Friday, October 24, 2014

Asu Smokehouse: Satisfying Customers One Plate at a Time

Sonny Orsini, part owner of Asu Smokehouse, passionately explained his dream of opening up a barbeque restaurant on Guam and the hard work that it took to get him where he is at now. At the time, Sonny was living in the U.S running his restaurant for about eight years. Nostalgic of the island life, his family, and the desire to reconnect with his culture, Sonny and his family made the call to relocate to Guam. Leaving his restaurant was difficult with all the time he invested and the work that he put in, but he thought why not do something that he loved while being surrounded by the people he loved. So, he called up his brother, Buddy, and they teamed up to make Asu Smokehouse come true.

Before reaching Guam, Sonny was already doing his research and trying to find out how he could go about opening up this business. He thought that Chamorro Village would be a great location and applied for a spot. Through that application process, Sonny sought the guidance of (former) business counselor, Frank Toves, at the Guam Small Business Development Center (Guam SBDC). He explained that Frank was instrumental in the technical and logistical assistance on top of the business planning in guiding him and Buddy. Furthermore, he stated that Frank really talked them through the process of how they were going to conduct their business, ways in finding efficiency, product costing, and clarifying their goals and objectives. Through multiple counseling sessions, Sonny and Buddy Orsini submitted their application and business plan and then were vetted and approved by Chamorro Village.

Asu BBQ plate featuring their mouthwatering
beef brisket with red rice, slaw, and homemade BBQ sauce.
Sonny and Buddy strive to provide a sustainable, value added product for their customers. As much as possible, they try to reduce their carbon footprint by not using petroleum, charcoal, propane, or electricity. Instead, they use a variety of tangantangan, mango, and a Filipino-indigenous wood, called chico with a sheet of newspaper and a match to burn a steady fire for over 12 hours. Sonny uses locally harvested sea salt from Inarajan Bay and his products are all made from scratch. Asu adds value to their products with the employees who handle them. Some of these individuals, Assistant Pit Masters, are from the Guam Community College Apprenticeship Program where Sonny and Buddy give lessons and hands-on practice on butchering, making sauces and rubs, fire management hazards and safety precautions, and high quality control. Currently, there are five employees creating and serving up delicious BBQ at Asu.

Asu Smokehouse brought a unique way of barbequing to the island that no one was doing. Smoking meats such as brisket, pork, and ribs overnight over a slow burning fire was what diversified Asu from other restaurants offering BBQ plates. Asu stands by “quality before anything”. They start off with the very best cuts of Certified Angus beef and cut no corners. This—along with other factors—has led them to win numerous competitions including Grand Championship for the Jack Daniel's Smokin Grills BBQ Competition 2014 and most recently the Grand Champion Grill Master at the annual Tumon BBQ Block Party held on July 5, 2014.

In the short run, Asu Smokehouse plans to implement greater efficiencies with the determination to always create a better product. They hope to overcome transportation issues that create personnel challenges. Their long term goals are to increase their product distribution and one day subcontract their wood. If you’ve been to Asu, you may have noticed their hours of operation sign, and yes it is true, they are collecting wood on Sundays.

Lastly, after touring the back-end operations of how Asu stores their wood and smokes their meat, Sonny wanted to share what he learned from starting his business to future business owners. He said, “Commit. Follow through. Be prepared to work like you have never worked before. But make time for family. Follow your dreams, because people will appreciate the amount of work you put in and what you have sacrificed. If you love what you do, then it’s not work.”

Asu Smokehouse is a restaurant located at the Chamorro Village closest to the Paseo Stadium entrance. They are open Monday – Saturday from 11:00am – 2:00pm and on Wednesday Night Market from 5:00pm – 9:00pm. For lunch special inquiries and to place your order, please call 671-979-1278 or visit their Facebook page at or e-mail them at

For more information on how the Guam SBDC can assist you, please call 671-735-2590 or visit our website at


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Copy Center Opens for Business

By Geraldine Mitagyow
Business Advisor

The Copy Center, newest tenant of the Yap Small Business Development Center (SBDC) which houses the Business Incubator, opened its doors for the first day of business on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.  The Copy Center is a new start-up sole proprietorship owned by Anthony C. Tareg, Jr., which specializes in copying, printing and multi-media services.

Storefront view of The Copy Center
Anthony (Tony) was born and raised on Yap Island.  After finishing high school on Yap, he attended Palau Community College for two years and transferred to the University of Guam where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management in 2000.  He returned to Yap and started working at the Yap Media Division in various capacities including Yap State protocol officer and radio announcer.  After 10 years with the Media Division, he was hired in 2009 as the general manager of The Office Place, a branch of Copy Masters International headquartered in Hawaii.  The Office Place provides office furniture and equipment as well as small-scale copying and printing services.

 In his years managing The Office Place, Tony came to see a real need for copying/printing & multi-media services in Yap.  While there currently exists a couple of small businesses providing multi-media services on island, there is none that can do large scale printing & multi-media services.  Tony saw this as a business opportunity that can fulfill the needs of government agencies, private organizations and individuals that often have to place orders off-island for large posters and banners.   While there are many options for ordering off-island, these often require lead time and orders may take up to several weeks or months.   As Tony stated, “Providing these same services on island will meet the demand and need for faster “NOW” service.”  
Tony began discussions and negotiations with the parent company in Hawaii to privatize the copying and printing services of The Office Place.  The parent company was supportive of the idea with the agreement that The Copy Center would buy all its supplies from The Office Place.  It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
The process that led to the opening of The Copy Center is a lengthy and challenging one.  Just like any start-up, it required careful planning, negotiations, some trial and error, and just plain hard work and complete dedication.  Sometimes, however, fate brings in great timing, as happened in this case.  About the time that Tony had begun to put together his business idea, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) opened a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the public for the space and equipment at the center formerly occupied by an older Print Shop.  He submitted his proposal and was selected as the winner among several other bidders.  
According to Tony, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a great resource in the development of his business plan.  Business counselor Michael Gaan assisted him in “crunching” numbers to determine the feasibility of the project and to put together the final business plan.  But the biggest benefit, he says, is the incubator space which he is leasing for only $300.00 per month.  To put that in perspective, leases for most places around Colonia town range anywhere from $800 to $2400 per month.
Owner Tony Jr. left snap a quick photo with two of his employees.
While most business start-ups seek financing from lending institutions, The Copy Center is one exception.  Through careful planning and frugal savings, Tony was able to start his business without additional funding from outside lenders.  He personally invested his own funds as equity for the business.  As part of his proposal he negotiated a deal with the Yap State Government to take over the space which included copying and printing equipment formerly used by the old government-operated Print Shop.  The old Print Shop had been out of service for many years; consequently, the machines/equipment had been lying dormant as well and needed a fair amount of repair work. 
One of the biggest challenges in the start-up process for Tony is cleaning the space and bringing the equipment up to service functionality.   Countless hours after work and weekends were spent cleaning out the space and repairing the old equipment in preparation for the opening day.  But all the hard work is worth the triumphant opening day for the Copy Center.  As Tony put it, “Opening day is a significant accomplishment, but is just the first step in a series of stepping stones in the life of the business.”  The owner envisions the next steps to entail purchasing more machines to accommodate the demand for on-island printing for big-sized posters and banners within the next year.  After that, the Copy Center will start producing custom-made coffee mugs, T-shirts and other items with specialized printing. 
While the Copy Center expects the government agencies to be its biggest customer, Tony is confident that his services will fill an unmet need from private organizations and individuals.   One of the most frequently requested services that the Copy Center is already performing are customizing pictures of loved ones who have passed away.  Customers often bring in photos of loved ones and request the backgrounds of the pictures to be changed and ask for different blown-up sizes of the photos.  In addition to other services, frequent requests for oversized posters and banners give Tony assurance that he will have sufficient demand for his services to ensure steady business growth for the time to come. 

Asked what advice Tony would give to others who want to start a business, without hesitation Tony answered, “You have to give 110% to the business! While you may have a great business idea, if you don’t invest a great deal of your time and energy to it, you won’t be successful.”

If you are interested in knowing more about our services, programs, projects, and activities of the Yap SBDC, please contact (691)-350-4801/2 or visit our webpage at

Friday, October 10, 2014

The SBPA Advisory Council Recognizes Outstanding Team Members

The 2nd Annual School of Business & Public Administration Advisory Council Awards Ceremony was held at the SBPA Resource Room at the Leon Guerrero Building on October 03, 2014. Dr. Annette T. Santos, SBPA Dean (Interim) hosted the event where SBPA Advisory Council Chairman Mike Naholowaa and Dr. Anita Enriquez, SVP ASA opened with the welcoming remarks. The categories included Outstanding Administrative Staff, Outstanding Faculty in Research/Scholarship, Outstanding Faculty in Teaching, Outstanding Administrator, Outstanding Faculty in University and Community Service, Outstanding Outreach Counselor, and Outstanding Student Organization of the Year. 

Lorie Sablan demonstrated minimal absenteeism, sound time and attendance, and effective communication serving over 15 years at the Guam Small Business Development Center and was therefore nominated for the "Outstanding Administrative Staff" Award. Casey Jeszenka received the "Outstanding Outreach Administrator/Program Manager" Award for his positive feedback from community partners, and demonstrated securing of new community partners. Fred Granillo received the "Outstanding Outreach Counselor" demonstrated achievement of goals, quality of outcomes for clients, received positive feedback from his clients and community partners. We thank these individuals for their continued dedication and hard-work to the School of Business and Public Administration and the Guam Small Business Development Center.

The SBPA Advisory Council also recognized Dr. Ron McNinch with the Outstanding Faculty in Research and Scholarship Award, Dr. Fred Schumann with the Outstanding Faculty in Teaching Award, Prof. Ron Aguon with the "Outstanding Faculty - University and Community Service" Award, Mrs. Natasha Cruz with the Outstanding Administrative Award, the Junior Accountants Society received the Outstanding Student Organization of the Year, and Dr. Maria Ruane received Special Honorary Award. In addition, Ms. Fernabel Dela Pena was recognized with a Plaque of Appreciation along with Dr. Anita Enriquez for serving over 15 years at the School of Business and Public Administration.

Thank you to all the faculty and staff and congratulations to all the nominees and awardees for their continued dedication in providing quality service to our students and community and striving to achieve the University of Guam's mission "To enlighten, to discover, to serve."