Traditional markets in Korea have had a torridtime in recent years,.
losing customers enticed by lower prices and greater convenienceto discount stores and supermarkets.
But hopes for a turnaround are rising.
thanksto some fresh faces.
For more on how merchants from younger generationsare carving out spots at traditional markets,.
Oh Jung-hee reports.
Traditional markets in Korea have lost someof their vitality over the past 20 years.
with the emergence of big corporate-run supermarkets,not to mention online shopping.
Now the situation is changing.
Merchants in their twenties or thirties arehelping bring more customers into these traditional markets with new kinds of businesses and newstrategies.
At Gangdong-gu District's night market,.
Han Seung-oh sells grilled meat every Friday and Saturday.
Though he had a job, he felt his future wasuncertain,.
so he gave it up to start his first business.
He says that contrary to the idea that traditionalmarkets are old-fashioned.
they're actually quite dynamic and alive.
and that now he'ssettled in successfully.
"There were of course conflicts with the elderlymerchants when I first came.
because my being here would mean tougher competition.
But as more young merchants came in and broughtwith them more customers.
conflicts resolved themselves.
" Behind the smooth landings of these youngmerchants are support programs designed by local governments including the city of Seoul.
The young merchants' entrance into traditionalmarkets is seen as a way to attract more customers to the markets in general and therefore givethem new life.
It's also an alternative path for unemployedyouth.
"Those applying to our program have includedyoung people who've prepared for a long time to start their own businesses.
or thosewho had to abandon their businesses because of financial difficulties.
We provide financial assistance, help withinterior design, and offer training and consulting services.
" The elderly merchants we've spoken to in themarkets have all said.
the atmosphere has brightened since the young merchants havecome.
"A lot of the vendors are thankful that themarket has been revitalized after these young merchants started selling here.
We also have a lot more customers than before.
And earn about 40-percent more than we used to.
" Experts also see this as a welcome phenomenon.
And say the government should encourage it through comprehensive policies.
"This is a completely new way for young peopleto advance into society.
It's also killing two birds with one stone;for young people who're not employed.
and for traditional markets that've been losingcustomers.
" The emergence of new products and strategieswill create an impetus for both groups to teach and learn from each other,.
eventuallyadding a whole new color to their market.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.