Turkish Café the Lokum Factory’s story has been inspirational. As the café opens its second town centre location in a year we look back on their success to date.
Lokum Factory started as a market stall in Portsmouth city centre in 2019. By the middle of that year the business had expanded, and the council supported them to move into Cascades Shopping Centre, the perfect location for a coffee once you have finished your shopping.
Owner Aycan Firat says: “The help we got from the council was amazing. They supported us in growing our business, and identified the opportunity for us to make the move into Cascades, meaning we had a permanent base for our business for the first time.”
Cllr Ben Dowling, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, says: “We’re always on the lookout for exciting businesses like The Lokum Factory who offer something unique and original and have space to grow. They are one of the success stories for the whole economic development team, who have supported them every step of the way.”
The company was the first occupant of a new food court area in Cascades, designed to encourage shoppers in and put the available space to good use. They started out trading from a branded trailer in a busy section of the mall selling Turkish delight, Turkish coffee and offering samples to establish their brand. Cascades worked with them to help them transition to a custom-made kiosk with a dedicated seating area to help them stand out. Having seats inside in front of the kiosk and outside in front of the shop has been extremely helpful to Lokum on rainy days and the sunny ones too.
Since Lokum opened their kiosk, Cascades have experienced an increase in interest in the food court. Lokum Factory expanded their offer in 2020, by selling a range of lunch options, packaged tea and coffee, and deserts. Some of their popular products include antep peanuts, almonds, as well as Turkish delight.
The business has now opened a second café on Commercial road next to NatWest bank, creating new job opportunities and an extra dining option for city centre shoppers. Currently the Lokum have three part time employees but are hoping to hire more next season when it gets busier.
Aycan says: “The council has been so supportive with our new shop, helping us with the outside seating as well as our amazing new sign!”
The new shop has a selection of fresh warm savoury food in contrast to the kiosk’s fresh desserts, coffees and teas. In the future Lokum would like to launch a special Turkish wrap and a Turkish breakfast.
Soon The Lokum Factory will be in partnership with Deliveroo and they are also partnering with Too Good to Go, a food saving app designed to cut down on unnecessary waste.
Aycan adds: “In the future we would like to expand further into areas such as Gunwharf Quays and even London. We’d also like to grow as a coffee business, increasing our range of coffee. We’d love to hire some new staff in the future and build the Lokum team.”
The company sells goods online at www.thelokumfactory.com