BY MORGAN LEGEL
Businesses in Guam and beyond have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and make decisions to open, re-open or close based on what makes sense for each of them, although that’s a changing scenario.
Among those now doing business are The GuDog Supply, Office Smart and It’s Just Wings.
The GuDog Supply opened its virtual doors for customers earlier this year on Feb. 8. The pet-supply business is solely online, offering meet-ups for purchases made from the website. The business specializes in dog items which are not currently sold on island, including streetwear and fashion harnesses.
Co-owner Frank Quenga and Alexa Tiro own two dogs, and that is what sparked the idea to go into business.
“I saw people make social media accounts for their dogs, so we got one for Coco. We spoiled our dog to the max, and most of the products we ended up getting for the store are things we were getting for our dogs and actually tried,” Tiro said.
“We started off trying to make collars, which was a little too time-consuming, so we decided to leave that to the professionals and sell things from suppliers,” Quenga said.
While the couple had the idea for a while — they started making the collars in 2018 — the pair decided the pandemic was best time to get the business up and running.
“I ended up getting furloughed around March of last year,” Quenga said, “So I decided it was time to get the business going more and look into more dog products. I found a good vendor, and from there we just went for it — full send.”
Currently, The GuDog Supply carries dog collars, harnesses, leashes, shampoo wipes and toys. They are ordering treats and, ultimately, want to stock dog food to better provide for the island.
In the future, Quenga said, “We are looking into doing something like a pop-up style, trailer thing. We don’t really see us doing the whole building thing.”
Office Smart, an office supply store, opened in the Star Building, near Pika’s Café, last June.
First-time business owners Rani Vitug and John Martinez had always wanted to open a business, and, before the pandemic hit, they found the space and said to themselves, “Let’s do this.”
“One of the big reasons we decided to sell office supplies is because we felt we could give the customers a great value for their money,” said Vitug.
Vitug said customers are buying anything that can help set up a home office, from office chairs and printers to keyboards and mouses.
“As a business, you just have to listen to what the customer wants and try to provide that for them,” she said.
According to Vitug, opening a business during this pandemic has not been easy, but the duo is making the best of the situation they were given.
“We signed the lease, then lockdown happened, but we had to keep on pushing — no turning back,” she said. “We accept all the challenges it comes with.”
Vitug did say that, at the beginning, there were a lot of those challenges, but she found ways around them.
“We couldn’t even get our business license, so what we did in the meantime was to prep everything else — like putting in orders for whatever our vendors could work with us on,” she said.
Office Smart is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
It’s Just Wings, a new virtual brand offering delivery, has begun its operations. Virtual brands are new brands operated under the roof of an existing brick-and-mortar restaurant. It’s Just Wings is operated by Nakicos Corp., which does business as Subway Restaurants and Chili’s Grill & Bar, and is based in the same kitchen as Chili’s.
Marcos Fong, managing director of NAKICOS Corp., said, “Because It’s Just Wings does have its own, unique identity, we don’t want it to ride off or be influenced by the other brands that we have.”
The menu consists of bone-in and bone-out wings, as well as fried pickles and fries. Sauces for the wings include buffalo, honey-Chipotle, Carolina mustard, cream sriracha, ranch, sweet onion and Santa Fe.
Another sign of the times is the number of businesses that have closed.
These include Linda’s Café in East Agana, Island Foot Specialists and Aiko’s Ramen in Saipan.
Among those that have re-opened are Kahtre Bistro in Hagatna. After closing in September, the restaurant re-opened two months later in November
In the Kitchen Inc., which does business as Kitchen Lingo, closed in August, after a member of its team tested positive for the Coronavirus. According to the restaurant’s Facebook, the restaurant plans on re-opening at some point, with no date noted.
Other new businesses include:
- Drone Delivery Station, which is the by-product of the strategic partnership between Bella Wings Aviation’s drone business initiative in Guam and Chicago-based Valqari’s industry-leading patented technology. A Jan. 11 press release said the initiative is “in response to the needs for urgent deliveries of medicines and other supplies. The businesses aim to provide “efficient logistic solutions.”
- Kitchen TenTen, serving Japanese Food (In Micronesia Mall’s food court)
- 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily
- Western Union (Inside Tsibugan Kitchen in Yigo, adjacent to Yigo Pay-Less)
- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- Piggy House Saipan, serving Korean food
- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday
- 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
- Island Falafel & More, serving Middle Eastern, vegetarian and vegan food (In Chamorro Village)
- 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday
- Closed on Sunday
- Top Shoppe Guam in Tamuning, selling toys
- 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday
- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday. mbj