WIKY was set up on 24 September 1991 as a Dutch-Czech enterprise with its seat in Kyjov, by Mr Josef Kouřil and his foreign partners from the Netherlands. They discovered Mr Kouřil in April 1991 at his shop VEGA, which was the very first shop to be located at the House of Culture in Kyjov after the revolution. They found him to be a likeable and trustworthy person and within a few months tens of truckloads of miscellaneous goods, including toys, were imported by both parties together to the Czech Republic. As the owner himself puts it: “We were meant to meet. Until today, I still haven’t understood how I could, in such a short time, earn their complete trust, thanks to which I could later build what is now a successful company of about 260 employees.”
At the beginning, WIKY had 8 employees and its first warehouse was at the Kyjov airport. In only three months’ time it made an astounding profit of 76 million CZK. Due to a low number of competitors and high demand, WIKY could continue expanding in the following years.
In February 1992, the company bought warehouse premises in Kyjov and within a few months a new seat of its business was established. The opening ceremony of the new head office was held on 9 May 1993, in a Moravian style, i.e. including cimbalom music and refreshments.
In April 1993, the independent company WIKY Slovakia was formed under the management of Mr Jozef Šteffek, who is also its successful director today.
In 1996, WIKY entered into cooperation with the first chain stores. One of the first chain stores was, for instance, Tesco.
WIKY was an instant success; therefore, Mr Josef Kouřil was able to buy the Dutch share in 1997 at which point WIKY became a purely Czech company, and it has been so ever since.
In the same year, the Prague branch in Průhonice was opened, including a warehouse. Later on, the warehouse was relocated to Kyjov and what remained in Prague was a wholesale showroom.
In 1998, the first retail shops were opened. In the following 20 years we opened more than 80 stores, some of which had to be closed. We currently run nearly 60 shops almost across the whole country.
Since 1999, we have extended our product range by introducing stationery and school supplies, which has turned out to be a good move.