BY RIANNE PEREDO
Journal Staff

Loyola

Local businesses in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are reacting to COVID-19 effects on the economy. They are either quietly closing or adjusting to how they do business, depending on executive orders or market downturn.

Acanta Mall’s The Baker’s World closed after eight years of business operations in mid-April.

Armine A. Loyola, co-owner of Loyola Guam Inc., which does business as Baker’s World and Korned Foodtruck, said the focus of the business has shifted.

Baker’s World, shown on Aug. 14 at the Acanta Mall, closed its retail location due to the pandemic.

Photo by Rianne Peredo

“The business is still open, [but we’re] relocating our manufacturing end; retail — not so much. We’re gonna concentrate on the distribution [side],” Loyola said.

The new location for their distribution base is still in discussion between her and co-owner Irwin Loyola, but the pair have taken advantage of resources such as the Guam Economic Development Authority’s Guam Small Business Pandemic Assistance Program.

Loyola said approximately 80% of Baker’s World’s customer base relies on tourism, including hotels and private events such as weddings, while 20% is from a direct local clientele.

In addition to handmade cakes, cookies and other baked goods, the store also offered pastry decorating workshops, according to Journal files. The workshops served as an opportunity for the bakery to sell decorating tools and supplies to customers.

MerYenda, which sold food from the Philippines, closed Sept. 1.

Photo courtesy of MerYenda

Korned currently has four employees; some of its staff were furloughed.

“Korned Foodtruck is what’s keeping us up for now,” Loyola said. “Our employees are still okay; we have them working on the food truck. We cut hours, but so far we are able to maintain some of the income that they were getting from us before.”

Prior to the pandemic, the food truck was a vendor at the CHamoru Village’s Wednesday night market. It is currently located at the former Dededo Flea Market lot on Tuesday, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Skinner Plaza in Hagåtña on Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Travel Pacificana, a tour agency which has been in business on Guam for 44 years, announced on Aug. 14 that its last day of business operations is set for Sept. 15.

The governor’s declaration of PCOR 1, effective Aug. 16 “pushed [the business] over the edge,” Travel Pacificana said, also attributing its closure to five months of slow business. mbj