One Door Closed, Another Opens: Welcome Borybo Phearak Boutique and Services to Lowell Cambodia Town

By Soben Pin | Facebook/Twitter@SobenPin

Lowell – the well known Pailin Plaza on Middlesex Street has added a refreshing new store — Borybo Phearak Boutique & Services to its Cambodian identity. The two inspired entrepreneurs, an aunt, Melissa Lahkanna Soy from Lynn and her Lowell native niece Sanya Sum, an English teacher at Samoset Middle school in Leominster had teamed up and opened a Cambodian traditional boutique & service during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo from Left to Right: Sath Soy, Angelina Pop, Hoeun Heng, Sara San, Melissa Soy, Roeuth San, Roeun Nga, Reehon Soy, Sarin Sang, Korry Voeun, Sanya Sum, Sokthear San, Aiyana Bettencourt, Sasha Soy. Photo by Soben Pin.

Borybo Phearak is the rebirth of Amara Boutique, a well known business established at the Pailin Plaza for over a decade. It was featured in Yankee Magazine as one of the destinations to visit in Lowell Cambodia Town, May 2020 edition. Then the pandemic hit-hard and forced the business to close its door.

Borybo Phearak Co-owners Melissa Soy and Sanya Sum are making the Champaign toast with friends and family. Photo by Soben Pin.

“It was our calling” said Sanya. There is nobody traveling right now, and all weddings from this year have been postponed to the next year. There is so much uncertainty of how it will be in the next year. “But if you don’t put your feet in the water, you don’t know how deep the water is” said Lahkanna. Lahkanna came to the United States as a child refugee when she was 10 years old, living in Seattle, Washington, and her marriage and fate brought her to Lynn in 1996. Since then, she has been a make up artist for Cambodian traditional wedding for the past 20 years. “I love Cambodian culture and a rare opportunity has come”, she said.

Grand Opening preparations. Photo by Soben Pin.


The two, aunt and niece, dressed up Amara Boutique into its full glory. With a modern look, new hardwood flood, added lights and 100% new design from bottom to top, the Boutique is very appealing to a new generation of shoppers. From the rows and columns of Cambodian men’s wear, to women’s traditional clothes, sparkling shoes, children’s clothing, hair pins, glossy wood sculptures made in Cambodia, the content of the store defines the word Borybo Phearak— means “ plenty of stuffs” in Khmer language, a name given by a Khmer Monk with his blessing.

Khmer Flag Pride and other goodies. Photo by Soben Pin.

It was off to a good start. Sanya was told by her uncle that she should light five incense a day, every morning when she comes to work. That is the blessing tradition each day for the business. Surrounded by families and friends, the ribbon was cut and champaign bottles popped. “Money, money” someone cheered.

Traditional Cambodian Men’s Coats and boys (top shelve) Traditional Cambodian Women’s formal wear. A Cute couple with two girls on display.
Khmer variety books Khmer Wood Sculptures Khmer handmade silk purses/scarfs