ON THE last day of 2021, after 56 years of operations, Aldevinco Shopping Center quietly closed its doors, ending the iconic local landmark's five-decade history of operating along CM Recto St. and Roxas Ave.

But as they say, when one door closes a new one opens; the same can be said for the Aldevinco tenants as they prepare to move to their new and upgraded home, Poblacion Market Central.

Slated to open this year along C. Bangoy Street in the former location of the Madrazo Fruit Stand, Poblacion Market Central is a celebration of the city's promising art, retail, and food scene.

Aside from your favorite Aldevinco shops, the new commercial development will also feature more retail brands, a food hall, and establishments for essential services.

Alsons Development and Investment Corporation (Alsons Dev), the developer behind Aldevinco and Poblacion, aims to continue Aldevinco's legacy of promoting local and Mindanaoan culture, heritage, and identity through Poblacion Market Central.

In line with this, Poblacion's seminal debut was hosting Mindanao Art 2021, the biggest celebration of creativity featuring the works of over 300 artists from all over the region, which attracted thousands of art enthusiasts last October.

With the exhibit's wide reach, Mindanao Art 2021 has garnered more sales than its two past installations.

"The public demand to see the artworks has been overwhelming," says Kublai Millan, a prolific Mindanaoan artist and the President of Lawig Diwa Inc., which is the organizing body behind the event.

He adds, "Through the exhibit, we have created city-wide appreciation and expanded cultural consciousness while putting food on the artists' tables."

It is in the same vein that Poblacion Market Central reopened its doors last December to hold its first-ever Christmas event entitled Pasko sa Poblacion, where a curated mix of some of Davao's best art, retail and food brands were invited to set up pop-up shops. Local artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to showcase their works and products as the perfect gifts for Christmas while providing customers with an exciting array of shopping and dining choices.

At the moment, while Poblacion Market Central is on soft opening, Aldevinco shops, Fasta Pasta, Hootsa, Luckydog PH, MJ, Lilo & Kent Landscaping and Ornamentals/ Naye's Garden and Green House will continue their pop-up stores until March this year. Also staying on until March is Kublai Millan's impressive 73-piece exhibit entitled "Prosperity Paintings."

Soon joining Poblacion's pop-up line-up is Taq by Hey Monday Deli. The highly-followed resto on Instagram is slated to do pop-ups on the third and fourth weekends of January. Talks with other retail and food brands are also underway to give customers more shopping and dining options to look forward to as Poblacion Market Central gears up for its grand opening in March.

Customers can likewise look forward to the launch of Poblacion's virtual mall developed in partnership with Ideahub IT Solutions Inc. to offer customers more ways to shop, as well as to assist tenants in the ever-changing business environment. As a preview, a microsite for the pop-up shops is in the works to allow customers to conveniently browse and buy items online and have their orders delivered to their doorstep.

Poblacion Market Central is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Per IATF's Alert Level 2 guidelines, walk-ins of all ages are welcome provided that minimum health protocols are followed. No prior booking is required. (PR)