The panic-stricken scenarios that unfold in malls and other retail centers, especially at the approach of Christmas when everyone and his mother are caught in a frenzy of bargain-hunting and gift-hoarding, make a good case for checking out Power Plant Mall
at Rockwell Center.
At the mall on a weekday morning, late November, the doors have just opened and everything is still quiet and relaxed. There is no sales staff screeching “Ma’am, Sir, bili na kayo!” upon seeing your shadow on the threshold of their establishment. You enter a store selling trinkets that was featured on your favorite blog. The sales associate recites the prices of the items that you ask about, retreating with a smile when you nod thanks and walk away.
At the mall again, on a weekend. Power Plant Mall
It seems to be the busiest day of the week, with families doing their weekly grocery rounds at Rustan’s and the traditional Sunday lunch get-together. Mom sneaks in a bit of Christmas gift-shopping at Muji when the kids head off to Toys R Us, while Dad gets acquainted with the iPhone 4S at the Power Mac Center. Despite the sharp spike in foot traffic, the pace remains laid-back, the noise levels muted. The Christmas décor, as always, hews to the classic colors, albeit jazzed up with the Power Plant Mall touch. The halls are festooned with hundreds of “Sputnik” stars (after the Cold Warera Russian satellites) in red and white, which were made especially for Rockwell. The theme is replicated in 3D all over the Rockwell Center grounds. At the North Court, nothing less than a Christmas-red, elegant XF Premium Luxury Jaguar is waiting to be won by a lucky shopper, for the annual holiday car raffle.
At the Power Plant Mall Retail office at the basement level, Roshele Moreno and Belen Nones, assistant vice president for Retail Leasing and assistant vice president for Retail Operations, respectively, sit down to talk with LopezLink. They are two of the tireless women on Power Plant Mall vice president-general manager Malou Pineda’s team. They explain that they are at the mall even before the start of mall hours at 10 a.m. On any given day, one might run into them as they check on tenants or catch up with mall regulars.
“Our typical day at the beginning of the year is the same typical day at the end of the year,” Moreno says. “But there are peak seasons, like Easter, the summer break and Christmas, which actually starts on Halloween.”
“We feel the increase in foot traffic, in the cars parking,” Nones affirms. “We look forward to this. It makes our day more exciting.” Reindeer - Hansa Toys
What Power Plant Mall lacks in sprawl or sheer numbers, it more than makes up for with ambience, warm service, hotel-standard bathrooms and top-notch security. So much so that an enthusiastic netizen even proposed the Power Plant Mall team as possible candidates to run the much-maligned Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Power Plant Mall also pioneers the concepts of expanding creatively beyond its four walls by extending retail services to other residential areas in Rockwell.
You may find trendy boutiques Itsie Bitsie, Beyond the Box and Univers right across the street. Unique food concepts such as Bistecca, Lu and, soon to open in Number One Rockwell—AK Bistro, Tajimaya, Bizu, Apartment 1B and Wine Story also dot the Rockwell landscape.
After all, Moreno and Nones are continually working, always on the lookout for ways to upgrade, polish and refine the Power Plant Mall’s brand of service. “When we enter a shopping center, here or abroad, my son would accuse me: ‘You’re working!’” Moreno laughs.
Nones’s daughter, on the other hand, would sometimes refuse to accompany her on trips to other malls, knowing she’ll do something “weird” like pick up litter on the floor. “It’s second nature to us here, if we see a piece of paper, we pick it up because we think that this is our home,” the Leasing AVP says of Power Plant Mall. “No less than our president, Mr. [Nestor] Padilla, does it, so that’s the mindset that we have also.”
“We cannot compete in size, but we can compete in service, we can compete in the experience that you will feel the minute you step in that door. The minute you come in, you feel at home right away,” Moreno asserts.
“If you get lost, you might as well enjoy it. But the mall is very linear, like a track and field oval, so you won’t really get lost,” Nones points out.
Here’s a useful tip for the fashion forward: some retailers release merchandise in Power Plant ahead of their other branches by as much as two weeks. If you’re the type who always wants to be ahead of the pack fashion-wise or gadget-wise, then the mall is a must-visit.
“Stores like Kamiseta, Bayo or Bench have the same price points wherever branch you go to, but one of the perks in our branches is that there are sometimes special collections that are available only in Power Plant,” Moreno adds.
Marco Vinluan is one of the young guns on the Power Plant Mall team. Now the cinema manager, he has been with Rockwell for the past five and a half years. While the mall’s six cinemas contribute significantly to mall traffic all year round, Vinluan says December is the time when more kids flock to the theaters to enjoy the Christmas-themed offerings. He and his team got ready for the onslaught by beefing up security so that the young patrons can hang out and run around in a safe and secure environment. The Red Jag
“Our No. 1 thrust is really customer service. We make sure that the experience is perfect for everyone, from the time they buy a ticket up to the actual viewing in the cinema,” Vinluan says.
For 2012, he promises “more pampering, more freebies” for theatergoers; they are also bringing in state-of-the-art equipment—including audio processors, screens and speakers—as Power Plant Cinema goes digital next year. “Some of these things you will see only in Power Plant,” he notes.
Jun dela Cruz calls himself the remaining “original” of the Operations group, having been with Power Plant since 2001 when the mall was barely a year old.
One of the challenges of being head of security, he shares, is implementing security measures that do not go beyond the bounds of customer service.
“We can do rigid inspections and body frisking like in other malls. But the question is, if it inconveniences your customer, will he still come back to your establishment tomorrow? So Faithful to their ‘king’ Lopezlink Dec. 2011-Jan. 2012 we make up for that with other measures,” dela Cruz says.
In “normal mode,” Power Plant Mall has a 110-strong security force, a newly upgraded CCTV systems and a firefighting unit. At any one time, more than 50 guards, including nonuniformed security personnel, are discreetly keeping an eye on the mall’s customers.
“Medical training is also included in the annual budget for operations. And aside from the training that our service provider conducts for their people, which we require of them, they also conduct additional training twice a year as part of their contract; these are conducted right here on our premises so we can monitor, especially their compliance training which includes drug tests and neuro tests,” dela Cruz notes.
This Christmas, aside from beefing up its current manpower, uniformed policemen also roam the center’s grounds.
“We’re very ready for the Christmas rush,” the security manager assures.
First thought of and still maintained as being the Rockwell resident’s greatest amenity, Power Plant Mall’s high standards in the retail mix, pioneering concepts, flawless security measures and state-of-the-art cinemas can only be attributed to the vision of delivering luxury and creating lifestyle for a 100% Rockwell experience.