Photos by Aurora Kohn
Fizz & Co.
Agana Shopping Center
|Hours:||10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon. to Sat.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun.
By Aurora Kohn
Located at the Agana Shopping Center, Fizz and Co. has become a popular location as the only soda shop in Guam.
An original soda fountain sits behind the counter. Frames and photos from the 1950s adorn the walls, together with an old-fashioned payphone – completing the shop’s nostalgic feel.
The soda shop offers a variety of soda drinks, gourmet hot dogs as well as hamburgers and customers can build their own burgers and hot dogs from a wide selection of patties, buns, sauces and toppings.
Fizz and Co. also offers a variety of lemonades, cream sodas, classic and special milkshakes, and old-fashioned soda floats. You can also choose from the selection of homemade soups and chilis and combine those with one of Fizz and Co.’s sandwiches, fries or salads.
LeAnn P. Crisostomo, founder and owner of Fizz and Co., was a first-time entrepreneur when she opened Fizz and Co. in 2013., although not new to the business arena. Growing up in Guam, LeAnn admired entrepreneurs and business owners. Her father, who is himself a self-taught businessman and has been in business in Guam since 1985, was a source of great inspiration.
Crisostomo had a simple but clear mission for Fizz and Co. She wanted to provide customers with a place to get together with family and friends and have a great time.
“If there’s a moment that I can bring you to a place where I can make you smile and have a great time, I think I would have accomplished my goal,” she says
The business has steadily grown since it has been in operation. And while the Covid pandemic posed enormous challenges, Crisostomo and her employees weathered the storm through sheer persistence and perseverance and the support of both family and friends.
What was the inspiration for Fizz and Co.?
LeAnn P. Crisostomo: Mainly it’s the soda fountain. It’s American history; it goes back to the early times. I felt like there was that meaning to the business. It’s not just a coffee shop. I want it to have some meaning and the soda fountain brought a lot of people together, especially during the war. The soldiers would come, and they would gather, and just have a great time at the soda fountain.
The soda fountain should bring you to a happy place.
What year did you see your business grow the most? Why?
Crisostomo: When I initially opened in 2013, it was mainly just the locals. I never really had the Japanese tourist exposure. But one day, a couple walked in from Japan. I had no idea who they were, but they were famous. We just went about our business and we took care of them. And I asked them at that time, what brings them to Guam. At that time, they told me that they were just visiting an aunt. But I found out after a week, my Instagram was just receiving all kinds of followers.
What I found out was that between him and his wife, they both have a million followers in Japan. I’m so grateful for that couple that came to my shop. And I think that’s where I can attribute most of the Japanese tourists that patronize my shop.
They also have followers from Hong Kong and China. And you know ever since then, it’s been so much fun. I don’t know if you know NNB 48, AKB 48, they’re a dance group in Japan. They came, they did a music video and then it just exploded from there. … And now I get a lot of TV and video companies that work with Japan. I think they have me on their contacts list because they call me every time, “Oh can we come and do a photo shoot. We want to go there.” I’m so grateful for that.
What was the impact of the pandemic on your business and what strategy did you adopt to meet the challenges of the pandemic?
Crisostomo: I was really excited for 2020. That March, it didn’t happen. The pandemic started. Honestly, we didn’t know what was going to happen. Nobody knew. We were shut down. The mall shut down. … When we got news that were going to be able to open, the mall was still closed. A lot of places were not allowed to open. But we were… restaurants and stores.
My niece came and we talked about it and she said, “You know the mall is allowing us to open our door with the condition that you can’t have air conditioning but let’s just do it. She told me, “You don’t have to worry about paying me, we just need to try to survive.” So we opened our doors. Sometimes, we didn’t even make more than $50.
They started Grab N Grub … companies delivering certain services. We spoke with the owner and we set it up and then that grew the business.
My friends were there for me. I’m pretty sure they bought something they didn’t want to buy, but they bought it anyway. I have friends that bought gift certificates just to keep me open or like give me business. They understand that we need to generate that income so that I can continue to employ people. This little shop employs 14 people.
What do you know about yourself and business that you didn’t before the pandemic?
Crisostomo: How to adapt. We come across so many situations, especially the pandemic. One week you have these rules. The next week you have another rule. You have to be able to adjust, at a moment’s notice sometimes.
What is the most popular item and what are you most proud of?
Crisostomo: I want to say the hotdogs. We have gourmet hot dogs.
I’m all about supporting my boys and their ideas. When Fizz and Co first opened, we had a session and I had all the employees come over and I basically said, ‘Okay we need to create signature drinks. And since you guys are the first soda jerks, I’m going to give it to you to put something together and name it, put your name on it.’
And if you look at the menu now, you’ll see that the signature soda drinks are named after the very first soda jerks that started with me in 2013.
What are your future plans? Where do you see Fizz and Co. five years down the road?
Crisostomo: I want to have another location. More up like in the northern side of the island. I tend to get a lot of people from that side, from Yigo or Dededo, or Andersen [Air Force Base]. I would like to be able to tap into that side of the island, that market.