BY MAUREEN N. MARATITA
The Hyatt’s ballroom was packed for the 98th Anniversary gala of the Guam Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 24.
Attendees were very happy to see each other, and the noise level was high.
But when the chamber’s 2022 Business Laureate and member of the Chamber’s Hall of Fame Joseph M. Crisostomo — better known as “Joey” Crisostomo began to speak, the room went quiet.
Crisostomo is the president of Cars Plus LLC, Cycles Plus LLC, Pacific Powersports LLC which does business as Harley-Davidson of Guam, Pacific Auto Leasing LLC which does business as Thrifty Car Rental, Car Wash Pros, which does business as Finish Line Express, JC22 Properties, and GoSolar Guam.
Anybody who knows Crisostomo — or who heard him speak at the gala, will know that those businesses did not fall into his or the Crisostomo family’s lap. The opening of those businesses was the result of hard work, and a drive that began as a young boy.
“In life, if you want something badly, you’ve got to work hard to get it,” Crisostomo told the gala audience. “I learned this at a very early age when I was only 10 years old. You see, I grew up in a military family and we were living in Miami, Florida. All my friends were riding bicycles to and from school and I wanted one. So, I got me a job selling newspapers. Waking up at 4:30 a.m., folding newspapers and then my dad driving me around the neighborhood to deliver them. Now picture this, me at 10 years old, knocking on doors asking, ‘Would you like to subscribe to the South Miami Herald?’ That was me. After a few months of this, I earned enough money to buy my first bicycle.”
The family’s move back to Guam saw Crisostomo develop an interest in racing, which would take him to Japan, and then a job with Henry Simpson at Island Suzuki, which spring-boarded him to a job at a dealership in Idaho, followed by a move to Hawaii. But racing and a job at Triple J Motors brought Crisostomo and his family back to Guam.
Cars Plus opened in 1999 and moved to its current 8.5-acre property in 2008. The property also houses Cycles Plus and the Harley-Davidson dealership, which became part of the group in 2017.
“Owning a business is not always easy or fun. Its hard work. There are a lot of challenges, a lot of sacrifices, but there are a lot of rewards. And the rewards far outweigh the challenges,” Crisostomo said.
Aside from Crisostomo and his wife Joyce Q. Crisostomo — who serves as executive director — the second generation and wider family are involved in the group’s business, each of them available not only to clients but to serve community organizations that reach out for support. Crisostomo has served on numerous community and professional boards, also as chairman.
He recognized not only his own family, and the Cars Plus Familia at the gala, but other family businesses that have contributed to Guam’s business community.
Success and contributions do not go unnoticed. Crisostomo is the 2004 Guam Business Magazine Executive of the Year and Joyce Crisostomo is the 2011 Guam Business Magazine Businesswoman of the Year. Jennifer Crisostomo Camacho is senior vice president of Cars Plus and has appeared multiple times on Guam Business Magazine’s “40 under Forty” list of achievers. Cars Plus was named 2006 U.S. Small Business Administration Business Person of the Year for Guam. mbj