Since the turn of the century, K-pop has grown exponentially in popularity thanks to the efforts of South Korea’s plan to expand their culture and increase its popularity outside of their country through Hallyu or the Korean Wave. Although K-pop started to rise in popularity during its early years, it would be the second generation of K-pop acts to really push it to the forefront, especially back in 2009 which is considered the best year in K-pop history.
Through the power of social media and cross-promotions with other parts of Hallyu, such as travel and television, K-pop acts or its individual members are becoming household names not just in South Korea but internationally. A lot of foreign countries, mostly Asian and a lot of first-world countries, have kept up with supply and demand pertaining to K-pop. However, there is one first-world country that seems to be “behind” in providing for its K-pop fan base. Believe it or not, it is the United States.
That, however, is changing. We now have KCON USA in both Los Angeles and New York City. Many K-pop acts are including U.S. locations as part of their international tours starting with Rain, who has two shows in New York City during his “Rainy Day 2005 Tour.” But what about K-pop official merchandise? True, we have music applications like iTunes and Spotify and sites like YesAsia that make official merchandise available to fans. But what about actual stores selling K-pop or any Hallyu-based goods?
Thankfully, we have seen a growth of Hallyu stores. One such store is Kpoppin USA. Located in Lake Worth in Florida, they are expanding by opening a location in one of the most popular tourist locations in the world: Orlando. As a matter of fact, their grand opening in O-Town is about to happen. Not only that, but popular K-pop YouTubers K!Junkies are hosting along with popular K-pop YouTuber JRE of JREKML making an appearance too.
Kpoppin USA advertises itself as the number one shop not only for K-pop but anime and Asian snacks. Originally opening up in Lake Worth, Florida, the store has become a popular destination for many fans of Asian entertainment. The fact they just don’t specialize in one particular part of Asia (K-pop only or anime only) makes them accessible, but they limit variety generally to three parts of Asia making them exclusive too.
Nevertheless, Kpoppin USA is doing well, and now they are expanding to Orlando with a second location. Amanda and Nathalie, popularly known together as K!Junkies on social media (especially YouTube), will host the event. There will be fun games and activities to get the festivities going.
- Icebreaker Game (K-Pop Identity Circles) – Get to know each other through K-pop!
- Do You Know K-Pop? — A game in which K-pop knowledge is tested through three rounds of K-pop facts.
- Guess The Song — How well do K-pop fans know the songs through a random selection?
- Dance Workshop — Learn the choreography of the chorus of “Playing With Fire” by Black Pink.
- Guess The Maknae — Every K-pop group has its youngest member, known as the maknae. Can you guess the maknae of each group provided in this game?
- JRE Time — Meet YouTuber JRE from JREKML. This whole section is dedicated to JRE’s visit to Kpoppin USA.
- K-Pop Karaoke — What better way to end the day than to sing K-pop songs fans love.
Take note that due to the limited capacity in Kpoppin USA’s store, only paying customers with wristbands will be allowed to participate in activities, meet special guests, and occupy the designated event space. The only exception will be parents and guardians. In order to obtain a wristband, customers must buy at least $10 worth of merchandise. Of course, basic rules such as no loitering, no foul and obscene language, and no theft are included.
The second location for Kpoppin USA in Orlando, Florida, is located at 8251 South John Young Parkway, just north of its exit on US 528. The event will take place tomorrow, Saturday, December 17 from noontime to 7 p.m. More information can be found on Kpoppin USA’s RSVP for the event on Facebook.
[Featured Image by KPoppin USA/Facebook]