Saigon's old furniture market in business for 30+ years

By Huu Khoa   October 30, 2019 | 08:36 pm GMT+7

A District 8 neighborhood in Saigon collects old furniture from all over the southern region, repairs them and sells them anew.

Bustle and hustle in Saigons antique wooden market

At 124 Pham The Hien Street, there are around 20 stores selling houseware and furniture. Every day, the alley bustles with activity as purchasers, sellers, transporters and carpenters get busy striking deals, collecting and transporting various woodworks, and repairing them. "Many old tables and closets are broken, but I am okay with it, I pay just VND50,000 – 100,000 ($2.15-4.3) for them. Sometimes the items are almost useless, so the owners call me to collect them. In this industry, they sell the things they are bored of to people who are in need," said Tai, a dealer.

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"This used wooden marketplace was founded when I was a kid. At first, there were very some sellers, but it began getting crowded gradually," said Nguyen Van Cuong, who has more than ten years of experience working as a carpenter. He carries what appears to be several wooden planks on his head. Many shop owners say they have to proactively look for furniture from residential areas in southern provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai to be less dependent on other dealers.

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Traders from many places transport their tables, chairs and closets to the alley and sell to shop owners. Old and broken furniture is bought and fixed before being sold to new customers. A skillful carpenter can earn VND 500,000 ($21.5) per day working full time at a store.

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A carved chair leg at a shop.


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43-year-old Do Trung Kien from the northern province of Thai Binh has rented a house in District 8 to trade old furniture for more than 10 years. "My income is not stable. Sometimes I get hundreds of thousands of dong (VND23,200=$1) per day; sometimes, I earn nothing. My competitors have more money, so they are willing to pay for good workers, which I cannot afford," he said.

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An entrance to a house stacked with old wooden furnite.


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Refurbished furniture will be sold to restaurants and coffee shops in HCMC, Hanoi and Da Nang. Some shop owners said most of their customers are from the Mekong Delta. So boats are often used for transporting goods. 

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"The dealers come here once a month by boat. They like closets, beds, chairs, and desks. They usually buy a large amount to distribute to poor people in the Mekong Delta, so I give them a discount," said Luu Phuoc Tho, a shop owner. The price depends on the quality of the wood and models. A set of 4 wooden chairs and a table costs around VND6-10 million ($257.9-429.3); a closet costs VND1-3 million ($42.9-128.9), he said.

 
 
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