Sarah and Tom bring Korean pop culture to Halifax
There’s a new storefront along Halifax’s Quinpool Road that might have caught your eye.
It’s a coming home of sorts for the owners; one is from Nova Scotia and the other is from Korea, and they're bringing Korean pop culture to the Maritimes.
As you walk inside, an employee will bow to you as they greet you.
K-pop -- pop music from South Korea -- is playing on the sound systems and friendly faces are looking at you from every corner.
The store is called Sarah and Tom.
Sarah is Sarah Milberry, who is from New Glasgow.
“I went to teach English in Korea and I met my husband there,” said Milberry.
Her husband? You guessed it. He’s the Tom in the equation: Tom Yun.
“We moved to Toronto and we opened a shop like this in 2009,” said Milberry. “We opened another shop in 2012, and then another shop in Montreal in 2016. Then I said you know what? I want to be back home.”
Milberry believes it’s the first Korean culture-filled store in the Maritimes, but it almost wasn't to be.
The couple had been looking for the right spot in Halifax for months and was close to trying out the West Coast instead.
“My husband actually had the flight booked to go to Vancouver,” said Milberry. “We came here to go for lunch and we saw the sign in the window that said the shop here had moved and I said ‘I wonder if this is going to be for rent.’”
Good move, say K-pop and anime aficionados.
“What actually brought me in was the Kodama!!” said customer Keri Walters.
The twinkly eyes, bright colours, and K-pop bands appeal to all ages in Korea -- and here.
“I've been into anime since I was 11 years old,” said Walters.“So it's been a part of my life for a really long time.”
Milberry says she and her husband want to create a certain “vibe” for customers – and a sense of wonder.
“When they come here, they’re feeling a bit of Korea,” she said. “I want them to come in, kinda feeling like ‘oh ! What is this stuff? What’s it all do? What’s it all about?”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.