95 years of family business adventure - Olaussen is a lifestyle!

The fourth generation runs it and the fifth generation works there. 95 years ago, Martin Olaussen established the family company Olaussens Metall. Back then it was a small foundry, and today the company has an annual turnover of around SEK 50 million.


- "It's not just a workplace. Olaussens Metall is a way of life for us," says Kjell Sternhoff, who today owns and runs the local success story.

He is the fourth generation and is joined by his brother Trond and son Christoffer.

- It's nice to have your family with you - even here at work," smiles Kjell.

Get started

The adventure started in 1928. When Martin Olaussen established Olaussens Metall. His son Edgar then took over, and in 1965 it was Edgar's nephew and Martin's grandson, Egil Sternhoff, who took over as boss.

- "My dad worked a lot, which I remember well from my childhood. That's also why I said I'd never take over," says Kjell with a laugh.

Kjell's mother, Gerd, who was married to Egil from a young age, remembers well the early days when her husband took over responsibility for the family business.

- When we got together in 1962, he was an apprentice. At that time, they operated in Strandgata, where Naustet Spiseri is located today. There were seven employees and conditions were miserable. They didn't even have their own toilet in the building," she says.

A few years after Egil had taken over, they started looking for new premises - and ended up in Ørpetveitvegen in Raglamyr.

- There was originally a chicken coop there - with 2,000 chickens. It was quite a job to clear them away to prepare the site. It felt like we were digging in cement. Wedid it by hand and I was there," says Gerd Sternhoff.

The development

The building that was first erected in Ørpetveitvegen in the late 1960s looks quite different today. As operations changed and technology developed, so did the need for more space.

- The first extension was added in 1990, then the next in 2000 and the last in 2010. "The land we bought in 1968 was 600 square meters, and today we have 14 acres," says Kjell.

With development, new initiatives, commitment, optimism and courage, Kjell and the talented team at Olaussen have established themselves as one of the most stable and profitable family businesses in the region.

- It's been an adventure - and it only continues," says Kjell Sternhoff.

He is praised by his mother Gerd, who believes that today's Olaussens Metall is very different from the foundry in the "old days".

- Olaussens Metall has always been well run. We joined the offshore adventure in the 1970s and gradually it became increasingly important to build and maintain relationships. But when our three sons became more involved in the business from the 1990s, it was time to think outside the box. They've been good at that, and Kjell is doing a fantastic job as manager. He's generous and inclusive, he thinks ahead and dares to invest," says Gerd.

A team victory

Today, Olaussens Metall encompasses trade and import and has its own machining department. Their main area is still bronze, and Olaussen boasts the largest bronze warehouse in Norway! But they also supply continuous cast iron and produce various anodes.

There are around 20 employees, and Kjell is constantly focusing on attracting young up-and-comers.

- I think we need to take care of young people and give them a chance. I'm simply proud when some of our apprentices get their certificates approved. Seeing how much mastery means, gives something back, I'm touched," says Kjell Sternhoff.

The Olaussen boss also praises the rest of his staff, who work hard every single day. Today, he is very happy that he did the exact opposite of what he "promised himself" as a young man.

- I ended up here in 1990 and haven't regretted it for a single second," he nods.

Two strong ladies

Gerd and Kjell agree that the Olaussens Metall family project would never have been the same if the focus on good relationships had not been so strong.

- The import of goods started in the 1980s, when we made our first contacts in Germany, followed by countries such as England and France. We invited suppliers to visit us at home, we hosted them and I showed them Haugalandet. I also traveled a lot to visit them," says Gerd.

- We still have some of our suppliers from Germany. Good relationships are the most important thing, and a lot of the credit goes to my mother. She's always been there and played a very important part of the job. In addition, she took care of us three crazy sons," praises Kjell, adding that his wife, Anita, deserves the same credit.

- The two strong ladies there have a lot to do with the success of Olaussens Metall," he says.

Today, it's in the backbone of Olaussens Metall; taking care of good relationships. You shouldn't just hand over something and be done with the job.

- We take care of our suppliers and customers. It's important to work together. We take pride in this and say, as we always do, that miracles happen immediately, the impossible just takes a little longer.

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