The story of Shopping Village Raitti started with the idea and vision of Kalajoki Hiekkasärkät sand dunes resident Vesa Somero. One September afternoon he was driving around Hiekkasärkät sand dunes, exploring the environment, when he came to the realization that whilst the area had some facilities, there were others that it was missing. Kalajoki’s Hiekkasärkät sand dunes area is known as a maritime tourism hub, particularly in the summer, and it seemed to be lacking the kind of commercial premises for shops and the different services shops offer that are found in all tourism hubs, serving tourists, passers by and locals.
Contact with city officials led to a public procurement process for the plot. This started an interesting design phase with Oulu-based architect Juha Paldanius.
For such a central and visible location, the City of Kalajoki wanted something that was not only visually impressive but also that fitted in with the environment.
"The story of Shopping Village Raitti started with the idea and vision of Kalajoki Hiekkasärkät sand dunes resident Vesa Somero."
A modern, memorable and enjoyable shopping village
At the end of the procurement process, Kalajoki City Board approved the plans and the business plot was reserved for the company Rakennusliike Somero Oy. This was the start of an interesting and eventful journey to make the vision for Shopping Village Raitti into a reality.
Raitti had to be a modern, memorable and enjoyable shopping village that stood out in a positive way, serving customers – locals, passers by on national road 8, and visitors to Kalajoki tourism centre – and providing a wide variety of options, all with friendly service in a memorable and enjoyable environment. Raitti also had to be a meeting point that would be a natural choice for people looking for somewhere to visit.
Kalajoki’s Hiekkasärkät sand dunes
There are many stories explaining the formation of the Hiekkasärkät sand dunes in Kalajoki. As far back as the 1890s, the gentry were taking excursions to the sands and sandbanks, claiming Herrainpakat as their camp site. Later on, the sand banks also became a destination for ordinary people, with Tuomipakat – named after the bird cherry trees, ‘tuomi’ in Finnish, that are abundant in the area – one such choice. People invariably came to see the blossoming of the bird cherries in the early summer, as well as to enjoy the white nights of Midsummer on the sand banks.
The first tourism company in the Hiekkasärkät sand dunes area was a small refreshment kiosk established by Oskari Kärjä’s heirs, in a valley between the Tuomipakat and Herrainpakat sandbanks. The kiosk opened in the 1920s. Ever since then, Hiekkasärkät sand dunes have been a popular excursion and sunbathing destination, with visitors coming from far and wide.
In 1931 the first hotel opened in the area – Hilman hotelli – hosting big names from the worlds of art, sports, politics, and literature, to name just a few. They would spend several weeks at Mrs Hilma Pahikkala’s boarding house.
Tourism has been a part of Kalajoki since the town’s early days, with significant development since the 1960s. This development continues today, within the framework of Kalajoki’s tourism growth programme. Shopping Village Raitti at Hiekkasärkät sand dunes will complement the range of services available by offering locals, visitors to the Kalajoki tourism area, and passers by on national road 8 an outstanding meeting place and service hub with a diverse range of commercial services.