Congratulations to these top-tier members of the business community for their long-standing contributions to our islands.
In the current economic climate, companies on Guam and in the Northern Mariana Islands are proud to show their success and longevity in serving the people of our islands. Guam Business Magazine presents some outstanding companies that are doing business in Micronesia, celebrating important milestones in 2019. Through inspiration and dedication, each of them has managed to stay on course in a region that has seen more than its fair share of challenges for decades.
These leaders in their fields have ensured quality and reliability to consumers and businesses alike and have given back to the communities in which they do business, setting an example for others to follow. Guam Business is privileged to honor these companies’ milestones and brings readers a special Corporate Anniversaries feature with a closer look at their endeavors.
Triple J Enterprises Inc.
Putting you first for 35 years
In 1984, Robert H. Jones and his wife, the late Margaret A. Jones, opened Triple J Motors, a small automotive dealership selling Subaru vehicles, Hino trucks and Bluebird buses. The company name came from the Jones’ three children: Julie, Jeffrey and Jay.
From these humble beginnings, Triple J Enterprises Inc. has grown into one of the most successful businesses in the region with operations in Guam, Saipan, Palau, Majuro, Ebeye, California, and North Carolina and more than 1,000 employees. Today, the company’s portfolio has expanded to include automotive, real estate, development, wholesale, restaurant, and hotel services with $135 million in assets company wide.
Robert H. Jones remains at the helm as chairman and CEO, and credits the business’ success to the company motto: Customers first. “Everyone talks about quality, but at Triple J, our belief is that [when] you put customers first in your business model, you will probably realize your desired result in growth and with the bottom line,” he says.
With this philosophy in mind, Triple J has continuously provided innovative customer solutions over the years. This January, the company launched an online shopper feature that allows customers to complete the entire car buying process online. “Our model is customer service, and this is something that customers are increasingly gravitating toward — being able to accomplish more and more of the buying process online from their home or office,” says Jay B. Jones, senior vice president.
Jeffrey B. Jones, president and COO, says maintaining strong relationships has also been crucial in garnering success. “All aspects of business are based on relationships. Whether it be relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, or bankers, you have to maintain good and positive relationships in order to be successful,” he says.
This includes the company’s relationship with the community at large. Since its inception, Triple J has always given back to the community that has supported its success. “Let’s all remember to put more into the pot of life than we take out and leave some to those less fortunate,” says Robert H. Jones. Over the years, Triple J has donated to organizations such as the Guam Football Association, Relay for Life, Guam Cancer Care, the American Cancer Society, the Boy Scouts of America, the Guam Museum and many more.
In its 35th year, Triple J will celebrate by opening a number of new ventures. “This year we have already opened the Red Lobster restaurant in Guam and during the remaining year of our 35th anniversary we will open the Saipan Surfrider Hotel and Triple J Payless SuperFresh grocery store in Saipan, and the 48-unit Ocean Ridge affordable housing project in Saipan. We will also be moving into our new Hertz facility across airport,” says Kristine R. Lujan, vice president of marketing and public relations.
With this continued success, Triple J remains at the forefront of sustainable economic growth in the region, earning its place for the 27th time on Guam Business Magazine’s Top Companies list.
70 years of excellence
Ambrosio T. Shimizu, Vance O. Smith and Vicente Palomo together opened Ambros Inc.’s doors on Aug. 30, 1949. Their business plan was to provide Guam, and one day Micronesia, with access to top-quality brands. With less than 20 employees in tow, Ambros became the exclusive Anheuser-Busch wholesaler and the Budweiser Beer distributorship, with the first shipment of product containing just 500 cases of beer to be delivered to various places on the island.
In 1950, Ambros moved from its tin shack in East Agana to a new office in Asan. From there, the company migrated to Tamuning in 1965 for 19 years before settling on its office and controlled environment warehouse in Anigua in 1984, where it remained until 2014. Finally, Ambros found its home in a new Harmon warehouse with 60,000 square feet of space.
Along the way, the company bolstered and broadened its business horizon. In 1977, Ambros expanded the business into Yap, followed by Pohnpei and Palau in 1980. The company delivered its first shipment of product to Chuuk in 1982.
By that time, Shimizu had purchased his partners’ shares of the company and handed control over to his sons. With Frank S.N. Shimizu, president and CEO, and Joseph S.N. Shimizu, vice president and CFO, at the helm since 1973, the company has grown to 170 employees and two divisions — beverages and tobacco/liquor and health and beauty — and nearly 30 distributorships. His other sons, Paul S.N. Shimizu and Thomas G. Shimizu, serve as secretary/treasurer and general manager, respectively.
The Ambros distribution resume includes beer, liquor, wine, tobacco, non-alcoholic drinks, household cleaners and chemicals, foodstuffs and industrial solutions.
Ambros also founded four other “sub-companies” during its 70 years in operation: MarPac Inc., Shimbros Inc., SoPac Inc. and SamPac Ltd. These help to extend business throughout the region, allowing for Ambros’ further success in business ventures.
“There are three areas for growth,” Thomas Shimizu told Guam Business Magazine in 2016. “One area is to expand territory. I think our sights are set on Polynesia and those islands. Another area is to grow product opportunity, so if we see a product there is a need for, we look into that. The third arm — whether we like it or not — we’re in the real estate business. … In the future, I can see us needing to expand and formalize our real estate holdings.”
Throughout its seven decades in Micronesia, Ambros has earned many awards, including “Best Wholesaler of the Year” in 1984, “Highest Sales Performance” and “Exporter of the Year” in 2008, “Outstanding Contribution” in 2010 and “Exporter of the Year” again in 2011.
The family-run company also has a longstanding history of community outreach and involvement. Ambros is a founding member of the Guam Chamber of Commerce and has contributed to numerous sporting organizations, festivals, and charities throughout Micronesia.
Pacific American Title
“Closing professionals” celebrate 30 years
For Manu P. Melwani, CEO of Pacific American Title Insurance & Escrow Co., Oct 4. marks an important day. It’s not only his birthday, but it’s also the same date him and his wife, Anita, opened the doors to their insurance title business for the first time 30 years ago.
It was 1989, and Manu and Anita M. Melwani saw an opportunity to provide superior products and services in the island’s title insurance and escrow services industry, which was relatively small in those days. The Melwanis launched onto the Guam scene with five employees and 900-square-foot office space in Hagåtña.
“Business really started to grow after all the banks approved to do business with [our company],” Manu Melwani says. “There were five title companies in the early years of the business, and PATICO quickly emerged as a contender.”
Today’s, it has grown to 22 employees working in an 8,000-square-foot office space on the second floor of the Star Building in Upper Tumon. PATICO expanded by opening an office in Saipan that today houses four employees on the sixth floor of the Marianas Business Plaza.
As a title insurance and escrow services business, PATICO provides real estate owners or lenders with a title insurance policy to protect them against any loss or damage they might experience because of liens, encumbrances, or the defects in the title for the property. They also act as escrow holders for customers, serving as the third party entrusted with legal documents and various funds for financial transactions.
The company and its employees — dubbed “the closing professionals” — have been recognized by their customers for excellence in the title and escrow industry ever since the company started on Guam, Manu Melwani says.
“Over the past 30 years, the company and its key employees have built strong relationships with customers that have allowed PATICO to prosper through the years,” he says.
Manu and Anita Melwani and Michael J. Berman, Esq. serve as the owners of PATICO. Anita is also president, while Jeremy Rojas serves as the vice president and general manager. Jean Santos is vice president and operations manager, and Sara Pangelinan is an associate vice president and escrow manager for the Guam office. On Saipan, Herminio Matsumoto is the office and escrow manager.
Community engagement has also remained a priority for PATICO. Today, they work with the Habitat for Humanity of Guam through their services and fundraisers.
“We support their mission to provide the opportunity to families so that they can achieve the dream of homeownership,” Anita Melwani says. “They make a real difference by helping people that otherwise could not buy a home.”
Looking ahead, PATICO will continue its 30-year, longstanding tradition of fostering customer and business relationships, Manu Melwani says, by providing the best possible service and products in both Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.