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  • Zaheen Chowdhury

Muslim-owned Memphis Businesses: 17 Berkshire

Overton Square is a vibrant, history-rich, authentic Memphis neighborhood. Located in Midtown, it houses some of the most entertaining and interesting destinations in the city. Tucked away in the back of Overton Square is a European inspired patisserie: 17 Berkshire. Their mission is to provide “a daily dose of luxury, something that leaves you feeling like you pampered yourself just a little bit, even in the chaos of a normal day,” describes owner, Nuha Abuduhair. The cafe and bakery provide a wide variety of baked pastries, coffee, and tea.

Abuduhair, a native Memphian, graduated from the University of Memphis's nursing program and worked as a Critical Care Pediatric nurse for a few years. After deciding to become a “stay at home mom,” Abuduhair pursued her hobby of baking. She says, “I was baking as a hobby and would post my amateur creations to my personal Instagram page. I was also baking cakes and other treats for friends whenever I'd go visit them and people started asking if I took orders.” After baking from her home kitchen for three years and developing a strong customer base, she opened her shop. Since June 2018, 17 Berkshire has been operating in Overton Square.

17 Berkshire is a place that can be distinguished easily. It has unique and creative desserts and a luxurious environment. Aside from that, 17 Berkshire has an “Afternoon Tea” program. Abuduhair created it to provide a “unique experience for patrons.” According to the 17 Berkshire website, Afternoon Tea is the best way to “catch up with an old friend” and for “celebrating a milestone or wanting to make memories with the kids.”

17 Berkshire is a successful company paired with a thriving shop, and when recounting what she feels most proud of, Abuduhair says, “My favorite accomplishment is building a diverse staff and uplifting other female entrepreneurs. The 17 Berkshire team is made up of a culturally diverse group of women, who are intelligent, kind, and funny. I make a point of collaborating with other female entrepreneurs, so that we can combine our talents and create something even greater.”

Last spring, because of the pandemic, 17 Berkshire closed temporarily due to concerns about maintaining the safety and health of staff and customers. Abuduhair expresses her thankfulness to the community in these unprecedented times as she says, “Each day/ hour is kind of a surprise. There used to be a rhythm and routine to business, but now that the majority of people are working from home or virtual learning, I guess no one really has a "typical" work day anymore. All in all, Alhamdulilah, we have received an outpouring of support by our community and for that we are forever grateful.”

When asked about the advice she would give to aspiring entrepreneurs and bakers, she says this: “The beauty of baking and pastry is that so much of it can be learned through trial and error in your own home. I, personally, don't have formal pastry education, but I had a love for it.” She also encourages all of us with this advice: “Just focus on one talent and see how you can maximize it.”


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