The new flagship Pay-Less Supermarket in Maite opened its doors to customers for the first time Wednesday morning, and among those eagerly anticipating their first glimpse of the store were Rosa Champaco Quitano and Rose Duenas Diaz.
The two women, both retired educators who now work in various community organizations including the Guam Memorial Hospital Volunteers Association, said proximity to their homes is their first favorite thing about the store.
“It’s a very big store … and it has so many different products and new things to try,” said Quitano who lives within walking distance of the store. “I really like it.”
While not all of the store’s sections were ready in time for Monday’s soft opening, president and chief executive officer of Pay-Less Supermarkets Kathy Calvo, said the store’s partners and 70-plus employees are working hard to get everything ready for the grand opening on Oct. 26.
“We’re really excited to roll out the whole complete grocery store,” she said.
With a generous 45,660 square feet of floor space - with the retail space covering 31,200 square feet - the store has the room to offer a wide variety of everyday products – from rice to soy sauce. The new store also includes 96 feet of chill meat, poultry and seafood sections; an 8-foot dry aged beef case; a SuperDrug pharmacy, an eduKitchen facility for cooking demonstrations and community education classes, and an Infusion coffee shop.
One other thing the store’s staff will be working to get fully stocked and running is the Nuts & Grains section where customers can grind fresh peanut or almond butter.
Quitano and Diaz are among those looking forward to seeing the fully completed store. Quitano said Diaz, who has a slightly further trek coming from her Toto home, is a great cook and would likely enjoy the store’s eduKitchen.
“I want to come and see what they do,” Diaz said.
“I think she can even teach a class,” said Quitano with a laugh. “She’s very good at cooking.”
For those who'd rather pick up food that's ready to go, The Market Deli and Bakery opens today. During the soft opening, they were sharing samples of arroz caldo, flan cake, cinnamon rolls and hotdog pastries to give people a taste of what people can expect.
Enjoying the samples, were friends Lisa San Nicolas and Emily Apilado, of Dededo.
"The bacon donuts with the cheesy filling is really good," San Nicolas said.
Apilado said they didn't know Wednesday was the soft opening: "We were driving by and saw the balloons and the cars."
Both women are impressed with the store and its offerings and are prepared to drive up for the grand opening.
For Kathy Calvo, there isn’t one area of the store she claims as a favorite. For her, it’s the vibe of the store that they put a lot of thought and effort into creating.
“I like the local connection with our culture,” she said. “That’s part of our mission statement and something that we try to promote and reflect - that we are a local company invested in the growth of our community and the health of our community.”
“But the store really evokes the sense of local with our signage in CHamoru, and this awesome mural as you enter with local artist Ric Castro,” she said. “So there’s a lot that I’m really excited about, it took a real team effort to get us where we are today.”
Throughout the store, there are signage in English and CHamoru, and images of local scenery including the mural above the customer service area that depicts an idyllic scene of a family harvesting bounty from the ocean and land.
The store also offers a large floral selection, which is bolstered with the products of Simeon Palomo’s green thumb and artistic flair.
“We support local as much as possible, and Simeon is one of our local artists … and has a wonderful botanical garden in Toto so we have some of his work here on consignment,” Calvo said.
Additionally, as the store's jingle goes, don’t forget to bring your reusable shopping bag.
Calvo said Pay-Less “will continue to be the leader in sustainability in the retail industry with our Mission-Zero Bag Campaign.”