Gizem Salcigil White's journey into entrepreneurship began quite literally on the open road. Like any adventurous road trip, she encountered numerous obstacles, unexpected challenges, and unforeseen diversions along her path. However, armed with invaluable guidance from the Alexandria Small Business Development Center (SBDC), this passionate Turkish coffee aficionado and accomplished entrepreneur ultimately discovered the perfect location for her business, Turkish Coffee Lady, nestled within the heart of Old Town Alexandria.
Gizem fondly recalls, "It all began as a nonprofit cultural diplomacy project and a humble coffee truck."
Fueled by an unwavering desire to share the rich and distinct Turkish coffee culture with a global audience, Gizem embarked on an incredible journey, road-testing her innovative business concept by traversing the United States, Canada, and Europe, generously dispensing complimentary servings of Turkish coffee. Her ultimate vision was to establish a welcoming coffee haven, where diverse cultures could converge, and lifelong friendships could blossom.
"I aspired to unite people, one cup of coffee at a time," she emphasizes. "A Turkish coffee shop serves as the perfect backdrop for individuals to gather, share meaningful conversations over coffee, and forge connections—a vital need in our world today."