Hundreds of eager BTS fans lined up overnight in Hudson Yards on Saturday to peruse a new pop-up store selling exclusive merchandise from the popular K-Pop band.
Dubbed BTS Pop-up: Space of BTS, the 3,000-square-foot storefront — located on the third floor of the shops at Hudson Yards — had fans of the South Korean boy band camping out since 9 p.m. the night before. The die-hard supporters, dubbed the Army, were eager to get their hands on limited edition, official BTS merchandise during the grand opening on April 15.
The line of excited admirers wrapped around the mall’s third floor and continued to add new additions as the day wore on.
Jennifer Lerch said she traveled to the opening from Pennsylvania because, to her, BTS is more than just another K-pop group. Lerch called the group a beacon of hope, which she believes spreads positivity through music.
“It’s all about loving each other. They’re real. They tell us about their downs and it makes us feel as if there is somebody that we can relate to,” Lerch explained. “Their music tells a story. Their energy — it’s just a vibe, completely real, completely happy.”
Becoming emotional, Lerch shared that a friend invited her to the band’s concert in 2019, during a time she said she was extremely depressed. But things started to turn around for Lerch after the concert.
“I never heard of them and the first song I heard was ‘Dionysus,’ and that completely changed the way I felt. Not knowing any of the words, it just made me feel so much better and they have been a big part of my life ever since,” Lerch said, adding that RM (short for Rap Monster) is her favorite band member.
Doors to the pop-up opened just after 8 a.m., allowing fans to go on a shopping spree that included clothing, posters, key-rings, trading cards, plushies, and more.
Linda Dang, founder of Sukoshi Mart, the runners of the BTS pop-up shop, said this is the first time the Korean boy band has a comprehensive official store in the United States.
“This is the first comprehensive pop-up that’s will be happening for three months,” said Dang, whose organization specializes in showcasing K-beauty and Asian merchandise. “This is kind of very symbolic because their 10-year anniversary is coming soon.”
Since debuting in 2013, the Grammy-nominated group, also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan (“Beyond the Scene”), has become representation of musical solace for fans around the globe. The pop-up shop is an all-encompassing concept of their journey over the last decade, Dang said, including 2022 Dalmajun, BTS in Busan, Permission to Dance on Stage, Butter, In the Swoop and more.
Many of the items sold are limited edition and are officially licensed by the band’s company, Big Hit Entertainment.
“Having this is really amazing because we got to see how BTS exploded over the last few years in North America, so it’s a really exciting time to see this upward trend,” Dang added. “This is an all-encompassing concept so [the pop-up] actually has multiple lines from the different albums, different concerts and it’s the only place where you can find a little bit of everything.”
BTS Pop-Up: Space of BTS is open through July 14 in New York City. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.