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New business expands during challenging time

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New business expands during challenging time

DREAM TEAM: The Betterday Guam team members are, from left, Ha'ane Barcinas, sales associate; Christian Ruiz, sales associate; Leezle Iglesias, team leader; Daniel Hwang, owner; Joseph Laxamana, sales associate; Jealen Ferrer and Butter, manager and mascot; Vincent Santiago, seated, sales associate; and Anna Gamboa, sales associate. Norman M. Taruc, The Guam Daily Post

A retail business that was started from scratch during the Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1 closures in 2020 has outgrown its original location and moved to a new Marine Corps Drive showroom about five times as large as its former location, all in the span of less than a year. 

Betterday Guam is owned and operated by Daniel Hwang and his wife, Amy Lee. The couple was scrambling with the concept in early 2020 after their successful tourism-related photography business flatlined in the early stages of the pandemic. The original location at Oka was planned, at first, just to be a curbside delivery storefront for customers who had ordered and paid for products online. The stifling PCOR1 restrictions didn't allow for browsing customers in a retail environment. "We weren't even thinking about displaying items, the location was for pickup only at the beginning," Hwang said.

As restrictions eased, it became apparent to Hwang that the store would need to expand. "Our shoppers are at about a 70/30 ratio, 70% walk-in, 30% online," said Hwang. "We needed more space to display the merchandise we were bringing in."

In mid-July of this year, Hwang and his team opened the new Betterday Guam location at the SOMA building along Marine Corps Drive in Tamuning. The building shares ingress and egress with the First Hawaiian Bank branch. The new location will house a proper showroom serviced by eight employees, storage for some of the products, administrative offices for the company and at least one cat. 

Cat patrol

Butter, the cat, now patrols a new showroom that is a sprawling 5,000 square feet, compared to 1,100 at the former location. Customers can browse from a collection of furniture, kitchen accessories, bed and bath merchandise, and home accessories from the popular brand Ikea, the global furniture giant based in northern Europe. Similar to the Ikea business model, customers can view the assembled products in the showroom, but then receive the items unassembled and boxed for easy transport. The modern designs are engineered to be assembled easily and quickly at home, with simple tools that are often provided. The cat is not for sale.

"We had an idea that we thought would work, but we are fortunate because business is better than we expected," Hwang said.

The new location of Betterday Guam is in the SOMA building in Tamuning. It was formerly located at the Oka Commercial Center. Customers can view products at www.betterdayguam.com, or visit the showroom. The store is open seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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