Taste of Europe on an Apgujeong rooftopThe rooftop of a department store may not be a typical place to shop, but when it comes to Green Market, it’s a different story. Every second and fourth Sunday of the month, Hyundai Department Store in the upscale Apgujeong area holds a special market, which they’ve dubbed an “European-style flea market for charity.”
Green Market specializes in organic foods, crafts and and second-hand products that range from clothes to jewelry. Since it began in March, it has so far seen several thousand visitors each time. Two weeks ago, it did about 15 million won ($12,700) in business, and that was without the food market, which was closed due to the rain.
The Green Market donates 10 percent of the profits to charity, such as Holt Children’s Service and the Korea National Red Cross.
Passing by boutiques and shops, whose price tags reveal several zeroes, you reach Sky Park on the rooftop. You may not believe your eyes when you see a sweater for 5,000 won ($4), a pearl bracelet for 20,000 won and a pair of high-end brand shoes for 130,000 won. These were a few of the items on sale at the last Green Market.
It’s first-come, first-served, so the venue is crowded from the time the market opens at 11 a.m. By 3 p.m. when the market closes, customers find themselves standing in a long and winding line for the cashier.
Clara Han and Jee-soo Lim visited the market even though they don’t live in the neighborhood, and these two fashion-conscious young women are planning to come again. Heinz Werner, a foreign tourist, said that prices at the Green Market may be too stiff to classify it as a flea market, but he enjoyed it.
Green Market’s “European” market features a variety of organic food, flowers, German-style handmade sausages and bakery goods made by European chefs. “We pay extra attention to make it authentically European, from small things like putting the products in wooden wine boxes. We wanted to introduce a whole new concept of market to Korea,” said Choi Jeong-kyu of the Hyundai Department Store, which organizes the Green Market.
Currently, more than 50 groups and individuals sell their goods in the Green Market, and Mr. Choi, the organizer, is always looking for more vendors. Sellers keep 90 percent of the profit; the remaining 10 percent goes to charity.
Beginning in June, each Green Market will have a theme. On June 13 for example, the theme will be books. Visitors can donate their used books or exchange them with others at the market. Another theme planned for June is to have second-hand goods donated by fashion designers and models.
by Chun Su-jin
For more information on becoming a vendor or on making a donation to charity, please call (02) 3449-5831.