During my childhood days (late 90’s to early 2000’s), the nearest major shopping centers were Festival Malls or Metropolis (before it was renamed Starmall) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. If you’re an adventurer, there’s SM Megamall or Glorietta Malls in Makati City (at least, until SM Mall of Asia opened in 2006).
In our socio-economic perspective, large shopping centers have become more than simply a place to shop or hang out but a measuring stick of a city or town’s progress. Aside from the ubiquity of Jollibee branches (San Pedro City, for instance, now has six Jollibee branches), the presence of large malls has become a gauge of a city’s economic stability.
It was thus a point of pride for San Pedrenses when Robinsons Galleria South Mall was finally opened in 2019.
Sure, it’s not SM or Ayala Malls, but the simple fact that we now have a major shopping center is something to be bragged about, especially in a city that had been the last among the five in Laguna’s “industrial belt” to become one.
In fact, when you say “Galleria” in San Pedro City today, they now meant the local Robinsons Galleria South Mall instead of the Robinsons Galleria Mall in EDSA-Ortigas.
As far back as 2019, however, as our publisher, Mr. Ray Junia, has pointed out, major shopping malls and retail outlets have slowly shifted their focus.
Instead of building large complexes like SM Mall of Asia, for instance, mall chains are now looking into “mini-malls” right inside residential complexes or highly dense urban areas.
Two such examples of mini-malls now exist in San Pedro City – Harmony Mall near Calendola Village and the soon-to-be-opened SM Center San Pedro near the PUP San Pedro campus.
Meanwhile, large grocery chains like Puregold, Alfamart and Dali have also embraced the “mini-mart” concept, as evidenced by the sudden appearance of small groceries run by these chains in various villages here in the city.
While the presence of these so-called “mini-malls” and mini-mart chains have meant convenience for many residents who no longer have to go out to the city proper to shop, some are worried that this trend might kill off small businesses – most particularly the traditional “sari-sari store.”
There’s no doubt that these mini-mart chains provide employment and livelihood for local residents. But what about small businesses who often sell traditional products like, say, “kakanin” or handicrafts?
Here’s a suggestion for our local government units who are currently doing their best to promote their towns and cities through the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) One Town, One Product (OTOP) initiative: Maybe we could reserve spaces or aisles inside our minimarts or shopping centers dedicated exclusively to our local produce?
#UncommonSense #JamesVeloso #MallsAreNowMovingIntoVillages #OTOP #OpinYon