Christchurch Muslim baker: the rising star of the city’s Riverside Market
- Articles, Blog

Christchurch Muslim baker: the rising star of the city’s Riverside Market

Turkish Baker Pinar Bozkurt has fast become
the rising star in Christchurch’s Riverside Market. But before the market opened earlier this
month, she was a struggling solo mother preparing to close down her baking business. It’s so hard paying the bills as a single
mum. I was getting so sick. It was so bad, too much stress. I can’t handle it. It’s not much income to keep going. So before Riverside I said, no I have to shut
down. I can’t keep going like that. When the Riverside come, so I said to myself
– I’m 42, let’s try now. If it is work, work. If it doesn’t work, I promise myself and promise
my kids – never cook again! But the market’s developers managed to talk
her into coming on board – and on the first day of business, her stall went gangbusters. I have no idea, it’s more than 60-70 kilos
of Turkish delight for that day. By the end of the day on your very first day
of business, you had sold almost 70 kilos of Turkish delights? Yep. Incredible and what about your baklava? Baklava got 10 trays. Which is 90 pieces in one tray. So yeah. 900 pieces of baklava sold on the very first
market day – and she sold out well before the market even closed at 6pm In fact, she’s sold out every day since. It was crazy, crazy. It was so busy. It’s feel so good! I said to myself. Yes, I done it! Pinar has overcome some difficult circumstances
to achieve the success she’s now experiencing. About a year and a half go, her and her husband
separated and she says she lost all confidence. As a baker/owner we were partners and work
together also. So when he left, I said to myself ‘No I can’t
do it by myself. Shut down the business, maybe find another
job. Every night I sleep and I said to myself and
God, ‘Please God don’t take my house, I can keep going to save my kids. Just save my kids. I can help them more. She says she had just a few dollars in her
bank account to start her life over. Six dollars in the account and I have to pay
$1500 next week the rent. But I call my landlord and I talk to him and
he said ‘Don’t worry about it Pinar, I know you. If you get it, you’ll pay me. I know that. So, take your time, when you’re ready, you
can pay. So after 3 weeks, gets normal. Every month, I can pay normal. So thanks God. She says she has many angels who have helped
her along the way. I have Angels which her name is Angela, she
has a stall as well. She helps me a lot. She push me a lot
She next to me always, ‘What you want Pinar, we’ll do it.’ And here I am, I have logo, I have pictures,
I have Menu and I’m serving now. Angela is a neighbouring stallholder who was
too shy to talk to us on camera, but she told us she helped Pinar with the re-branding of
her business ‘Izmir Delights’ – the design and printing of her logo, pictures for her
menu and more. Pinar says Angela is among several people
who reached out to help her at no cost. Even my builders didn’t take any money from
the start. He said to me, ‘No we’ll do it and when you’re
right, when you have time – you can pay for it. Which is very helpful for me. Otherwise, I can’t start. I can’t start. Pinar also says the Riverside developers Mike
Percasky, Richard Peebles and Kris Inglis also pitched in to help. I think all of us here at Riverside really
saw that Pinar really was a lovely lady and she’s got a great product and we all throughout
the team, you know just supported her, encouraged her to take this step into doing this and
yeah we’re all stoked with the way it’s all turned out. That’s Kris Inglis one of Pinar’s so-called
angels. We’ve actually got the guys working later
tonight, just installing the instruction system for her so she can get up and cooking the
gozelmays we’ve helped her but we can’t take too much credit for where she’s at at the
minute. Kris says they’d hoped the market would revive
the CBD but they’ve been blown away by its success and Pinar’s stall which has been a
hit. Incredible. The first couple of weeks we were just blown
away by the amount of people who came to the market, she just had queues of people wanting
turkish delights…the amount of sales she’s done is pretty incredible. So good on her. Obviously under the circumstances of this
year, you know – as they say – we are one. And we’re just pleased to help someone like
Pinar get to where she has. And while everyone is celebrating Pinar’s
success, no one is happier than her own children. My mum, oh. I love my mum. She’s probably the most hard-working woman
I’ve ever seen. She’s just looked after us for so long. I’ve actually moved out now and she’s still
looking after me. She’s beautiful inside and out. Makes me tear up. She’s just the most hardworking person ever
and I wanna be her like in every way. That’s Neb (I say Zeb – but it’s actually
Neb!!), one of Pinar’s daughters who helps out at the stall. Neb says her mum is up at 5am every morning
preparing for the day, and when she leaves the market around 4:30pm, she goes straight
to the bakery to start baking for the next day. Neb says her mum works 7 days a week and often
doesn’t get home until 10:30pm at night. Pinar says she couldn’t have done it alone. I have three beautiful kids and they all helping
me a lot. My son helping me, when he finishing school,
he ring me and says, what do you need Mum. And I give him the list, he goes to wholesaler
grab my everything, what I needed and leave it in the bakery. She’s obviously just the strongest woman I’ve
ever known. It’s just been like my sisters and my brothers
and my inspiration and like it’s just been really nice to see her overcome so many obstacles
and like this whole entire thing. She was so scared to do this, she was like
‘What if it doesn’t work out? What if this happens? What if that happens?’ But we were also just like ‘Mum, let’s do
it. We’re all in this together.’ But yeah, I’m just really proud of her. I’m so proud of them. So proud of them. Without of them, I can’t go. They are my motivation and always they say
– you can do it mum, you can do it mum.” I love my kids. I love them. I love them so much.

About Earl Carter

Read All Posts By Earl Carter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *