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Beanz coffee shop in Charlottetown sold after more than 21 years

Beanz staff member Duncan Brooks, left, serves up a cup of coffee to the Charlottetown shop’s new co-owner, Kaan Ulkan on Monday.
Beanz staff member Duncan Brooks, left, serves up a cup of coffee to the Charlottetown shop’s new co-owner, Kaan Ulkan on Monday.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - When Lori Kays and Doug Hurry started Beanz Espresso Bar & Café in Charlottetown in 1995, they didn’t realize how much the place would come to mean to them.

New coffee shop owners Kaan and Gursal Ulkan, left, share a cup of coffee with former owners, Lori Kays and Doug Hurry at Beanz Espresso Bar & Café in Charlottetown after the café was sold last week. Trevor Pharoah, right, stays on as the manager as do all staff members.

"When we first opened up, young kids would come in and hang out here. Now they’re all grown up with jobs and families and they’re bringing their kids in. So it was more than serving coffee, it was about making connections, making friends and extended family,” says Kays, sipping a cup of coffee.
Along with meeting new friends, they were putting in long hours every day and so the café quickly became their home away from home.
“It was an extension of our kitchen and our living room,” says Hurry.
Now, almost 22 years later, the couple is experiencing a flood of memories as they sell their beloved business.
“People have met here and gotten married. I’ve gotten to hold all the new babies when they’ve come in. My kids have worked here. Then there’s the staff, there must have been hundreds. Then there’s the staff that have worked here and come back again. It’s overwhelming when I think back,” says Kays, of the café that was sold last week.
Their reasons for selling are family-related. Their children have grown and are now living in cities across the country.
“We want to be able to spend more time with them. We’ve got another new grandbaby coming in June in British Columbia so that will make four grand kids in B.C.,” says Kays.
Hurry also looks forward to exploring new hobbies in his free time.
“It will allow us to do something that we like to do like travel and maybe some volunteer work that I’ve never had the time to do before.”
Like runners, the couple has come to the end of their segment in a long distance relay race.
And, instead of passing a baton, they are passing the coffee cup to the new owners of the coffee shop, Kaan and Gursal Ulkan, new Canadians from Turkey.
“It’s going to be a smooth transition. Part of the reason is Doug and Lori are going to be staying a while to help us out,” says Kaan.
He likes what the previous owners have done with the café.
“They didn’t get into franchising. They built their own brand against their strong competitors.”
Because of their work, he plans to keep the same standards.
“Everything will remain the same. We will have the same name, same staff, same quality of service and same quality product.”

scole@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/SallyForth57

Up close and personal with Kaan Ulkan
• He moved to P.E.I. with his family in 2014. He is a Canadian citizen, originally from Istanbul, Turkey.
•It’s been a dream to run a coffee shop.
•He is an introvert and a shy person. “People who don’t know me think I’m a snob but I’m not. I like meeting new people. I just have trouble starting a conversation.”
•He lives in the Brighton area.
•He plans to walk to work.
•He is a fully trained seaman who has worked on ships all over the world.

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