Hafadai Saipan at the Paseo de Marianas is not a tourist shop but more like Saipan’s own baby product central.
Wendy Piao, who manages the store, said they opened it in 2016 so everyone can have access to good quality and affordable baby products like diapers, baby formula, baby bottle nipples, baby toys, and the like.
“Baby products are not expensive in the U.S, but here on Saipan they’re very expensive. Good quality baby products shouldn’t only be enjoyed by rich people. Ordinary people should also be able to buy them,” said Piao in an interview with Saipan Tribune.
Piao said she used to be a young mom and knows too well the difficulty of shopping for baby products when you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific.
“I also have kids and when they were young I would go to the stores and find their mom and baby products to be too pricey,” said Piao, whose children are now 7 and 3 years old.
She told herself, “Why are they so pricey?” That’s when the idea of setting up Hafadai Saipan was born.
Since 2016, Hafadai Saipan has been the island’s best-kept secret when it comes to affordable but quality baby products. “It’s for locals. They can get good value. We bring good products at an affordable price that we can then offer to local residents,” said Piao.
Aside from the business they get from residents, Hafadai Saipan also caters to tourists, being at the center of the island’s tourist district in Garapan. Unfortunately, that market has dried up since international flights stopped on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We can’t really take advantage of our prime location in Garapan since there are no tourists at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [With] no tourists, we have reduced [sales] like 50% down since the pandemic stopped flights to the CNMI.”
Luckily, Piao said, they still have their loyal local customers to turn to. “Of course our sales have fallen down, but we’re just lucky that we still have loyal customers that buy their baby products at our store. They buy mostly diapers and formula. That makes up 60% of our merchandise, with the rest made up of baby clothes, toys, and other baby essentials like bath soap, shampoo, and conditioner.”
Aside from the usual baby products, Hafadai Saipan also sells teethers, baby snacks, baby umbrellas, baby mobile for cribs, walkers, strollers, car seats, and baby shoes.
Currently, Hafadai Saipan has a sale with most products 10% off. Toys like their extensive stock of Legos are all 20% off.
Piao said they only closed for a couple of days when the CNMI recorded its first COVID-19 case back in March. She also assured their store strictly abides by the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force’s protocols like directional arrows, social distancing, use of hand sanitizers and face masks, temperature check, and customers having to sign in before entering for contact tracing.
Future plans include expanding Hafadai Saipan after the pandemic and the local economy stabilizes so the store can bring in more quality baby products.
Hafadai Saipan is located at Paseo de Marianas across Paris Croissant and is open from 10:30am to 7pm, Monday-Sunday. For more information, call 233-6636 or like their Facebook page “Hafadai Saipan Wendy.”