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Friday, March 29, 2013

Toronto: Kpop Stores

My kpop obsession sent me on a wild goose chase all around Toronto today to find all the kpop shops in the vicinity. Though exhausted and mostly empty handed, the exposure to Toronto's kpop scene was well worth it! To completely document my experience, I took lots of photos, so beware of the visual-heavy blogpost!

My first stop was the Koreatown at Bloor and Christie:

Jong Ro Korean Books and Music
650 Bloor Street West
The man at the counter was very kind and friendly, quickly greeting me as I stepped into the long, narrow, old-smelling shop. There were mostly books for sale, with a hint of kpop on the left wall and at the counter.
The wall displayed several legit kpop CDs, including Infinite's Infinitize, showing a fairly updated selection. I came to his shop on March 27th, just a couple of days after Infinite's New Challenge physical album release. He checked his books and said it won't be another two weeks before he gets that in. Against the wall there were kpop shirts and posters. On the counter were small pins and mugs with low quality pictures.

Just You Sarah and Tom
624 Bloor Street West
This tiny shop carries adorable Asian knickknacks, similar to Morning Glory. There is stationary, Hello Kitty products and kpop items. They were even playing Teen Top's "To You," getting me into the kpop mood. The worker, a young Korean woman, was very friendly. After asking me my favorite band and my responding with Infinite, she showed me the collection of Infinite posters that consisted only of Sungyeol from the Paradise shoot. Realizing the limited selection, she even phoned their other location and asked if they had more variety in stock, which they did.
Just You carries a variety of not authentic kpop posters, socks, notepads, and other small kpop merchandise. Sadly they don't sell CDs.
This shop also sells not legit photocards, $0.95 each. I decided to buy one of Infinite. Then the worker surprised me by wrapping the photocard. She let me choose two wraps: clear or clear with opaque pink flowers (of course I chose clear so no flowers would obstruct the photo!). Next she told me how many girls choose two photocards to get wrapped in one to place in their wallets. I knew this was a good marketing strategy, but I fell for it and decided to buy a photocard of Myungsoo too. She then wrapped both photos together and taped it up, then let me choose from an assortment of colorful ribbons. She slid the center of the ribbon together and it suddenly became a bow to tape on top of the photocard! Somehow one simple photocard became a gorgeous card that I'll treasure even more.
Here's the final product! Myungsoo and the boys of Infinite look amazing, but the bow blocks Sunggyu's head. I don't know how fangirls place the card and bow into their wallets, so for meantime ill just find a nice place to stick the bow elsewhere.

My second stop was in between the two Koreatowns:

Just You Too Sarah and Tom
686 Yonge Street
This shop seems identical to the original one, but with smaller inventory.
After the friendly, conversational worker asked me my favorite kpop group and bias, she recognized me as the Infinite girl who called from the other shop. She showed me her Infinite selection: one of Sungjong from the Paradise shoot and two of Sungyeol from the Paradise shoot, again.
This store's stack of posters and photocards were smaller but it had legit kpop CDs on display! There were only a few CDs, including one of Exo-K and an OST of a recent drama.

My third stop was at the second Koreatown at Yonge and Finch:

Morning Glory
5619 Yonge Street
This Morning Glory is much larger than other ones I've visited, and offers a greater variety. There are display cases full of Korean cosmetics (many brands of which I'm not familiar), stationary, Nintendo/Mario character slippers and other plush goods, as well as kpop merchandise. They were playing CNBlue's "I'm Sorry," which got me excited.
There were random, not authentic kpop goods, such as mugs, posters and key chains.
What set this branch apart from other Morning Glories I've visited, however, is that this one carries legit kpop CDs! There was IU, Infinite-H, and more, all on shelves behind the counter so ask. I asked the worker, an older Korean woman, when she'd get the new Infinite album, but she had no idea. She had no knowledge of kpop either, but was still very friendly.

If you're in Toronto, check out these shops if you have time! They're spaced out throughout the city and selection is very limited, so don't be disappointed if you don't see anything to fangirl over.

23 comments:

  1. Awesome I Went There Today It Was Awesome Love It <3 I Wanna Go Back There :D There Was Alot Of Nice People Down There :)

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  2. ii went to Jong Ro Korean Books and Music and just you Sarah and tom. really good. bought some album and posters.

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  3. i went to Sarah and Toms today! I also wanted to go to Jong Ro, except they were on vacation for a few days.

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  4. Just You Sarah and Tom now sells CDs :).

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  5. I purchased a CD & NU'EST pin at Jongro and NU'EST clear folder at Sarah and Tom's in the Bloor location. I have been to Morning Glory before, but when I went there weren't any CDs unfortunately xD

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  6. I purchased a CD & NU'EST pin at Jongro and NU'EST clear folder at Sarah and Tom's in the Bloor location. I have been to Morning Glory before, but when I went there weren't any CDs unfortunately xD

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    Replies
    1. I propose the kpop related products.
      site : www.kpopture.com

      Delete
  7. hi do u know where can i buy a signed poster, album, or any other merchandise...im getting it for my friends birthday, if u have any clue, plz reply. :)

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  8. hi do u know where can i buy a signed poster, album, or any other merchandise...im getting it for my friends birthday, if u have any clue, plz reply. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi! Sorry these were the only stores I found around the Toronto area and none of them sold autographed merch...I hope you'll find something for your friend though!

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    2. I propose the kpop related products.
      Site : www.kpopture.com

      Delete
  9. uhmm...do these store sell merchandise of EXO M or EXO K?

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  10. uhmm...do these store sell merchandise of EXO M or EXO K?

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    Replies
    1. When I visited these shops a few months ago, Jong Ro, Sarah & Tom, and Morning Glory all had only a handful of the most popular kpop artists' albums, so they might have an Exo album. These stores probably do carry unofficial Exo merch since Exo's pretty popular

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  11. Hi…This is Korea.
    Nice to meet you!
    I propose the kpop related products.
    We want to do business with you.
    We will supply the goods to you. Please sell to your members
    www.kpopture.com=>Please Order
    www.facebook.com/kpopturecom ( Please Click "Like" - kpop product introduction )

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi…This is Korea.
    Nice to meet you!
    I propose the kpop related products.
    We want to do business with you.
    We will supply the goods to you. Please sell to your members
    www.kpopture.com=>Please Order
    www.facebook.com/kpopturecom ( Please Click "Like" - kpop product introduction )

    ReplyDelete
  13. What were the prices like at these stores? Like for posters for example?

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    Replies
    1. Hi, sorry I'm not much help but...all I can remember is the albums at Morning Glory were around $20.

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    2. oh ok thank you! :)

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  14. Do Sarah and Tom still sell old album

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    Replies
    1. Sorry for the late reply; I haven't been there in awhile so I'm not sure if they still sell old albums...

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  15. Hello!! Thank you for this post. It has helped me a lot. I'm planning to go to Toronto in a week. Do you think any of these stores would sell any B.A.P CDs/stuff? xx

    ReplyDelete