BY MORGAN LEGEL
Guam’s economy is allowing for new businesses to continue opening, especially ones geared at getting out in the community, whether that be socializing, outdoor activities or eating.
Helping Hands Adult Daycare was set to open July 1, providing a new service to Guam’s manåmko’.
Maelonie Tamondong, president of TGT Guam LLC, which does business as Helping Hands Adult Daycare and The Giving Tree Preschool Center, said Helping Hands is a social adult daycare “for our elderly that need a place to be during the day, when their caregivers or children are at work or have something to do.”
Similar to childcare, the adult daycare provides a place to bring those aged 65 or older during the day, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Helping Hands will help care for those elders who need a little extra supervision throughout the day, but not 24-hour care or a personal nurse. In order to qualify, the adult must still be mobile, independent and able to participate in a group setting. An example would be someone prone to falling, who needs reminders about taking their medicine, or who needs help cooking meals.
“We just want to provide a place that they can come that’s a place where they want to be to socialize and give them a new lease on life,” Tamondong said.
Helping Hands provides activities that include community partners and special guests coming to the center, a resting area for naps, a television area, hot meals, drinks and transportation, if needed.
“It’s not bad that they need help; we just want to provide a high-quality place for them to hang out,” she said.
The goal of Helping Hands is that through the extra help and stimulation, the adult daycare will help with a level of functioning, allowing the adults to remain independent for a longer time.
There are different options when using the adult daycare, with full-time, part-time, monthly, weekly and drop-in options. The most expensive option, drop-in service, is $88 a day, and the cost goes down from there, depending on how often the adult would need to be in the care of Helping Hands.
“Right now, being in my thirties, I have young children and I also have elderly parents,” Tamondong said. “There’s so much going on in the day — like work and other responsibilities. As much as we would like to be with them, it’s not the best to drag our elderly parents around with us. I needed something to help.”
Currently, the center has six employees, including enrollment specialists, program coordinators, a social worker and nurses.
“We want to partner with the families to provide the best care for the loved ones, and that’s what really sets us apart — it’s about each individual and the fact that they feel welcome and want to come here,” she said.
Buetta Scooters, a new micro-mobility platform for the local Guam community, is now selling electric scooters to the island residents.
“It’s the idea that we want to provide eco-friendly and clean technology for people to get around, even if they are struggling or don’t have a license,” said Nathan G. Aguirre, co-founder of Buetta.
Aguirre has two other partners in the business, John Ananich II, owner of Sidelines Bar and Grill, and John Wusstig Borja owner of Audious Guam, where the scooters are being sold.
Three models of Buetta scooters are being sold at the moment — Buetta Cruise, which can carry 220 pounds, get 15 to 20 miles per hour and run about 12 to 15 miles on one charge; Buetta Max which will take a rider up to 30 miles per hour for 20 to 27 miles; and Buetta Sport, which tops out at about 45 miles per hour, with a mileage of 37 to 43 on a charge. Both the Max and Sport can support up to a 300-pound rider.
As of publishing, the Cruise is on sale for $450, the Max costs $1,050 and the Sport costs $1,750.
Aguirre got the idea for Buetta scooters after finding an old scooter and fixing it up.
“That’s how I got into electric scooters,” he said. “It was fun, and so I was looking to upgrade, but there was really nowhere on Guam that supported this kind of transport.
“Seeing the benefits for myself, and the enjoyment I was getting out of it, I thought ‘Hey, this is a business to go into.’”
AltrXego Entertainment opened the Oka Park and Play, an outdoor event center, in May. For three months only this summer, May, June and July, the space is a place to provide COVID-19-safe events for the public.
“Everybody was locked down and quarantined,” said Benjamin Schiff, owner of AltrXego. “So, we wanted to offer a safe, outdoor venue for Guam to experience the ‘new normal’ and get back to having events, but in a safe COVID-19 protocol way.”
One of the main attractions at Oka Park and Play is the drive-in movies. On June 18, John Wick, Chapter 3: Parabellum was shown. Private screenings can also be booked.
Oka Park and Play is not just a drive-in movie theater; it’s an event center for all types of outdoor, safe and compliant events. From festivals or carnivals to business birthdays and personal parties, the space can be used for a variety of events.
“We’re planning to do these event centers every summer,” Schiff said.
With the events, Oka Park and Play offers concessions of sorts, in the form of food trucks, like Guam Barbecue Company and many others.
“We’ve been trying to work with as many food trucks as possible,” Schiff said.“I mean, who doesn’t love food trucks?”
The space also brings together local businesses, like the Vape Armory, Wise Owl Animal Hospital, Ene Wear Clothing, Island Footprints, Shira Fast Orthodics, Great National Insurance, Graphic Center and Island Color and Copy. Helping with things like finding and renting the property and insuring the property and creative licenses including staff uniforms, tickets and banners, these businesses came together to help create the safe space.
Lanai Grill opened in May, after more than a year and a half of construction. The new restaurant aims at “catering to locals with regional comfort food that’s got a big bang for your buck,” according to Ruben Mortera, co-owner and partner of Lanai.
“Even with tourism coming back, we still want to be 75% dependent on the locals. We have them in mind, and our prices, menu and portions all reflect that,” he said.
Mortera is no rookie to the food service industry in Guam, having opened numerous restaurants, like Napu Restaurant, and acting the operations manager for Haagen Dazs ice cream shops on Guam for some time. He’s been a chef and a restauranteur for most of his professional life.
However, his main role is not chef at Lanai, he leaves that to Cel Lachica. Along with Lachica, there are currently three other employees.
The 1,100 square-foot restaurant serves only boxed lunches, even if customers dine-in, Food will be served in a to-go container, regardless. Mortera said this is taken from Hawaiian culture and will be good for the restaurant and its bottom line.
He said it also adds to the ambiance of the restaurant.
“This is not a place to come in fancy clothes. We’ll take house clothes; we don’t judge. We just want the customer to leave with a happy opu, or stomach,” he said.
For the future, Lanai Grill is eyeing expansion, hoping to open small-scale shops in some of the most popular villages.
“But for now,” Mortera said, “We want to take it easy, take it slow and see where this road leads us.”
In other business news, the Mangilao location of Jamaican Grill is nearly finished and, barring any permitting issues, will be open by the end of July, Frank Kenney, co-owner and president of Jamaican Grill, told the Journal. (See “Jamaican Grill to expand in summer 2020” in the Nov. 11, 2019, issue of MBJ.)
The Latte Stone Cancer Clinic will be closing July 22, after many years of business on island. mbj