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Cha to expand into a bakery in March

»Lee: It’s about making customers happy
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Cha Cafe employees smile for a photo during their shift last weekend. (Thomas Manglona II)

Cha Cafe employees smile for a photo during their shift last weekend. (Thomas Manglona II)

For the past two years Cha has satisfied its customers’ taste buds and cravings with their variety of luscious pearl shakes and frappes bursting with flavor. The small business at the Garapan corner building on Beach Road is expanding its menu and size to raise the quality of its products and services for residents and tourists alike.

The Los Angeles-inspired hip, urban, boardwalk cafe belongs to John Lee and will be rebranded to Cha Cafe and Bakery in March. According to Lee, Cha’s current location will be moved to a larger room in the same building, owned by his father Yang Hoon Lee.

“The new cafe and bakery is five times larger than our current business,” he told Saipan Tribune. “We are going to have study tables around the area for students. We are also hoping that adults stop by in the morning to get coffee and pastries.”

Lee, a current law and business student, drew inspiration for the new business’ design from coffee shops he visited while studying in New York, Los Angeles, and Germany.

Customers can expect a hot cup of coffee to complement the bakery’s “high-end cakes and pastries” with Cha’s new coffee line, brewed by their custom-made Italian expresso machine.

Before even getting a taste of the cakes and pastries, customers will be able to watch the pastry chef make them on black marble stone countertops, behind a glass pastry display case.

Lee hopes the investment will provide residents and tourists with higher quality food and drink options on island.

“The reason why we see so may of our customers come back is because our products are consistently good,” he said. “We are focusing on making customers happy. The standards we have are comparable to the best cafes in New York.”

“I did not expect it to come this far,” he added. “When I was planning to open the business I knew that there were a lot of risks and benefits. In the end, the benefits outweighed the risks.”

A soft opening will be held in a few weeks following the completion of the renovation. According to Lee, Cha Cafe and Bakery will be open from 7am to 10pm after its grand opening, slated to occur in March.

Cha’s commitment to the island community reaches beyond quality products and services. The business aims to hire Northern Marianas College and local high school students and even provide scholarships for its employees. With the expansion, Lee said that Cha will be offering to pay a selected employee’s full tuition for the school year.

Cha employee Tommy Boy Atalig said the expansion “will heighten the standards of businesses on Saipan.”

“My favorite part of the job is getting to meet people and tourists. I know that with the expansion, everything will be new and better,” he added.

Thomas Manglona II | Correspondent

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