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New shop bears creative fruit
The Banana Lab doesn't sell fruit, much to the dismay of one elderly customer who popped in recently looking for healthy nibbles.
Instead, Eunjin Kim has stocked the little shop she just opened on 3rd Avenue with all manner of unique art, vintage and new furniture items and unusual upcycled decor pieces like clocks made from bike wheels.
When Kim and her partner Wonduk Yoo were brainstorming a name for their new venture, they wanted something to express their own eclectic sense of style. The banana, says Kim, seemed a perfect model.
"It's a fun fruit. It's bright yellow. Everyone loves bananas, it stays in your mind."
And because they never know where their creative impulses will take them, what kind of items they may stumble upon while sourcing garage sales, friends' storage lockers or online classifieds, their inventory is an ongoing experiment; hence the lab.
Kim is an artist who studied printmaking at university in Korea. After years working for other people in Vancouver, the couple moved to New Westminster and decided to strike out on their own.
The colourful paintings on the walls are Kim's but she's actively seeking other local artists to display and sell their work.
"As an artist, I had a hard time to survive," says Kim. "I want to be able to create opportunities for them."
She and Yoo also do most of the upcycling themselves, mining the internet for ideas and then imparting new style and purpose to otherwise everyday items.
"Thinking of new ideas is always easy," says Kim. "But making them is a challenge."
The shop's quirky wares and cheeky window display have already caught the eye of passersby venturing just off 6th Street; Kim says one stuck her head in the door enquiring whether the soft cottony clouds in the window were actually lamps.
"I like to think of the things here are treasures," says Kim. "They aren't easy to find."
Banana Lab is located at 607 3rd Ave. They're also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bananalab.ca