By Morgan Legel
Favorite food: “Japanese, for sure — Chabu Chabu.”
Favorite type of coffee: “If it’s not my locally-grown coffee — Geisha.”
Favorite spot in Guam: “Umatac Bay, hands down. And it should be everyone else’s too.”
Whether coffee is your go-to drink, martial arts is your scene, you’re into hanging above the clouds, or you’ve just been plugged into the island culture and economy for more than two seconds, Melchor Manibusan is probably a familiar name and face.
The 44-year-old has his hands in many different businesses on island, being the owner and founder of some, and partner to others.
Starting with Spike 22 martial arts gym in 2002, Manibusan has founded, acquired and has partnered with a handful of businesses and brands.
Cauliflower Culture, a premium combat clothing brand; Spike 22 Supply Co.; Submit International, a fighting and grappling match/show; Brawl International, another show; Pacific Island Månnge Pops; Guamsterdam; The Garden Guam, a wedding and event venue also known as Hamamoto Tropical Fruit World; Spike Coffee Roasters and Coffee Slut are all businesses he’s tied to.
Many of these require a lot of travelling, so from fighting competitions and finding the best coffee to cannabis and curiosity have taken Manibusan to more than 30 countries in his lifetime.
“Guam was always my base,” he says. Even with his multiple journeys off island, including to high school in Washington and California, he always yearned for the next time his toes could burrow into the sand. And, in all of his travels, the first things he looked for when the wheels touched the ground in any new locale, were cannabis and coffee, he says unapologetically.
After learning to wrestle in high school, “It became my lifestyle,” Manibusan says. And that’s what led him to open his first business, Spike 22, a training gym for martial arts, named aptly after his dog Spike and one of his favorite numbers.
“I thought, maybe I can throw a twist into this whole martial arts thing,” he says, reminiscing about the days when he was still making the plans.
Fast-forward nearly a decade and 10 ventures later and Manibusan revels in the facts that he “wanted to be different” and “have fun,” he says.
“All my partners train at my gym — the gym teaches you a lot. You can see their diversity; you can see their perseverance, their determination, their dedication, their loyalty.”
Along with two of those partners — Justin Benavente and Kyle Aguon — Manibusan will be opening a third Coffee Slut location in Tamuning at the old Boston Pizza shop.
“We hope to open this location by Oct. 1,” he says.
The new location adds to the East Hagatna and Grand Plaza Hotel locations already on island.
While two of his loves can be reflected in his businesses — cannabis and coffee — Manibusan says his wife and kids are at the top of his list. His wife, Yuko Hamamoto Manibusan, son Maximus Zen and daughter, Mina Anita are the key to it all.
In the case of all of his businesses, his main goal is for people to be comfortable coming in and maybe learn something new.
“I want people to come and talk to me and feel open,” he says.
“All my partners train at my gym — the gym
teaches you a lot. You can see their diversity; you
can see their perseverance, their determination,
their dedication, their loyalty.”