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Turkish Stocking Store Expands to Square

By Kerry M. Flynn, Crimson Staff Writer

Penti, a Turkish hosiery and lingerie company popular in Europe, entered the American market by opening its first store in Harvard Square at 9 JFK St.

Penti was founded in 1950 in Istanbul and has over 130 stores across Europe.

After seeing the high demand and popularity of the brand in Europe, Turkish investors Firat Emiroglu and Haluk Etel decided to bring the company to the United States.

“Our goal in the United States is to pinpoint 30 locations according to our interests and present our brand in the best way deserved,” Emiroglu wrote in an email.

Emiroglu and Etel already have selected five locations, including Boston and New York. They plan to open two more locations in Boston malls in 2012.

The investors chose to open their first U.S. location in Harvard Square due to the high international population in the area.

“What’s appealing about Harvard Square is the variety of people,” Emiroglu wrote. “Harvard being one of the best schools in the world results in attracting people from all over the world.”

The company manufactures and sells hosiery, lingerie, and bikinis in different styles and colors. Stocking prices range from $5.99 to $26.50 and vary from basic, neutral colors to rainbow-colored and patterned products.

Patterned stockings have been popular in Turkish fashion and have been worn on the runaway during Istanbul Fashion Week.

The store changes its product for the different seasons, offering bikinis in the summer and thicker stockings for the winter. The store has also catered its inventory to the community by stocking more medical socks in addition to offering products not found easily in the Square, such as knee-high and thigh-high stockings.

The store sells items for children and women and has a small men’s section with socks.

“We have a wide variety of merchandise suitable for people from any ages and style, which fits perfectly with [Harvard Square’s] diversity and international people,” Emiroglu wrote.

Online sales in the United States will begin in December at pentiusa.com. Emiroglu and Etel decided to open stores before launching the website to let American customers see and feel their products.

Although the new store has had to contend with prolonged construction on JFK St. since its opening, Penti has established a regular customer base, including international students at the College.

“Of course, [I’ll shop there],” said Ece Erdagoz ’14, who has shopped at the store in Turkey. “It’s something familiar just like any brand name.”

—Staff writer Kerry M. Flynn can be reached at kflynn@college.harvard.edu.

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