The First Turkish Shopping Mall in the US

Mehmet Bilici at Istikbal Showroom
A new shopping mall in the United States will bring together many Turkish companies from various sectors in one place. The project has been planned since 1999, and the proposed shopping mall will have a 35,000 square foot Istikbal furniture showroom, as well as nearly ten different Turkish stores and companies in the food, textile, souvenirs and medical/law categories.
According to the project manager, Mehmet Bilici, the shopping mall, which is named Turkish Mall, is 100,000 square feet in size and will be opened soon. It is planned to be located in an area that is highly populated by Turks as well as various European ethnic groups. “Istikbal stores are visited not only by Turkish people, but also Europeans (Polish, Ukraine, Albanian), Russian and Middle Eastern (Arab, Jewish, Assyrian) customers. Therefore, other entrepreneurs at the shopping mall can benefit from our potential customers and we are happy to provide them this opportunity,” said Bilici. He said it would be convenient for customers to find all the Turkish stores they needed in one place. He said currently Istikbal products were sold at almost one thousand sales points in the United States.  He answered some of TURKOFAMERICA’s questions.

Can you give us a brief history of Istikbal in the US?
We first introduced Istikbal products to American consumers in 1999 through a partly retail network. In 2001, Sunset company and Istikbal brand came together for a serious, professional and modern distribution network in the US. Istikbal first presented its living room arrangements and couches to American consumers. Soon the Turkish couch, known as ‘Click Clack’ in the US, replaced the American futon.  

ImageAre you distributing your products through your own store or using other distribution channels?
Our products are sold online through the biggest retail outlets in the US, such as  Walmart, Target, and JCPenny. Therefore we rely on them for distribution.

In how many different sales points can Istikbal be found in the US?
You can find Istikbal products in more than one thousand different points in the US, from Miami to Boston, Chicago (Illinois) to California. Additionally, in Clifton, New Jersey where there is a big Turkish community, we have a 35,000 sq. ft. store and serve our consumers the richest collection of Istikbal products. Finally, everyone in the US can use our website, In Paterson, New Jersey we have another company called Sunset International that manages the wholesale operations in a 20,000 square meter warehouse and office building. From this point, we distribute to seven states, mainly New York and New Jersey, through our transportation facilities. Our two main selling lines are “Next Day Delivery” and “Customer Satisfaction is the Biggest Value”.

Can you talk more about your target group and their consumption patterns?
This is the most important issue we are dealing with right now. The United States is a huge country and densely populated. The majority of the population is composed of ‘White Americans’, which is not a homogenous group in taste and shopping patterns. Additionally, the consumption behavior of Americans is completely different than that of Europeans and Turks. Unlike Turkish taste, Americans prefer bigger, more comfortable, softer and more highly designed products. Therefore it is critical to analyze the market and define the right needs of the consumers. In a market with various preferences on the consumer side, it is important to offer different colors and designs customized to different habits to stay competitive.

Can you tell us more about your new investment in Clifton?
In this shopping mall, located in the busiest street of Clifton and Paterson, where Main Avenue and Number 46 highway intersect, we offer consumers every Istikbal product that can be found in Turkey. We are also renovating the building to create a ‘Turkish Mall’ in which Turkish companies can start their businesses in food, restaurants, textiles, etc. The shopping mall can include almost ten stores in its 100,000 square foot space. Once it is launched, the project will offer employment opportunities for 50-100 people. To learn more about the shopping mall project, please call 201-315-0646 or 973-772-8500 or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What should be expected in the US furniture sector in 2010 in the aftermath of the crisis?
Since mid-2007, we have seen the most severe economic crisis of the last 30 years. Although its visible impact was in the real estate and finance sectors, the furniture sector was affected as well. Following the crisis, Americans’ consumption habits were transformed and the Consumer Confidence Index dropped dramatically. Therefore, consumers started spending more carefully. Instead of luxury products, there is an emerging tendency to prefer functional products that can be bought on sale.

What is your future objective in the US market?
Despite the economic crisis, the US is the biggest exporter in the world. In fifteen years, the population is estimated to be four hundred million and there is an established consumption culture. Therefore it is an important market for us. Now that we are more familiar with that market, we plan to produce the right products to meet consumer needs, thereby increasing our market share. 

What is your advice for survival in a highly competitive market?
In the US, 80% of durable consumer products are exported mainly from China because of its lower costs. Therefore the market is very competitive because it is very easy to see cheap copies of your products on the market. However, the quality cannot be copied, and we constantly renovate our products, so we managed to survive in the market. Additionally, the key to success and healthy growth is to have a good, professional and qualified group of people who are keen on teamwork. Moreover, it is critical to adapt to changing conditions in the market following the crisis. To increase efficiency and to minimize cost are key elements in survival.
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07