Turkish pastry shop opens in University District

Business owner excited to share products with students and community members

The store offers many products for sale.
Photo: 
A new business opened at the end of October at the intersection of Division and Earl St., offering students and community members traditional Turkish delights. 
 
The business is named “Marjana” and menu items include imported pastries from Turkey that are hard to come by in the local Kingston market. Signature items on the menu include baklava, a Mediterranean pastry that includes cloves, lemon, and honey, all layered within Phyllo dough. 
 
Fresh, daily baked savoury items such as Turkish pizza and feta and spinach baked goods are available for purchase along with sweet dishes.
 
Marjana’s owner, Ala Abdullah, is originally from the South of Iraq, but has lived in Canada for almost 20 years. Many of his staff come from diverse backgrounds including Turkey and Syria. 
 
For Abdullah, starting his business in the heart of the University District and close to campus gives him the opportunity to engage with the local community, which includes students.
 
“We had the opportunity to get this location and I am thinking this will work. We are trying to make it work, and we will add more,” Abdullah said in an interview with The Journal
 
Understanding Marjana’s local market and target audience of students is very important to Abdullah. He said they will be listening to students and seeing what they can serve based on student demand.
 
The foot traffic in the area is something Abdullah wishes to engage with, by providing a welcoming atmosphere in the shop. The store features warm colours, and displays of intricate, tasty, pastries line the counters. 
 
In the corner, Angel, the shop’s African Grey Parrot, sometimes makes an appearance—keeping customers engaged and livening up the atmosphere. 
 
For many students who come from countries where a lot of traditional Turkish pastries have been adopted, Marjana offers itself as a taste of home in Kingston. Abdullah said the business and product is for everyone to try and explore. 
 
“Students like the product. A lot of students from different nationalities come, and they like the product. We try to do very high quality,” Abdullah said. 
 
Abdullah said a challenge in starting any new business is getting people into the store. He said people are starting to know about Marjana, and the store will be increasing their online presence through app delivery soon. 
 
Abdullah’s favourite product at Marjana is the “muscle” baklava, joking that it makes your muscles bigger. The baklava is filled with pistachio, and various assortment of fillings. 
 
When asked if he had a message for students, Abdullah asked them to come in. “Come in for a sample, come in to see the store.”
 

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