Friday, June 10, 2016

Green Flash Comics Now Located in Joeten Superstore Building

Interviewed by: Orrin Pharmin
SBDC Director/Business Advisor

Please tell us about yourself and your family I arrived on Saipan in 2002 to teach math at the Northern Mariana College (NMC).  I left NMC in 2009 and taught math at Marianas High School for two years.  I also taught computer course and math at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi in 2011-2012. I then returned to Saipan in 2012.  My wife's name is Susan, who works for IT&E as a purchaser and we have two children: James (11) and Sarah (9).

Why did you decide to start your own business?  While in Abu Dhabi, I attended the very first annual “Comic-Con.” Although there is a high demand for comic book merchandise as well as a high level of brand and character recognition, I discovered that there were no comic book merchandise stores in the entire country of the United Arab Emirates. The one condition for starting a store there is that I would need to already have a business elsewhere, so I decided to start one on Saipan since there were no other full comic merchandise stores on the island.

How did the Small Business Development Center and other resources help you?  They got me started in the right direction by helping me with the logistics of starting a business on the island.

What was the start-up process like? How did you fund your business?  I funded the business completely through personal savings I did not take out a loan or need to borrow money.  The start-up process took more than a year.  It's a lot of work and planning plus finding a suitable location.  This all took a bit of time.

What were some of the biggest challenges/experienced you experienced in the start-up process?  There were plenty of challenges, including finding a reasonably proper location, setting up how to make and receive orders, finding out what was in demand and what was not, establishing a clientele.

What is your most memorable triumph in your start-up process?  Just opening the doors for the first day of business knowing the store was absolutely ready to begin business.

What are your short-term and long-term plans for your business?  Short term: Moving to a better location (which has been accomplished).  Long term: Opening a store in the U.A.E.

What advice would you give to others who want to start a business at this time?  With the price of oil dropping as much as it has in the past year or so, plus the noticeable increase in construction on-island, it might be a good time to consider starting a business.

For more information on starting a new business or expanding your existing business, contact the CNMI SBDC at 670-664-3018. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Field Bar and Restaurant in Palau: Great Atmosphere and Food

By: Ltelatk Fritz
Service Center Director/Business Advisor
(Palau SBDC)

Spectacular sunset views at dusk overlooking the bay towards Ngarkebesang Island. The Field Bar & Restaurant is owned and operated by Wilbur “Olu” Williams. It is a family-friendly, full-service restaurant with a semi-formal, relaxing atmosphere. The Field is also a chic bar, open nightly from 6 pm to Midnight on weekdays and until 1 am on Saturday nights.

With the help of his family, Olu officially opened The Field for business in July 2013.  Although he did not have a lot of experience in the food & beverage industry, he has always envisioned owning and running a bar and restaurant.  He is extremely grateful for the support and knowledge he gained from watching his in-laws run their restaurant. After 24 years working for Palau’s national government, Olu was able to lease the old Peleliu Club—the original location on the ground floor at Uchul a Ngas in Medalaii—as well as obtaining capital to renovate, re-wire, and re-furnish the place with the help of his family. 

In 2015, he came to the Palau SBDC to seek assistance in expanding his business. Olu needed additional capital to increase his inventory and revitalize the business operations.  Palau SBDC was able to help The Field successfully retain three (3) existing jobs and maintain its operations, in addition to the acquisition of new capital obtained from the Palau National Development Bank.

Owner Wilbur "Olu" Williams
Today, The Field is thriving and riding the current waves of increased business from the locals celebrating the many holidays and annual festivities. As a restaurant, The Field serves up a great selection of delicious local and international cuisines. During the work week, The Field is open for lunch from 11 am to 2 pm. In the evening, it re-opens at 6pm for dinner every evening except for Sundays. Some of the local favorites include the Kangkum Tuna and the Sizzling Steaks.  The field also offers catering for in-house events such as birthday parties, baby showers, workshops, luncheons, office dinners, family reunions, class reunions, and even local customs.

The Field is a very family oriented business, as Olu and his family are very supportive of one another. The management is flexible and is often able to meet with the needs and requests of their clientele.  The Field also allows guests to book the venue and bring in their own food and drinks, with prior arrangements.  There’s a separate smoking area within the restaurant to make it convenient for everyone.  It is spacious enough to comfortably fit 70-75 guests.  

As for entertainment, The Field has two extra-large flat screen televisions—one at the bar and one in the dining area.  Live, local entertainment is available upon request for additional charges. 

The Field is open six days a week—Monday through Saturday. It is located at the Peleliu Club Building, next to Bai ra Maiberel and Palau Conservation Society, across from Happy Landing Shell Station. You can contact them at (680) 488-1888; e-mail; or follow them on Facebook. 

For more information on how the Palau SBDC can assist you whether starting or expanding your business, contact their office at 680-587-6004 or visit