Retailer to keep shop seen in movie

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Retailer to keep shop seen in movie

Yoon Je-kyoon, who directed “Ode to My Father,” recently visited Kkotbunine (Kkotbuni’s Place), the small shop in Busan’s Gukje Market that featured in his film.

His visit Monday was not entirely for publicity, however, and was primarily intended to show his support for its retailer, who faced the possibility that her store would be shuttered.

Since its release on Dec. 17, “Ode to My Father” has attracted more than 12 million viewers to become the sixth biggest box office hit in Korea’s history. But following an increase in sales boosted by the film, the shop’s owner demanded that the retailer, Shin Mi-ran, pay a 50 million won ($45,600) premium.

The demand shocked Shin, who has run the shop for nearly two years and couldn’t afford to pay the sum all at once.

“I know you’ve gone through some hard times since the movie was released,” Yoon acknowledged to Shin, who sells practical items like socks and belts in the market.

The retailer has subleased the 8.25-square-meter (88-square-foot) shop since March 2013, which the shop’s owner leased through a jeonse contract, a long-term deposit. At the time, Shin agreed to put down a 5 million won deposit and pay 1.8 million won per month in rent.

After the film’s debut, the store saw a 30 percent increase in sales.

Conflict surfaced, however, after the shop’s owner demanded a premium amounting to 50 million won be paid by March, citing the increase in the number of visitors and the store’s rising profits due to the film’s success.

Originally, the premium was 20 million won.

Shin decided to close the store over the financial pressure - her only choice since she simply could not afford the premium.

Her financial situation made headlines, however, prompting Busan Metropolitan City to intervene.

The move allowed Shin to bypass the shop’s owner and directly negotiate with the landlord.

The two then reached a solution, she said, in which Shin’s rental fee would be “slightly” increased, while the premium would be reduced to 30 million won.

She did not discuss further details about the arrangement, however.

Yoon compared the situation to the success of his previous movie, “Haeundae,” in the summer of 2009. “Back then, I was happy to see people flock to [Haeundae Beach], which contributed to a huge increase in sales at local restaurants in the region.

“Now I feel better knowing that Shin’s financial burden has been solved. And I hope the store’s popularity has a positive influence on the whole market,” Yoon added, referring to tensions that formerly surfaced among Shin and the surrounding vendors, who lamented that the influx of customers had disrupted their businesses.

In gratitude, Shin presented Yoon with souvenirs: a coffee mug, a postcard and a handheld fan on which the store is portrayed.

The scene was created and donated by painter Bae Cheon-sun, who heard about the shop’s crisis.

Lee Myeong-seop, a teacher at Changhyeong High School in Suwon, Gyeonggi, also brought his students to the market that day on a field trip.

“I hope Ms. Shin never has to feel the pressure of an increased premium again,” he said as he purchased a couple pairs of socks and a belt.


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