The history of Yöpuu and Pöllöwaari
In 1928 goldsmith Jaakko Emil Vehmas had a stately stone building constructed. Mauno Forselius designed and built it. Today the same building stands on the corner of Yliopistonkatu and Kansakoulukatu and is better known as Hotel Yöpuu and Restaurant Pöllöwaari.
Originally Mauno Forselius had drawn three windows on the right side of the building, instead of the current four: there was room in the lot, so the drawings were altered in the last minute. Forselius had reserved the ground floor for business premises and to distinguish it from the rest of the building, he used a profiled batten and rougher plastering. For the facade, Forselius chose simple, classic ornaments.
The building has hosted hotel guests from very early on, as one of the former residents ran a bed and breakfast. There have also been numerous business premises in the building. In 1987 the heirs of Jaakko Emil Vehmas sold the building to Sinivuori Group's Kerrostyö Company, who added another building on the lot. Hotel Yöpuu took its first steps when a married couple, Esa and Sirkku Arola, leased the premises from Kerrostyö to set up their own business. They remodeled the building to be used as a hotel and a restaurant, and after overcoming a series of obstacles, they finally opened the hotel in August 1988. The hotel Yöpuu and restaurant Pöllöwaari was greeted with open arms. The clientele included the management of both the university and the city from the very beginning, as the Arolas invested in high quality.
In 1992 the recession made the Arolas give up their business, and a second entrepreneur, Heli Rajamäki, took charge of the hotel. Rajamäki also ran a travelling agency and had travelled the world, staying in a great variety of hotels. In taking over Yöpuu, she could draw on her personal experiences. In the end, ageing made her want to focus on running her travelling agency, so she decided to sell the hotel and restaurant.
In 2006 the business was sold to Katriina Pilppula and her husband, Ari Pärnänen. With the new couple in charge, the business idea of the hotel restaurant was further refined. Yöpuu became, first and foremost, a Finnish business for international customers. The new direction inspired the creation of the Alvar Aalto and Marimekko rooms.
Today, Yöpuu and Pöllöwaari keep alive the same values and traditions the hotel restaurant has always cherished. The business remains independently owned. In 2016 Yöpuu Yhtiö Oy was created: it includes Hotel and Bar Verso in the city centre of Jyväskylä.