Sauna Honeymoon

The first Sauna was brought to America by Finns who settled in the commonwealth of Delaware over 360 years ago. However, it wasn’t until the early 1960s that a few manufacturers began promoting the Sauna to the American public. At that time, Reino Tarkiainen, a young Finn who had come to Astoria, Oregon, at the age of 15, had a dream to promote the authentic Sauna of his homeland. After studying master carpentry, architectural design, and mechanical engineering in college, he gained the necessary background to pursue his dream. In early 1964, his Finnish pride was outraged when he encountered an imported imitation product at the local Portland Home Show that was advertised as a “Sauna” when it was actually intended to be a basement dryer. Reino said, “It was an insult to me and all Finns!” He enlisted the help of his fiancee, a Norwegian-Swedish schoolteacher named Marilyn. They agreed to spend their honeymoon driving back from their North Dakota wedding, checking out some of the Sauna heater manufacturers they had corresponded with. In California, they found a product manufactured by a small Finnish-American firm, and they decided to distribute it under the name Continental Sauna. They made their first sale in November of 1964. Business was slow, as they sold only 6 Saunas during their first year, so they both held their full-time jobs until a solid foundation was developed (about 3 years later). Education was the essential ingredient of marketing in the early years. Few Americans had heard of the word “Sauna”- even fewer knew what it was all about. Even spas and hot tubs had not been promoted at this time. Recalling their first local home show in 1965 Reino said, “People would come by our booth and ask if our Sauna heater was a new type of barbecue grill.”

With hard work and perseverance, their home-based business prospered. Marilyn assumed the managerial duties while Reino manufactured Sauna rooms in the small metal building next to their house and installed them in the local area. Reino has personally built over 7000 custom Saunas in the Portland area market. Two children-Tanja Rae, born in 1968, and Terri Reino, born in 1972-took their first saunas when they were 1 month old. They grew up with the Sauna as part of their lives, and they were given home and business-related duties as soon as they were old enough to assume them. Both Tanja and Terri joined the business full-time after college. By that time the business had grown from a regional business to a national manufacturing and marketing firm. Tanja’s husband, Tim, joined the company just after they were married. An office-warehouse facility was acquired in the commercial-industrial area of Portland. They have added land and buildings three different times, until the present Finlandia Business Park was completed in 1995, with 55,000 sq. ft. of office-warehouse space. It is the largest privately-owned Sauna manufacturing facility in the U.S. Through it all Reino and Marilyn have remained true to their mission-Finlandia Sauna Products still promotes, manufactures, and markets the True Finnish Sauna; and quality of product and workmanship is still their trademark. SAUNA IS NOT JUST A PART OF OUR BUSINESS, IT IS OUR ONLY BUSINESS! Reino and Marilyn are still involved full-time in the business. Reino says, “My Finnish Sisu (guts, stubbornness, and determination) has kept me going. My accent hasn’t hurt either.” Marilyn interjects, “Our honeymoon with the Finnish Sauna is still going strong.”