Alderwood Mall Evicts Turkish Cafe That Fought Starbucks ‘Exclusivity’

LYNNWOOD — After a failed attempt to move the Kismet Turkish Cafe & Bakery kiosk away from a Starbucks mall in Alderwood, Brookfield Properties on Thursday ordered the business to vacate the mall altogether.

Kismet owners Janette Burk and Timur Keskinturk must leave their location and return their keys by the end of Tuesday. The couple have been fighting to keep their gazebo in the center courtyard of the Alderwood Shopping Center over the past month.

“As we have explained to you previously, staying in your current location is not an option, so unfortunately your decision not to move leaves Alderwood no choice but to terminate your license agreement,” reads an eviction letter.

The owners thought the move could put them out of business, as they feared they could not afford the move – to move outside the mall, remain closed during the transition, retain customers and invest in new space.

The letter says Brookfield Properties has offered Kismet owners 30 days to move out as ordered, 25 days longer than their required agreement. The letter noted that after the owners pushed back the initial move to the food court, mall management offered the owners an “alternative location with several attractive features” and to “pay the cost of rebuilding in your new location”.

The Brookfield Properties letter continues: “We believe Kismet could have succeeded – and even grown – in one of the new locations. … We are disappointed that you did not share this assessment and therefore refused to move.

Kismet has been serving Turkish coffee and pastries like spinach and feta “borek” and baklava since 2019. It was the couple’s first venture together.

Burk still asks why they were told they had to move.

Burk and Keskinturk told the Daily Herald they believe Starbucks – which operates a kiosk next to Kismet – was a key reason for the move order.

In an email late last year that the couple passed on to the Herald, a manager at Alderwood Shopping Center wrote to the couple: ‘I believe our team has let you know you need to remove the latte signage . Foreign signage is not permitted. Also, you are not allowed to sell lattes from your kiosk. It’s not in your terms of use. Starbucks has sent us a notice that you are violating their exclusivity. We have experienced this over and over again. You must remove the signage immediately and stop selling flavored lattes. Failure to do so will terminate your license agreement. We can no longer tolerate this. »

Under their licensing agreement, the couple were prohibited from selling espresso-based drinks and ground or whole-bean coffee by weight. The owners argued that slats were not included in this list of prohibited products. The manager replied that he could sell Turkish “lattes”, but he could not display latte signs.

“It’s an example of hard-working, successful people, but corporations are going to stifle that for their own profit and gain,” Burk told the Herald on Thursday.

Starbucks denied any involvement in the decision to move Kismet, stating, “The decision and request to move Kismet to a different area of ​​the mall came directly from Brookfield Properties, and at no time did Starbucks assert the right to move or compel Brookfield. Properties to move Kismet’s activity.

Last week, Burk and Keskinturk took to social media, posting “Kismet against Starbucks” on Kismet’s Facebook page and urging followers to sign a petition against the movement on Change.org. Since they posted it last week, the petition has garnered over 5,000 signatures.

Burk said she doesn’t know if they will reopen.

“I can’t answer that right now, I just can’t,” Burk said between client services. “It’s just a lot. I really don’t want to shut it down. I really don’t know. Really, really don’t.

Taylor Goebel: 425-339-3046; [email protected]; Twitter: @TaylorGoebel.