There is a lot of buzz going around about a new café in Hagatna. Steve E. Shimizu president of Buzz Café Inc. said the idea was stirred up 10 years ago when two surfers were having coffee in a coffee shop in Hawaii. “I was going to college at Kapiolani Community College in Hawaii and one day Ray Flores and I were sitting having coffee when we looked around and said we could do this back home.”
Shimizu said when he came back to Guam he saw all the shops opening up and believed he missed the opportunity to open up a café or coffee shop of his own. Ten years later a trip to the Philippines and as he saw more coffee shops open in Hagatna he dusted off the idea and decided he would open up the business he thought of bringing to Guam as a college student. “If you’ve ever been to the Philippines coffee shops are practically on every block and they are all doing good business.” Flores is the secretary in the corporation while Tony Perez is the treasurer.
According to Shimizu the Buzz Café next to the Pacific News Building in Hagatna is a small operation with John Taimanglo as the chef and two employees taking care of the clientele as they request their favorite coffee beverage. However Shimizu said there are other items on the menu that people won’t find at other café’s. “If you are looking to try something different you should order the Buzzurkey or the Buzzed marlin.” The buzzurkey is the Buzz Café special version of a turkey sandwich “Iworked in a few restaurants in Hawaii and a friend shared withme a recipe and John and I improved on it.” All the fish is bought locally from the Fisherman’s Co op “It just tastes better than canned tuna. The marlin is specially smoked and everything tastes good. All the meats are fresh.”
While it was Shimizu’s wish to open up the café — he works for Ambros his family’s business as the assistant operations manager and a fight promoter. “I have a fulltime job and when I opened [the café] I took two weeks off from work. I just want to thank my family for allowing me to do this.”
Shimizu said everyone had a hand in the design and construction of the café. Shimizu said he and Flores put in the sweat equity while a friend provided the necessary carpentry and construction skills to complete the project. “I still have more ideas I want to add to the place.” He said “My wife Leticia also helped in the design of the décor. I really have to give her credit. She came up with the idea to have an area where people can sit and read.”
Shimizu shared his philosophy about purchasing furniture for the business. “I really believe in buying everything locally. I figured the amount of money I would have spent going to the Philippines or to Bali and then having everything shipped back would have cost me just as much as if I bought the furniture here. So everything you see here you can find on Guam if you look hard enough.” That includes the chairs stools tables decorative masks and paintings. “I even had one person ask me if I bought a mask from Africa.”
Shimizu said the total cost of investment to include materials labor and equipment was about $65 000. “But if you are looking for good coffee it’s all in the beans. We have different kinds of beans and different blends of beans and it all helps to give coffee its flavor.”
If you look behind the bookshelf in the corner of the café you can see Shimizu’s surfboard leaning against the wall. MBJ