ORLANDO, Fla. – K-pop albums, keychains, pillows, sweatshirts, anime merchandise and monitors playing music videos are just some of the ways this Orlando store greets its customers.
If anyone thinks of K-pop, they’ll most likely name BTS or Blackpink. While Kpoppin USA caters to those fans, it also offers a unique experience to those who are well into the K-pop world, and the store recently added anime fans into the mix.
According to an employee, the store first opened in 2016, with its most recent expansion in 2019, opening up the store to more anime merchandise for fans.
“Once he saw that since that demand is high for something that isn’t really here at all, he decided that why not expand a little bit and may as well sort of have it be like the sort of enhanced Japanese store instead of just being just the K-pop stuff,” said 18-year-old Sebastian Labrador, an employee at Kpoppin USA, of the owner’s decision to expand the store.
Labrador said he started working at the store because of his sister, who started visiting when she starting getting into K-pop.
“When I started getting into it was kind of seeing it through her. I saw she was so interested in it and there was all this stuff I’ve never heard of or anything like that,” he said. “My experience with this kind of stuff was usually more like Saturday morning cartoon type stuff.”
Like many kids, Labrador said he grew up on “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and “Dragon Ball,” both Japanese animated series. He said Kpoppin USA reignited that interest from when he was younger.
“Seeing some of the stuff that’s actually genuinely, authentic Japanese stuff and it’s not even made for America but we have it, it’s almost like traveling there in a sense for that certain kind of thing,” he said. “It’s a very unique experience and I mean you can tell anybody who comes in here, they are super overwhelmed. There’s so much stuff that they’ve never seen before.”
Along with anime figures for sale, the store offers various items for K-pop or anime fans, such as keychains, lanyards, posters, T-shirts and more.
Among the typical items you’d find in other anime or K-pop stores, Kpoppin USA prides itself on offering not just the “popular stuff.” Labrador said the store has an album by the South Korean-Chinese K-pop group EXO available in two versions.
“We have the Korean one that’s like the popular one essentially, but then there’s also the Chinese version, which may be a little more niche, but it’s still the option for people who actually want to have the actual thing there,” he said.
The store is located on South John Young Parkway and is open every day of the week. With lots to explore and check out, visitors will be able to browse through their K-pop, anime and other items available in stock.
To check out their inventory or look at what they have to offer, click here.