New Fresh Bread Bakeshop
Fortune Building, Unit 101
West Santa Barbara St.
By Marissa Borja
When customers are lining up outside before the shop even opens with the rush lasting two hours, that’s the sign of a good product — especially when business begins at 5 a.m.
“It is [our] passion to cook, bake and then share with a friend,” says Zenaida Zantua, owner of the New Fresh Bread Bakeshop in Dededo along with her husband, Arthur.
The bakeshop is a popular spot for contract workers; they can be seen daily at the bakery first thing in the morning buying a $1 bag of pandesal and a 25¢ cup of coffee.
And while it’s typical for bakeries to get an early start to their day, the New Fresh Bread Bakeshop in Dededo is something of a phenomenon. But it’s not by chance. The success comes as a result of years of kneading through ups and downs and making adjustments to ensure that everything is just right.
From soft rolls with cream cheese to homemade soup prepared daily, the menu reflects the taste buds of customers.
With a wide spread of baked goods, the Zantuas say their Filipino breads, such as pandesal and pandecoco are among the more popular items. “If there was a national bread of the Philippines, it would be pandesal.” Customers can even choose from freshly baked pandesal sandwiches filled with tuna, egg, corned beef or spam.
“You put a cheesecake in here and for two weeks — they won’t buy it. But if you say it’s custard or egg pie, they like that,” Zanaida says. “We’ve tried selling fancy croissants or big muffins with nuts on top, and they don’t sell like ensaymada or pandesal.”
During holidays the bakeshop is also known for serving puto, sapin sapin, kutsinta and bico.
The business also bakes specialty items that can only be found at hotels and restaurants, and the couple says they would like to see more Guam businesses that need baked goods supporting local bakeries as opposed to off-island sources.
“First we bake to satisfy our orders, then we bake for the bakery,” Zenaida says. “And once it’s done, we don’t bake anything new until the next day.”
This continues every day of the year, as breads and pastries are always in
demand. “We celebrate Christmas on Dec. 26,” she says.
For the past four years, the couple has attended conventions to expand their baking capabilities. They learned to make French macaroons at a convention in Osaka, Japan, and they explored various types of American-made machines at an event in Las Vegas. They’ve also learned a thing or two on the home front baking for the various hotels; namely that in Japan, flour is processed for longer.
“Cooking and baking is also a dynamic thing,” Zenaida says. “When passed from one person to another, it evolves and takes on a life of its own. Today’s pasta can become tomorrow’s different kind of pancit — and a cake that used to be merely chiffon, when in the hands of the right person can be transformed into a magnificent mango torte, velvet cake. And add some icing, such as fondant or marshmallow icing, and it can become sumptuous, luscious and look elegant to the customer, which is the task of my husband.”
Arthur says his specialty is all kinds of cakes, but specifically wedding cakes.
But it’s not all fun and sweets in the baking business. Challenges remain, as with any business, and one that the Zantuas have had to overcome is fast turnover among employees. “When we got started, it was difficult to retain employees; having to retrain new staff takes a lot of time,” Zenaida says. “But we learned over the years, and all the employees we have now are happy, and they are committed to our bakery because we feed them and provide insurance to them and their families.”
The couple is involved in other business ventures as well. Next door to the bake shop is their Nature’s Fresh water store, which is especially known for selling alkaline water, Zenaida says, “which cancer patients say they see the benefits of; the alkaline water is smoother.”
They also started an entertainment business called Traveler Sons. The Zantuas specifically plan to use their entertainment business to bring in acts from the Philippines for the purpose of using ticket sales to make a donation to Guam Cancer Care. “We want to give back what we have.”
Active civic members of the community, the Zantuas are part of the Lions Club, which is known for collecting eyeglasses and canes to give to the blind, while Arthur is also an active member of the Micronesian Chefs Association.