The 1990’s: Recession and new sweets
The 45-year long career of Börje Brunberg had come to an end. He had modernized the factory and multiplied production.
In 1991 Börje Brunberg retired. A new managing director was appointed, Ph.D. Raimo Keskinen, who was manager of the company until 1997. Börje Brunberg had devoted his time and energy to developing the factory and he continued as chairman of the board. He was always at hand to give advice and support.
The 90’s was a decade of recession and the upswing of the 80’s was a thing of the past. In June of 1991, Finland was said to be the most expensive country in the world and unemployment figures reached new heights. A wave of bankruptcy and financial crisis swept over the country.
In his speech in 1993, the president of Finland, Mauno Koivisto, said: “Our economic problems are so huge that we cannot cling to the benefits we have achieved. We will have to forsake a lot of what we have grown used to”.
In Brunberg’s annual profit and loss statement the recession was not obvious until in the middle of the decade. Profitability was good, even though production numbers fell somewhat.
As to sales, the factory reverted to the system of representatives, an efficient sales network for the products. The company also started exporting sweets to Norway. Tax-free sales had been the only previous type of export.
In 1995 Finland joined the European Union, which increased imports. The competition was hard and sales of the Brunberg products slowed down somewhat due to the excise duties Finnish business owners had to pay until the year 2000. However, Brunberg kept its established position in the Finnish market.
In 1997, Lennart Brunberg’s grandchild, Börje’s son, Tom Brunberg, took over the management of the company.
As a child, Tom Brunberg used to run around and play in the halls of the factory. Like his father, he was interested in technology and studied Master of Engineering at Otaniemi Technical University. After graduating, he worked at Nokia for a period, until his father asked him to return to Porvoo. He never regretted his decision to take over the management of Brunberg, it was an interesting and rewarding position.
The new shop in Old Porvoo
In 1997 Brunberg opened a new shop in Old Porvoo – only a stone’s throw away from the location of A.W. Lindfors’ first sweets shop some 100 years earlier.
The shop in Old Porvoo soon proved to be a popular tourist attraction. Shelves laden with kisses, truffles, caramel toffee, handmade marmalade and much more meet the customer.
New products and new markets
In the 1990’s, Brunberg focused on adding flavours to existing products. To the creamy Alku caramel candies, five new flavours were added: liquorice, fruit, chocolate, cinnamon and lemon liquorice. This considerably increased the production share of the Alku candies.
Additionally, special products, such as sugar free chocolate, were added to the product line towards the end of the 90’s.
At the end of the decade, the sales of Brunberg products had reached the same level as at the beginning of the decade.
The company had survived the economic recession.