Changsin-dong, Jongno District, Seoul is a place where you can time travel back through alleys and low-roofed houses. If you feel a bit tired of walking around, find ABBA Coffee opened 2 years ago by the couple CEO Kim Hyung-suk and Park Young-mi.
“It is a good place for a meeting or gathering as office workers or designers often do. We serve coffee alongside various kinds of fruit juice and teas. The streets here were once famous for sewing and it is a good idea to hear a story or two about it over a coffee or tea” says Park.
It was not easy for Park, who has to raise five children, to run a coffee shop. It truly is challenging but she likes talking with people and that compensates the hardship. Her eldest daughter Somang recently got a job at a publishing company and this made Park very happy.
Her husband Kim was born and bred in the district and has nickname an angel of Jongno. He is serving as the branch head of the World Disabled Welfare Promotion Association Jongno.
“My husband is the youngest son of his family and we once lived with his family in Ihwa-dong for many years. I found that happiness is not something great but a couple of grilled fish being shared with family members. Now I find a new happiness with visitors to my coffee shop and I’m working on introducing new menus such as stick snacks to add fun.”
Kim says “I’ve engaged in picking up cigarette butts and cleaning the street for my entire life. What made me shocked, however, was the immaculate streets and clean environment in Hong Kong when I visited there. So ABBA Coffee’s joining the recent government policy in not using plastic cups, straws and vinyl is very meaningful.”
When asked about future plan, the couple CEO said that they would start a franchise with their unique idea of serving coffee or tea with rice snacks instead of breads and cakes. “We are thinking of sushi and it might give a refreshing jolt.”
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