foreign markets in Skövde and Skara.
KJELL HAMMAR'S BACKGROUND
Kjell Hammar was born on the farm Assarby right outside of the municipality of Tibro where his father Göran was a farmer next to his mandate of chairman for Tibro. Early, he was introduced to the classic farm work, just as his siblings and he definitely preferred driving the tractors. But his interest in motorized objects did not stop there, in his spare time Kjell loved to work on mopeds and motorbikes. Many times he was seen driving around with his own homemade projects. Although his choice of vehicles was a car one Friday evening when he went to the county of Hjo with his friends to enjoy the weekend. To his great joy and pleasure, it was that evening when he met his future wife – Birgitta, a planned coincidence?
After his military service in the county Karlsborg Kjell chose to study at the University of Gothenburg – focused on economy. Unfortunately due to a sick period his studies there went to a halt, while recovering at home Kjell studied Information technology by mail. But as soon as he was well enough he moved on and started to sell cars in his hometown, a nice occupation which also contributed greatly to set up his own personal network of great contacts in the region.
Kjell’s next step forward in his career happened just before Christmas when he was out shopping for gifts. He met the owner of one of the larger companies in Tibro. He asked Kjell if he could join him on a quick trip to the office and take a peek at a computer they recently bought because he had heard that Kjell knew about this stuff and they needed someone to program and start it up. At the office Kjell quickly realized that of course he can start it up but that means they have to hire him. So that afternoon he came back home, not with Christmas gifts – instead a position as IT Manager.
A couple of years later, during a coffee break in 1982 Kjell heard about another company in Tibro that was up for sale and he quickly arranged a viewing the same evening. And after just some calls between banks and other stakeholders he became self-employed.
Kjell has always been able to maintain a god balance between work and leisure so while running his own business Kjell and Birgitta also renovated a nice house in a functionalism inspired design nearby the company. The house was an amazing setting for their three kids to grow up – Mathias, Niklas and PerOla. Together with his kids he spent several years riding dirt bikes. As the company evolved and benefitted of Kjell’s ingenuity (Electrically height adjustable tables) Kjell was able to buy a larger house, still nearby (Granelundsgatan) which also offered great opportunities to invite customers to their house etc. Later on Kjell was also appointed businessman of the year in the local town which Kjell accepted with great joy and gratitude.
So, even if the golf clubs are standing by at home, Kjell is still at his best at the company working with the upcoming questions regarding our entrance to the international market. With products and services, many times based upon his creativity and basic values from the great furniture traditions of Tibro, he is more than ready to lead the company into the future alongside with family and co-workers, because it is as he loves to remind us all of ”Together we’re unbeatable”.
BIRGITTA HAMMAR'S BACKGROUND
Birgitta Hammar is the youngest in a quite large host of siblings and grew up in the countryside in the county of Hjo, the farm Anderstorp. Even though she loved fun and games her favorite time was next to her parents, who always, no matter how busy they were, were able to find time for their kids. Next to her father, she learned a lot about farming and the animals and with her mother, the joys of the kitchen. But also the craftsmanship needed to work with textiles and weaving; a trade that soon went from a hobby, to a field of study during many years.
Soon she discovered an inclination and also a genuine interest in welfare and care. This resulted in an education in nursing and a special field of interest – psychiatry. A field of interest that Birgitta considers very rewarding – you’ll get a chance to do great things for your fellow man. She worked both in Hjo and Mariestad during several years.
During her spare time, she like many others went out and had a god time and one Friday evening, many years ago. She went to downtown Hjo where a friend pointed to a guy and said ”That guy over there is free, you can take him”. And that is how Birgitta and Kjell met. Is it a planned coincidence on the behalf of her friend?
As their kids was born, Birgitta committed to the local schools parents association as well as the Swedish allergy coalition to where she brought a lot common sense, reason and afterthought. She gave lectures at schools about the impact of allergies during the everyday life for children and what you could do to ease the symptoms.
Birgitta has always considered the nature and wildlife as a great source of joy and during a couple of years she even was one of the local leaders in ”Friluftsfrämjandet”, an organization dedicated to allowing kids while exploring learn about the nature and wildlife but also how we as humans is a part of everything.
Then later on, when their kids grew up, Birgitta took an even greater part of SA Möbler AB, at first at interior sales for the local region under the brand ”SA Design” which suited her perfectly because now again, her sense of color and design came to use. After a couple of years when the company invested in 3D-software, Birgitta began working with visualization and constructional drawings butt without renouncing the contact with customers as a sales representative but now working on a more national level. Her greatest pastime joy is besides her large flower garden and golfing, is joking around with the grandchildren. There’s a quote from King Harald of Norway that she loves to remind people of (rough translation) ”Grandkids is so divine, you can borrow them, spoil them and then give them back for repair”
But still she loves her work today as a project manager today, where she handles everything from quotes to order and drawings alongside with the after service. That she loves her job is obvious, especially if you ask our customers that with Birgitta finds, not only an inspiring job satisfaction, also knowledge and discipline – Birgitta can be trusted.
TIBRO - THE FURNITURE CENTRE OF SWEDEN
It’s in our blood, the ability to create inspiring furniture’s of high quality. For us sustainability and quality aren’t just beautiful marketing words, it’s a heritage from generations. It’s all about making furniture’s that will stand time and fill function, to make people comfortable and try to keep our mark on nature with respect and sustainability in focus.
That is why we after over hundred years still are located in Sweden’s leading furniture town, a heritage that not only commits but also gives good possibilities for future success for both town and company. Today there are a complete network here with everything needed for furniture production, from the finest raw materials to sub suppliers to internationally acknowledged companies that time after time sets a timeless Tibro-footprint in the world.
A footprint that shows that there are still today companies that are taking its responsibilities, not only for its local area, but for its total foot print. The same companies that still creates inspiring furniture’s that gives the users happiness when using them as well as making their life easier. The furniture’s are unique, they are from Tibro.