BY MORGAN LEGEL
As Guam’s economy continues to recuperate from the massive hit due to Coronavirus, more new businesses continue to open throughout the island.
LetGuam, a new delivery service, boasts services other similar services haven’t incorporated yet. From food, grocery, flower and water delivery to on-demand services including therapy, personal training, tutoring and beauty services, LetGuam is built with the customer in mind.
Co-founder Matthew Park said the application for the business launched at the end of March. “Right now, we’re still emailing and gathering stores and services for the customers,” he said. Currently, LetGuam has around nine drivers signed up, along with five people for headquarters.
“We really wanted to make something available especially to those people who have disabilities and don’t have jobs,” he said. “We want to give them easier access to jobs through signing up with us; compared to others that only do food-delivery, we also do provider services, like car cleaning and tutor lessons.”
Even though the premise of the service is having different services at the user’s fingertips and in their homes, Park said he didn’t think COVID-19 would have much effect on the business.
“I feel like Guam is very safe compared to elsewhere, so we had the confidence to start this service here, and get it going,” he said.
Champion Painting Specialty Services Corp., a construction company, has opened an office on island. With offices in Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Indiana and New York, Guam is Champion’s first venture outside of the U.S. mainland.
“I’ve been trying to find opportunities in the defense sector, especially the Indo-Pacific region,” said Zack Beehner, military programs coordinator for Champion. “When we looked at all the places we could go, it just made sense to go to a U.S. territory like Guam, especially considering they already have a military presence.”
Champion’s warehouse and Guam headquarters is located behind the Mobil gas station in Agat, across from Inn on the Bay.
Currently, the company is working with Thomas Industrial Coatings, together forming Thomas Champion Joint Venture. The duo is working on repairing two above-ground storage tanks on Andersen Air Force Base.
“We are also actively pursuing work at the Naval Base as well as other opportunities on island,” said Beehner. “We have also been looking for projects elsewhere, like Tinian.”
Currently, Champion is focused on expanding more in the region, as well as hiring more employees. Beehner said the company is relying heavily on local businesses, whether in construction or materials, for their projects.
He said he plans on working with the Guam Chamber of Commerce and other organizations.
“We want to provide the opportunity for the people of Guam — as the work grows, we’re going to have a need for personnel at all levels of operations,” he said. “In particular, we would like to help develop the skill and certify coating-craft workers on Guam; we’re already in contact with the Guam Contractors Association’s Trades Academy.”
All in all, Beehner said, “A driving factor in what we will be doing in the region will be the defense sector, but we are always looking to work with local government and companies.”
The head of the Guam office is Yvette Ibanez, formerly the business specialist with Pacific Human Resource Services Inc.
A new California Pizza Kitchen location will be opening in Hagatna in May. The restaurant will occupy the previous Proa Restaurant space, across from the Chamorro Village.
Darren N. Talai, president of International Dining Concepts LLC, which does business as CPK, said the island’s second location is in the “final stage” of completing the process for licenses.
“Assuming the licensing process is completed when we think,” Talai said, “The first phase of opening the restaurant will be, hopefully, the second week of May, and will include take-out and delivery.” He also said the first-phase opening will include a grab-and-go section inside the restaurant as well. During this phase, construction will still be going on to finish the dining room and patio area.
As far as dine-in, he said that won’t start until sometime in July.
“We decided to go this direction because of the unsettled situation with dine-in and occupancy,” he said.
The Guam Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers location was due to open on May 2 at the Micronesia Mall — a few days later than planned, after a health inspection was cancelled and there was a delay in the occupancy permit. David Martinez will head the restaurant as general manager, with about 50 employees in tow.
“The vast majority of Raising Cane’s restaurants are stand-alone and drive-throughs, so this one is really unique,” said Allison J. Urbick, regional marketing director for Raising Cane’s in Guam, Hawaii and Alaska, and the community marketing manager for the U.S. Panda Restaurant Group, who is based in Hawaii.
Cane’s chicken lovers, new and old, can expect the same products at every Raising Cane’s location throughout the world.
“We spent a lot of time with our sourcing, even air freighting things to make sure they stay fresh and up to our standard. We are willing to pay more to make sure you guys get it fresh with the exact same ingredients,” Urbick said.
She also said she thinks the new restaurant will be popular on-island.
“People in Guam love food, and we looked at our success in similar cultures, like Hawaii. It really felt like a good opportunity for Guam to have their own Raising Cane’s,” she said.
While the restaurant will not be available on any third-party delivery applications, a Raising Cane’s app is available for download to order online and pick up.
The Micronesia Mall location for Raising Cane’s, which was previously occupied by Hibachi-San and is adjacent to Panda Express, is currently the only one planned by the Panda Restaurant Group, which does business as Panda Express and Raising Cane’s.
“We have more Panda Expresses on Guam than we ever thought we would have, so we will see how Raising Cane’s goes,” Urbick said. There are three Panda Express locations in Guam.
On island, Raising Cane’s would like to get involved within the community and support military service members. Urbick said organizations can request donations and hold fundraisers at the Guam location as well. Panda Express has also been supportive of community endeavors.
In Hawaii, where the franchise has other Cane’s locations, since tourism has opened the future looks bright, Urbick said.
“That combination of locals getting out and that increase in tourism where restaurants and businesses in the high-tourist areas have begun re-opening their doors. Our locations in high-tourist areas are all open. The local support of businesses is amazing,” she said.
Other business also plan on opening or re-opening their doors in Guam.
A new Subway Restaurant location opened on Route 3 on April 27.
From May 5, Roy’s Restaurant within the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa will be open for lunch Wednesday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and launching a new menu.
Churrasco Brazilian Steakhouse & Salad Bar will once again welcome guests for dine-in starting on May 7.
On May 14, Regal Theaters’ Regal Guam Megaplex will begin housing movie-goers again.
Longhorn Steakhouse, California Mart, and Capitol Kitchen will all be opening soon as well. mbj