H.W.Larsen is an old, familiar name in Copenhagen’s meat packing district. We have been here since 1934, and we continue to expand our business.
Henry Werner Larsen and his wife started the business in 1934, their sons Regner and Steen took over in 1960 and in the year 2000 the third generation, Bo Larsen, took the post as Managing Director.
Today the shop takes up 500 m2, with office space in a separate building and a large warehouse in Copenhagen’s suburbs.
Through time and expansions, our purpose has remained the same: Delivering the best possible tools for all professional and amateur chefs, who share our love of good food, and great craftsmanship.
The first years
In 1934 Henry Werner returned home to Denmark, after spending time abroad as a travelling craftsman (in Danish: Naver), and decided to set up shop with his fiancée Kristine. They borrowed the money from his father, and rented a small shop and workshop space in Copenhagen’s meat packing district. They bought a single engine to run the sharpening tools, and a few items to put on the shelves in the shop.
They married 6 days after the shop’s opening, and a year later their first child was born. Not having any employees meant, that Kristine had to bring her babies to work – and they would be in the backyard in their stroller, while she herself was busy in the shop. Meanwhile, Henry Werner took care of the workshop, where he built, maintained and repaired tools for butchers and chefs. When he had time to spare, he built an enormous knife – 1,5 meter long – to use as an eye-catcher. Unfortunately this knife has been lost over time, but other memorabilia are on display in our office building’s meeting rooms.
The Great War made life difficult for everyone everywhere, but through their ingenuity and skill, H.W. and Kristine still managed to grow their business. The difficulties in importing foreign goods, and the meat supply shortage meant a decrease in sales and sharpening jobs, but in return, repairs and maintenance took up more time, since people had to keep their old tools in good condition. Also, starting production of some of their own goods in cooperation with H.W.’s Naver friend, Wilhelm Lipka, helped increase the sale.
The company grew steadily, so after the war, the first sales assistant was hired, and the company started doing advertising campaigns, visiting butchers and hardware stores in other parts of the country. Henrik Werner even expanded his storage to include a small basement on a nearby street.
Ingenuity through time
From the very beginning, we have always sought to give our customers the best tools possible.
H.W. built his own special machinery to better sharpen mincer plates and knives, he patented a new closing mechanism for ham molds and manufactured them in a more hygienic material as well as improve the parts of a popular brine injector to prevent it from leaving air pockets in the meat. He even created a specialized stamping machine to produce a more hygienic fat drain system in the 1950’s.
Today we continue this tradition, and in 2015 we released our new knife brand: SENJEN. Designed by us, and manufactured by our trusted partner.
Next generation takes over
In 1961, the two oldest sons, Regner and Steen, started working full time in the family business after learning the trade as apprentices in both other Danish companies and abroad. At the same time, a larger location had become available on the other side of the road, so the entire shop moved to where it is located today. This more than doubled the size of the company, so there was room for a much wider range of products in the shop, and specialized machinery in the workshop. Unfortunately, the new location also required a number of repairs and fixes before it was ready to present to the customers. When it opened in November 1961, Regner managed the shop and and Steen managed the workshop which was now located on the first floor.
In 1966 the two sons obtained equal share with their father in the company, and even though he was able to retire as soon as 1972, he stayed active in the business well into the 1980’s. In 1972, the first H.W.Larsen catalogue was published and sent to 6.000 butchers all over Denmark. The catalogues made the company known throughout the country, and many new customers started coming. Due to the continuous business growth, the company became a limited company, with a stock value of 300.000 DKK in 1981.
Over the following decades, the workshop, shop and product range continued to expand, adding more machinery and services to the workshop, delivery of purchased and sharpened items, expanded storage in basements near the shop, and even a computer! In the mid-1990’s, a lunch room and shower facilities were added for workshop employees – the first expansion of the actual shop area since 1961.
Third generation of Larsen’s
Bo Larsen started working full time in his father and uncle’s company in 1999, and took the chair as Managing Director of H.W.Larsen & Sons, ltd in January 1st, 2000. Both Regner and Steen stopped working later in the same year.
Bo soon began expanding the shop itself, first by tripling the size of the ground floor, and then by expanding even more on the first floor in 2004.
January 1st, 2000 Bo took over H.W.Larsen & Sons, ltd and Both Regner and Steen stopped working later in the same year.
Since then , H.W.Larsen has continued to grow, and in 2007 larger storage facilities were established in Copenhagen’s suburbs to meet the increased requirements.
The latest expansion happened in 2014, where the entire administrative staff were moved out of the shop’s first floor and in to newly rented rooms in another part of the meat packing district – only 150 meters from the shop itself.