Military Equipment from Slavonski Brod Conquering Europe

Total Croatia News

A former Norwegian soldier opened a military hardware factory in Slavonski Brod.

“I had an excellent opportunity in Croatia, and I did not want to miss it. The people with whom I worked in the military were interested in something I did previously as a hobby, and that is how it all started,” says Haavard Johannessen from Norway, who left his homeland almost two decades ago to participate in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, reports Večernji List on August 15, 2017.

After completing his military service, he came to Slavonski Brod in 2004, where he got married. Although he officially left the army, he was still tied to it. He recognised that his opportunity for a business success was to open the Combatkit company for manufacturing military equipment. He used design skills inherited from his mother and started working.

“I am fighting for my business, and I am always creating new products. Orders are not large, but they are coming. I like this job, and I have found myself in it,” says Johannessen. In his small plant, the Norwegian produces uniforms, bags, backpacks, boots, t-shirts, protective vests and other parts of military equipment, everything except the weapons.

More than 90 percent of his production is exported to the EU and Norway, and he recently started selling in the United States as well. His products are designed by soldiers for soldiers.

“First, I put all the equipment on myself and wear it to the forest during all four seasons to check its quality and durability, and then I send it to buyers for further testing. If they do not like some of the details, I adapt the products according to their wishes. Such business practice is common everywhere in the world, except in Croatia,” he says, adding that life in Croatia is far different than in Norway. When he came here, he was shocked that everything was still being done on papers and that no one ever used computers. Whenever he would try to give a suggestion, there would be no reply. Today he feels much better because he has gotten used to it.

“People are good, and they have helped my family and me when it was needed, but every time I would try to help someone, I would receive a slap on my face. Now I know how life works here. I have realised that I should not interfere with anything and that it is best to stay home and enjoy being with my wife and children,” concludes Johannessen.

Translated from Večernji List.


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