‘The community is very supportive’: Meet the owner of Marna, Kingston’s latest café

By Oliver Monk

19th May 2024 | Local News

Owner Burcu Bodur outside Marna, Kingston’s latest specialty coffee shop. (Photo: Oliver Monk)
Owner Burcu Bodur outside Marna, Kingston’s latest specialty coffee shop. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

A new specialty coffee shop has opened in Kingston town centre.

Marna, located on the corner of Old London Road across from the now-closed Wilko, is the latest addition to the town centre's growing specialty coffee scene.

Owner Burcu Bodur – who goes by Jenny outside her native Turkey – says she sees the shop as her passion project, rather than a business.

Ms Bodur says "the community has been very supportive" of the new café, with excited locals knocking on the door even before the shop's opening on 27 April.

The owner herself says she loves being in her shop, adding: "I've been here from open to close since we opened."

'I've been here from open to close since we opened,' says Ms Bodur. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

She credits part of Marna's early success to her time spent working at Feeka, another specialty coffee shop located near Surbiton Station, describing owner Fredrik as a mentor.

The ex-digital marketer of 12 years shared how her decision to open a coffee shop was a response to feeling unfulfilled in her job, explaining the shift simply: "I love coffee and I love people."

"I don't want a single person to leave this shop unhappy," she added.

The shop reflects this personal approach, with a homely interior that feels half Nordic design magazine, half living room; even its name, Latin for 'from the sea', harkens back to Ms Bodur's homeland.

"Turkey is surrounded by three seas, and I as a Turkish person am [still] surrounded by three seas," she says.

The café first opened on 27 April 2024. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Marna is also the Greek name for her father's hometown, who Ms Bodur says "almost had a heart attack" when she told him about her career change.

"He was a bit shocked when I told him, I had to convince him," she says.

The name Marna became symbolic of her relationship Ms Bodur has with her father; 

"I could rub it in his face and make him happy, make him proud," says the owner, smiling.

Ms Bodur wants her shop to provide an accessible space for locals to hold small events and workshops. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

What's next for Marna? Ms Bodur says she wants to start using the space for workshops after-hours, hosting events like yoga sessions, exhibitions for local artists, and ceramics classes.

She says: "It's not my intention to expand, which might sound funny [...] for now, I'm more focused on being happy and feeling fulfilled [and] making friends with people who come in."

Marna is open between 7:30am to 5pm on weekdays, 8am to 6pm on Saturdays, and 8am to 5pm on Sundays.

The shop is located on the corner of Old London Road in Kingston town centre. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

     

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