BY ISAIAH JOHN AGUON
Three businesses in Guam have opened for operations, offering various foods and desserts to the island.
Rich and Kylie Huang are the owners of the Ice Una Guam franchise, which launched operations in 2022 in Tamuning, across the Pacific Islands Club Resort Guam.
The Huangs, both from Taiwan, are also the owners of the American Chocolate Factory in Guam.
Bringing Ice Una to the island —which originated in Taiwan — was a way the Huangs hoped to bring economic activity and growth to the tourism industry.
“In the past few years Guam faced the COVID pandemic, the island was very quiet,” said Kylie Huang. “Before that we had a lot of tourists coming and everything was open and active. During the past few years, we were thinking about what we can do to bring customers to Guam.”
The couple started researching in September 2021 on what franchises best fit the Guam community. About a month later, the Huangs signed a contract. “We thought shaved ice is suitable for the local community because the weather is hot,” Kylie Huang said. That was around the time the local Ice Una employees were sent to train in Taiwan. The training covered sanitization and creating procedures of the deserts Ice Una is known for, like shaved ice. The Taiwanese snow ice cafe creates shaved ice, boba, and tapioca from scratch.
“The shaved ice served here is very soft and smooth. It is a company secret why the texture is in between ice cream and shaved ice,” Kylie Huang said.
Prior to opening, there were challenges that occurred, she told the Journal. Those issues include finding labor, shipping delays, obtaining a business license, and COVID-19.
“We had a hard time looking for employees,” she said. “Shipping the machine from Taiwan had a bit of a delay. It took six months to open after everything arrived. The lockdown and COVID positives slowed down the process of opening. We were waiting for approval from the government of Guam and the opening was delayed. It took from May to August to get a license from the Department of Revenue and Taxation. There were only a couple of people who worked in the department.”
Rich Huang said Guam welcomed Ice Una during the opening in September 2022. “The first months of opening the business was crazy. We didn’t expect that many people to support us,” he said.
The 1,200 square foot establishment is painted with pastel colors like blue, pink, and white, while also decorated with painting by local artists to bring the “Guam feel to … store,” Rich Huang said. “It is simple, but we wanted to try to make it different from regular Guam cafes.”
Popular items on the menu so far are the Mango Madness and Chocolate Forest.
The cafe can occupy up to 50 people. The Huangs said they plan on eventually expanding the franchise to “multiple locations” across the island.
“We are looking at some places but nothing concrete, but we are looking to expand,” Rich Huang said.
The hours of operation are 12 to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednseday and 5 to10 p.m. on Tuesday.
Crumb Artisan Bakery held its soft opening on Jan. 21 at the Micronesia Mall Pay-Less Supermarket.
Aubry Duenas is the owner and manager of the bakery that occupies 231 square feet of the 40,362 square foot Pay-Less. She said she started baking as early as 2-years-old with her mother. “I have been baking my whole life,” Duenas said. “It started with my mom at home.”
That was what sparked the interest in pursuing baking as a business venture, she told the Journal. “Then I decided to take it on as a professional career, eventually,” Duenas said. “I always knew that I’d open my bakery at some point, and the Pay-Less Markets family was kind enough to let me into their store.”
The concept of the bright bakery painted pink and white is “baking the world a better place,” she said. “I want to spark happiness for every customer that tries our pastries.”
The bakery has about 12 to 15 items on the menu from breakfast pastries to cream puffs, and macaroons to cakes. Cream puffs and one of the breakfast menu items have been the top sellers of the bakery so far. “Cream puffs have been incredibly popular as well as the spinach artichoke pillows.”
Duenas said there has been positive feedback from the public. “The support has been incredible. The feedback has been just as great, and people are looking forward to trying the rest of the menu as we approach our grand opening, which is on Feb. 4,” she said.
Although the bakery just recently opened, Duenas said there are already plans to expand the menu, offering more treats to customers. She said, “We are expecting to launch our macaroons, which I think everyone will enjoy, as well as more of our cake flavors.”
The bakery operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. “We hope our guests and customers can experience the love that we put into all our baked goods, and we just hope to spread love and happiness with our concept and pastries,” Duenas said.
Studio JG Cafe opened its doors on Jan. 15 at the former Bank of Guam building in Tumon, offering pastries, smoothies, protein shakes, a creative space, and coffee to fuel your caffeine fix.
The JG in the cafe’s name are the initials of the name of the owner, Jenny Gong. She has been on the island for four years and is not only a new business owner but a songwriter, producer, and ceramic artist in Korea. She moved to the island in 2019 because her daughter is an international student, taking classes in Guam.
After moving to the island, Gong shared with the Journal that she had the desire to establish a new cafe to offer a space where island residents, tourists, and local artists can be imaginative. She said, “I wanted to create a cafe that was different from other cafes in Guam. I am also a ceramic artist and wanted to make a space for other ceramic artists to be creative and to host workshops. This cafe is going to be a space where we are going to be creating web dramas, mukbang and bringing K-pop artists to Guam for concerts … where fans and customers can meet K-pop artists. I also work with local artist STRAIGHTUPJED.”
The cafe’s logo, wall, and countertop serve a taste of nature and growth as all are painted green. The decorations displayed around the coffee shop are pottery and ceramics, hand made by Gong.
In opening Studio JG Cafe, she also wanted to bring “some taste of Korea to Guam.” “So, most of our drinks are imported from Korea,” Gong said. “So, you can try different and unique drinks that are very popular in Korea as well. You can find mango smoothies anywhere, but we have kiwi smoothies which are very popular in Korea. We also have a citrus orange smoothie that is very popular, as well as a protein shake and so we have those drinks available for purchase.”
It took about seven months to get the business operating in the 2,122 square foot facility. The cafe also has a drive thru. The business so far has had a “steady flow of customers,” she said.
Studio JG Cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
In the Northern Mariana Islands, Kamakazee’s reopened its doors Jan.16, with a new menu, offering more of a quick grab and go meal for Saipan residents.
The last menu had a sit down and mingle kind of style, serving steak, seafood and other meal options.
The new menu is served with the experience of a fast-food restaurant.
Reeka Cruz, owner of Kamakazee’s restaurant said, “We are most known for Poke Nachos. Our Poke nachos consist of tuna poke, spicy crabmeat, cucumbers, furikake, edamame and nori, or topped over crispy wonton chips.”
The menu change came following feedback from customers who shared they weren’t available to dine in during lunch, the time Kamakazee’s is only open for.
“We changed due to cutting hours shorter by just running lunch and I had the perspective of customers who are hungry but didn’t really have much time to dine in,” said Cruz, who is from Tinian and currently living in Saipan. “I also saw what the people wanted more, so I wanted to offer new things to my customers but also stay close to their comfort zone and price range.”
Kamakazee’s first opened in September 2021 with a mission to “share all the wonderful food I have to offer,” Cruz said, “Cooking is my passion, and it brings me joy.”
Kamakazee’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday. It is located at 3800 Beach Road Garapan, Saipan, across from Lollipops and Garapan Mobil
gas station. mbj