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[Eye Plus] School supplies shops come to life with start of new academic year

Feb. 19, 2022 - 16:01 By Kim Hae-yeon
Photo by Park Hyun-koo
As the warm weather approaches, blue skies mark the beginning of a new school year.

At this time of the year, the Cheonho Stationery and Toy Shop Street is busier than ever. 

Photo by Park Hyun-koo
Located around Cheonho Station exit No. 1, the complex greets families looking to purchase school supplies and gifts for children at affordable prices.

The complex has shops selling basic school supplies as well as the latest cartoon character toys and party goods that children love. 

Photo by Park Hyun-koo
Packs of colored pencils, robots, model cars and dolls are densely displayed on both sides of an alley around 260 meters long.

Depending on the item, prices are usually offered at 30 to 40 percent discounts off the retail price. 

Photo by Park Hyun-koo
Having its origins in Changsin’s Dongdaemun Stationery Store Street, the Cheonho Stationery and Toy Shop Street opened in 1989, starting with three stores from Changsin-dong that relocated here as pioneers of the neighborhood.

Around 30 wholesale and retail stationery and toy stores formed clusters from the mid-1990s to the early-2000s.

Photo by Park Hyun-koo
Although the place was once commonly referred to as a “street full of stationery,” sales stagnated in the 2000s as large franchise stores came to dominate the market.

To revitalize the area, the neighborhood came up with an urban decoration project. Colorfully painted cartoon characters and artworks can be seen on street corners and store walls. The artworks are inspired by beloved childrens’ books and popular toys. 

Photo by Park Hyun-koo
While children are busy looking at the latest and the most popular items, adults can be seen strolling around the complex, either searching for retro toys that bring back nostalgia or simply enjoying the joyful vibe. 

Photo by Park Hyun-koo
Business hours of the complex are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Although stores are closed on Sundays, most are open around the beginning of the new school year, through late March and Children’s Day on May 5.

Photos by Park Hyun-koo
Written by Kim Hae-yeon