Life in Korea: the Beautiful Store, Salvation Army and other thrift stores


The closest thing Korea has to a Goodwill or thrift store is a franchise called the Beautiful Store (아룸다운가게). While it’s not the only one (other places also offer things second-hand, like T-Recycle, RETY, and many stores with only one location), most other second-hand / thrift stores aren’t quite as accessible to the non-Korean. Also well known (and with several locations) is the Salvation Army

While this is probably not a complete list (and please contribute what you know!), here are more than enough places in Seoul to get you started. All information taken and translated from the Beautiful Store website – the ones in bold have been seen and / or shopped at personally:

Anguk station (line 3, exit 1)

Apgujeong station (line 3, exit 2) – walk 200m, turn left, go straight and get in the first alley (Apgujung-Dong Square Building)
Banghak station (line 1, exit 3)

Changdong station (line 1 or 4, exit 1)

Dangsimni station (line 5, exit 4) – Woori bank, 1st floor

Dongnimmun (line 3, exit 3) – 50 meters

Gaebang station (line 1, exit 2) – 5 minute walk

Gireum station (line 4, exit 3)

Hansung University station (line 4, exit 5) – 180 degree turn just out the exit

Hanyang University station (line 2, exit 1)

Hoegi station (line 1)

Hongik University station (line 2, exit 4)

Jonggak station (line 1, exit 1) – also accessible via Gwanghwamun station (line 5, exit 4)

Jongno-3-ga (line 1, 3, or 5, exit 5)

Mia station (line 4, exit 5) – walk straight for 20 meters

Mokdong station (line 5, exit 3)

Omokgyo station (line 5, exit 1)

Samseong station (line 2, exit 5) – near the Bongeunsa temple

Seoul National University (line 2, exit 4) – 50 meters

Seoul Station (line 1, 4, or Gyeongui line, exit 1) – Go to the right of the front entrance of Lotte Mart, then down a floor to the store location translation unclear)

Sindaebang samgeori station (line 7, exit 2) – across from Kookmin Bank

Sinnonhyeon station (line 9, exit 2) – walk 50 meters; Nonhyeon station (line 7, exit 2 (3?)) or Gangnam station (line 2, exit 6) are about a kilometer away each.

Sinseol-dong station (line 1 or 2, exit 6, look left)

Suyu station (line 4, exit 8) – get on bus 1218 and get off at the 4.19 stop, then look across the street

Yangjae station (line 3, exit 3) – Yangjae Kaemko Tower, Floor B1

Yeonsinnae station (line 3 or 6, exit 2) 150 meters towards the market

Yeouido station (line 5, exit 5) – 300 meters from the KBS annex (translation unclear)

Note that many of the maps in the subway station show the location of the store.

Every store has their own selections, much like flea markets and second-hand shops back home. In my experiences, however, there hasn’t been a lot for guys, especially younger ones. For other cities, check out http://www.beautifulstore.org/Front/bstore/search.asp


From the always excellent Korea4Expats.com, I’ve added the information about Salvation Army stores:

Namdaemun Store Tel 02-3789-7955 / Subway line 4, Hoehyeon station, exit 4

Seongdong Store Tel 02-425-1377 / Subway line 2, Sangwangsimni station, exit 4

Ahyeon Store Tel 02-362-9779 / Subway line 5, Aeogae station, exit 4

Daehak-ro store Tel 02-747-7951 / Subway line 4, Hyehwa station, exit 4

Mapo #1 Store Tel 02-364-1377 / Subway line 6, World Cup Stadium station, exit 1

Bugahyeon Store Tel 02-364-7084 / Subway line 2, Ahyeon station, exit

Seodaemun Store Tel 02-362-9494 / Subway line 5, Seodaemun station, exit 1

Yeonhui Store Tel 02-6272-9494 / Subway line 3, Hongje station, exit 3

Mapo #2 Store Tel 02-702-1377/ Subway line 6, Gwangheungchang station, exit 4

There are also plenty of other places around such a huge town as Seoul. Fellow Seoulites, can you vouch for / testify for any good places that sell cheap stuff? Bonus points for including directions!

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