Do you want to enjoy chalakiles, Hawaiian shaved ice, and shawarma under one roof? Then mosey down to the newly opened Kada Dia Market beside the U.S. Post Office in Chalan Kiya.
James Matsumoto, managing member of BPJ Ventures, LLC that owns the Kada Dia Market property, said Kada Dia literally means “everyday” in Chamorro.
“We thought it’s the perfect name since we’ll have many vendors selling different types of food and products. So many varieties that you could visit every day and not get tired of it,” he told Saipan Tribune.
Matsumoto modeled Kada Dia after the popular Thursday street market concept at the Garapan Fishing Base. “A lot of people enjoyed the Thursday street market atmosphere and I thought it would be great to have a place like it but on a permanent basis. The Thursday market was only once a week, so if off-island visitors weren’t here on a Thursday, they would miss out on all the fun.”
As set up, Kada Dia has room for 13 permanent vendor stalls and from eight to 10 temporary vendors on the weekends or nights.
So far, Kada Dia vendors include the Borja family selling their popular chalakiles soup and a variety of other Chamorro food; Couples Cakery offering their beautiful and delicious cakes, cupcakes, and coffee; Mermaid Bubble Tea Shop; Lyn’s Barbecue; a Hawaiian shaved ice and hotdog vendor; a shawarma and burrito vendor; and a Filipino cuisine vendor.
Kada Dia has three non-food businesses. Talofa Lava sells beautiful island style mwars, lava lavas, and accessories; Chelu Aynez Enterprises sells jewelry and toys; and Micronesian Modular is an affordable living consulting company.
“Each vendor’s operating hours will vary, but most will open from mid-morning to the late evenings. As the name implies the Kada Dia Market will be open every day,” Matsumoto said.
BPJ Ventures, which is named after Matsumoto’s children—Brandie, Patricia, and James—built Kada Dia at the strategic intersection because of the heavy foot traffic in the area.
“My grandmother, Augusta Blanco Matsumoto, was granted this property as her homestead and she later gave it to my parents, John and Patricia Matsumoto, who owned and operated the J.M. Cinema, the islands’ only movie theater at the time,” he said.
In more recent times, the Matsumoto family leased the property to Kevin’s Department store and grocery, but the building burned down in February 2017.
“We knew we had a high traffic location, being next to the main post office and at the entrance of Chalan Kanoa that businesses would find attractive. So we decided to redevelop by upcycling six used 40-foot cargo containers to utilize the small lot efficiently and to help keep the cost of construction down. We are pleased to see our mini commercial spaces are receiving a positive response,” said Matsumoto.
Aside from vendors selling everything and anything under the sun, Kadia Dia is also envisioned as a sort of community center right in the heart of Chalan Kanoa.
“We are open to hosting entertainers, school competitions, and possibly mini-concerts or events. We also intend to make space available for non-profits and public outreach programs. Once tourism is back we anticipate the Kada Dia ‘Everyday’ Market will be a must-visit spot for our off-island visitors too,” added Matsumoto.
Like other businesses on island, COVID-19 has had a negative effect on Kada Dia even before it opened. “The COVID-19 situation caused us to delay opening a few months, but we are optimistic [that] most [of] our vendors will get to open this month. We appreciate our government’s practical and reasonable approach to the coronavirus safety measures, which all our vendors will be adhering to,” said Matsumoto.
As far as safety concerns in the midst of the pandemic, Matsumoto said Kada Dia Market has open-air seating and is bathed by the sun’s UV light each day “so we feel we are a safe place to visit.”
For more information on the Kada Dia Market or to inquire about the remaining vendor slots, call Kada Dia Market at 483-6985.
“There’s no place like the Kada Dia Market on Saipan. It’s a unique venue and it’s going to be a fun place for the whole family as there will be something for everyone,” he said.