Friday, September 30, 2016

Kitchen Lingo: Inspired by Guam’s Land and Sea

By: Nicole Tesiro
Network Program Associate
(Pacific Islands SBDC Network)

The exterior of Kitchen Lingo during dinner. 
  (Photo taken from
Chef Lingo Quichocho was raised in the village of Santa Rita. He grew up learning to cook from family and friends in the back kitchens of Southern Guam.  After high school, Lingo received his certification in Culinary Arts from National Culinary and Baking School in San Diego, California. He relocated back to Guam in 2013 after working in kitchens from Massachusetts to San Diego anxious to share his passion with the people of Guam.

With the assistance of the Guam SBDC, Denise Mendiola – Senior Business Advisor and Women in Business Program Coordinator guided Chef Lingo through the start-up process. He stated that the SBDC helped layout the groundwork for his business. Denise was very knowledgeable, resourceful, and generous with information that allowed Kitchen Lingo to be competitive in the restaurant industry. 

Kitchen Lingo is owned and operated by Chef Lingo Quichocho along with Lenny and Pika Fejeran, owners of Pika’s Café. They opened Kitchen Lingo on May 1, 2015 in the heart of Downtown Hagatna. Their mission is “To practice uncompromising commitment to quality, sourcing the best local ingredients possible, serving innovative, chef-driven and value-focused craft food and drinks in a chic, intimate atmosphere driven by our island hospitality.”

Chef Lingo finishes off plating during lunch hour. 
(Photo taken from
The menu at Kitchen Lingo takes the freshest ingredients from local vendors (Grow Guam Fresh, Farm-To-Table, and Fisherman’s Co-Op) and transforms them into unique, delicious dishes. For lunch you can find dishes such as the local fish with herb salsa, long beans, bok choy and edamame salad or the pulled duck sandwich with hoisin, cilantro pesto, and cucumber and papaya slaw. For dinner, they offer a salmon entrée with zucchini, kale, fennel, crab couscous, and soffrito. But their latest offering is the chef’s tasting. This is great if this is your first dining experience at Kitchen Lingo. Chef Lingo curates a six course prix-fixe meal giving you an opportunity to try multiple items on the menu. It is offered Monday through Wednesday for dinner only.

Kitchen Lingo is located on 153 Martyr Street Suite 101-A in the heart of Downtown Hagatna. They are open frpm Monday through Friday for lunch from 11:00am – 2:00pm and dinner from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. On Saturday, they are only open for dinner from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. For reservations, visit their website or call 671-472-5550. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Seminar on SBA Loans Draws Many Community Members

By: Orrin Pharmin
Service Director/Business Advisor

The recent business seminar entitled, “Funding Your Business through a SBA Loan” drew a number of participants who were looking for ways to start, expand, or grow their business.

The seminar was hosted by the Department of Commerce’s CNMI Small Business Development Center (SBDC) through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Guam Branch. The seminar was also held in partnership with the Northern Marianas College (NMC) with the support of the Commonwealth Development Authority (CDA), CNMI Department of Commerce, and the Let's MOVE! Marianas Alliance.

SBA Guam Branch Manger, Kenneth Lujan, is seen
 in the photo above conducting the SBA
workshop at the Northern Marianas College. 
“We were pleased with the turn out of the seminar and are glad that more and more people are taking advantage of these educational seminars that are free to the public,” said Orrin Pharmin, CNMI SBDC Director. “We will continue to work with our partners like NMC and CDA to increase the number of offerings we have for our small businesses.”

The presenter of the seminar, Kenneth Lujan, Guam SBA Branch Manager, talked about starting up or expanding businesses recovering from disasters, loan programs, and other programs to help businesses. “With CNMI’s emerging economy, there would be a need for alternative avenues of obtaining capital.  SBA’s loan programs would be a viable source that would help start-up and expanding businesses meet their financial needs.  Understanding where to find the funds and how each program works would be beneficial to the small business concern,” said Lujan.

For more information on the CNMI SBDC, please contact their office at 670-664-4081 or visit

Friday, September 16, 2016

An Interview with Sakura Car Rental Owner Evelyn Palik

Interviewed by: Julian Abraham
Business Advisor
(Kosrae SBDC)

Julian Abraham, Kosrae SBDC Business Advisor, sat down with Evelyn Palik, owner of Sakura Car Rental to discuss the start-up process of opening up her business.

Please tell us about yourself and your family. I am Evelyn Billy Palik, 44 years of age, a proud resident of Lelu. I have 6 kids, and 1 grandchild.

display of cars for rent
Why did you decide to start your own business? I am currently operating a small retail store and wanted to extend the line of business into other areas, such as SUV rental service.
What experience do you have in this type of business? I do not have too much experience, but being exposed to “retailing” with my father during the good years in business, I am confident that I could do well.

How did the Small Business Development Center and other resources help you? The Kosrae SBDC assisted me by guiding me through the paperwork and business proposal process. In addition, they positively pushed me to reach my goals.
How did you fund your business? Most of the funding came from Pacific Islands Development Bank (PIDB) with a minimal amount being put up by us.
What were some of the biggest challenges/experienced you experienced in the start-up process? Seeking financial assistance and compiling a workable business plan were the challenges I faced in the start-up process.
What is your most memorable triumph in your start-up process? My most memorable triumph would be the approved financial assistance.
What are your short-term and long-term plans for your business? Short term plan: link up with partners and advertise. Long term plan: the business to be able to sustain itself by the end of the financial assistance period.
What advice would you give to others who want to start a business at this time? Starting a business could be challenging but help is just a phone call away, call the SBDC staff.

For more information on how the Kosrae SBDC can assist you, contact the main office at 691-370-2751 or visit our website at

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Creative Indeed Open in Hagatna

Michelle Pier is an artist and entrepreneur, born and raised on Guam and inspired by the simple beauty and complex history of her island home. She has Chamorro blood running through her veins, though her family is of a mixed background. Michelle resonates with the strong women in her family. One of those women was Agueda Johnston, her great-grandmother, who was known for her roles in building up education on Guam before and after WWII, as well as her efforts during WWII. She was beaten for being suspected by the Japanese of helping to hide the last American radioman to keep contact with the U.S. Her husband died in a concentration camp in Japan and she was left to raise their seven children on her own. Michelle admires her great-grandmother's endurance and strength, and made her own commitment to herself to live a full life of joy and purpose.

Michelle taught herself to draw and create things at a very young age and has always had a strong creative spark. She paints with thick flowing textures, layers of metallic and colorful scenery, sometimes abstract and always full of energy. She has taken some art classes at the University of Guam, as well as the City College of San Francisco, but mostly she loves to learn by experimenting. Michelle started painting consistently after she became a single mother of two and needed to create as a way to turn around a dark time in her life. She started a business in 2009 creating and selling art, and holding classes as well as large community events. She has since exhibited and sold hundreds of original acrylic paintings and prints locally and abroad. She has contributed art toward many local events and organizations. In 2015, the SBA awarded her the Home-based Business Champion of the year. She encourages people to follow their passions and live life to its full potential. Michelle hopes to continue sharing Guam's unique story with the world through art.

When asked how the Guam SBDC and other resources helped her in starting her business, Michelle stated, “When I was first getting started in my business, I was overwhelmed with the process and couldn't see a clear path ahead. Someone referred me to the free services offered by the Small Business Development Center, and I was immediately relieved that it even existed. At that stage in my business, I had no capital, and was in no financial position to be investing in business mentorship. I was assigned to Denise Mendiola, and met with her periodically to strategize what steps to take next in my business. She helped me to create a business plan step by step, and made the daunting task seem doable. She helped me to consider all options and resources available to me, whether I wanted to apply for a loan or seek other funding sources. She guided me through the process of applying for a space at the Chamorro Village, even though I ultimately shifted toward securing a physical space elsewhere. I really appreciated that Denise was a businesswoman herself and could relate to my experience. She helped me navigate my goals and create actionable steps throughout various stages in my business over the years. I absolutely love and appreciate that the service is ongoing and free of charge, as it brings relief and reassurance to know that I have the support of the SBDC if I come up against certain challenges. I recommend to anyone who is thinking of starting a business, or looking at expanding an existing business, to utilize the valuable services offered by the SBDC to navigate the steps of the process. They have been an instrumental part of my business's success over the years, and for that I am truly grateful.”

For more information on how the Guam SBDC can assist you, visit