BY MAUREEN N. MARATITA
The New Year will bring changes to one of Guam’s longtime dental practices. A familiar figure of standing in the island’s dental profession will take the reins as its owner retires.
William C. “Clay” Hightower II and his wife, Lourdes “Laling” Cruz Eustaquio Hightower, have purchased Paradise Smiles Dental Clinic from Kenny W. Bourgeois.
“I bought the property, the building, the Paradise Smiles name and good will,” Hightower told the Journal.
He said Hightower Productions LLC will begin doing business as Paradise Smiles from Jan. 22.
The property is 1,500 square meters, and the building is 4,000 square feet. This is the same size as Hightower’s former clinic in Chalan San Antonio, he said. “It’s laid out a little differently.” That clinic was in partnership with his father, W. C. Hightower Sr.
The initial investment to purchase the business was $500,000, Hightower said, which the Bank of Guam financed. “I want to give them a huge shout-out, he said.” The bank had facilitated the loan quickly, he said. “It ended up being done in a month. They didn’t have to do that.”
Hightower said the bank’s founder — Jesus Leon Guerrero — had made the decision to finance Hightower Dental when the senior Hightower initially opened the practice.
Hightower graduated with a 1995 doctorate in dental surgery from the University of Iowa. “It was the number school [for dentistry] at the time,” he said.
Since then, Hightower developed a thriving practice and Paradise Smiles will be no different, he said. “It’s a boutique-style dental clinic that caters to local clientele and in addition to military dependents.” Hightower expects to add to that, he said. “We plan to keep supporting [military] veterans.”
Founded in 1999, Paradise Smiles has five staff in the clinic area to include a practice manager, plus a dental equipment mechanic. Hightower praised long-term staff at the clinic and said patients can begin scheduling appointments with his team. “They’re ready to go.”
Paradise Smiles is located at 384 Gov. Carlos Camacho Road, and can be reached on 646-2010.
Lourdes Hightower — an educator for about 15 years — will be joining the practice to deal with a variety of duties. “She is a 30-year veteran of dentistry,” Hightower said. “She worked for years with dentists.”
Joseph A. C. Certeza will also join the team as an accountant.
Future plans include growth of the practice and renovation of the building, Hightower said.
The commitment of purchasing a property for a dental clinic is unusual, Hightower said. “There’s only about four dentists that own their own clinics,” he said. He estimated there are about 40 dentists on Guam, though profession numbers may have experienced growth, he said. “There could be more now.” mbj