SEOUL, May 15 (Korea Bizwire) – Amid growing pet ownership in South Korea, Shinsegae’s Starfield Hanam is drawing attention over its all-out animal-friendly policy that allows shoppers to enjoy the mall in the company of their pets, making itself the first shopping complex in the country where pets can walk around so long as they are on a leash.
The ground-breaking policy makes Starfield Hanam the very first shopping mall in the country to go animal-friendly all the way, given that most shopping malls and outlets in South Korea only allow pets if they are kept in a carrier.
As pet lovers flock to the animal-friendly shopping mall with some shops offering pet sitting services, others, who have yet to embrace the growing popularity of pets in the country in recent years, are putting off visiting what aims to be the first ‘shopping theme park’ in the South Korean retail industry.
One shopper from Seoul who isn’t keen on pets expressed frustration.
Homemaker Choi, in her 40s, says though she is interested in visiting the new shopping mall that is fast becoming a landmark in Hanam, the animal-friendly policy has stopped her from going there again.
“I once visited Starfield Hanam, without being aware of the pet policy. I was startled to see pets roam around everywhere so freely. As I’m allergic to dogs, I have no interest in going back again,” Choi said, while criticizing Shinsegae’s policy for being dangerous to children.
In contrast, pet lovers like Shin from Gangnam District in Seoul have welcomed the animal-friendly policy.
“I’ve been waiting long time for a place like Starfield Hanam to open, so I’m more than happy,” said Shin, who often visits the shopping mall with her dog.
Shin responded to the criticism from non-animal lovers, saying that most dogs are on a leash and paper bags prepared around the mall to collect animal waste minimize the inconvenience caused to other shoppers.
Despite opposition, it’s reportedly input from Jung Yong-jin, the vice president of Shinsegae, that led to Starfield Hanam becoming the first animal-friendly shopping mall.
Jung is a known dog lover who has been seen on Instagram shopping at Starfield Hanam with his poodles Mary and Molly.
“Nearly 200 shoppers visit Starfield Hanam with pets every weekend. It has not been confirmed yet, but we expect the new branch to open in Goyang later this year to adopt a similar animal-friendly policy,” a Shinsegae official said.
Ashley Song (email@example.com)