Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Ind-MP) presented Robert H. Jones, chairman and CEO of Triple J Enterprises, Inc., with a Congressional Record last May 18 in recognition of the Jones family’s remarkable contributions to the growth and development of the CNMI and the Western Pacific through business venture and philanthropical efforts.
“I wanted to recognize the contributions of Mr. and Mrs. Jones and their family, to the Marianas and the region,” said Sablan.
As residents on Guam and Saipan for over 60 years, the Jones family continues to support the communities that surround them. In Guam, the Jones family and Triple J partner with the American Cancer Society Guam Chapter, work alongside the American Red Cross and the Make-a-Wish Foundation Guam/CNMI Chapter on Saipan, as well as support youth sports and development organizations on all islands.
Published by the United States Government Publishing Office, the Congressional Record and its extension of remarks makes note the tribute to the Jones Family, Triple J Enterprises.
Born in North Carolina, Robert Jones moved to the island of Guam in 1957 to work for Jones & Guerrero, Inc., a company his older brother Kenneth started. Jones worked alongside Ken for the next 24 years and eventually held the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer of the company.
In 1984, Jones found his opportunity and struck out on his own. He bought a Subaru franchise from Ken, established Triple J Enterprises, in Guam and then ventured out to the island of Saipan in the Northern Marianas. There he founded Triple J Motors, a reference to the Jones’ three children—Julie, Jeffrey, and Jay.
From the inception, it was a family business. Jones’ wife, Margaret, purchased inventory, handled advertising, public relations, and, was the company treasurer. Her sister, Georgia J. Stafford, also lent a hand when needed and their children cleaned cars and worked in the parts and service departments as well.
At first, Triple J distributed Subaru automobiles, Hino heavy trucks and buses, and Bluebird school buses. As business increased, they added other establish car companies to their portfolio: Ford, Mazda, Lincoln, Hyundai, Isuzu, Suzuki, Volvo, Honda, Acura, Kia and Mitsubishi brands. Upon the return of their children from college the Triple J family business began to expand beyond automobile sales and extend beyond the Northern Mariana Island into the Western Pacific.
In 1987, Triple J Enterprises initiated the wholesale foods and grocery retail on the island of Ebeye in the Marshall Islands. Years later, with more experience, Triple J Enterprises, grew into the island of Majuro nearby where the company today continues to operate similar businesses. Later in 1998 and in alignment with Jones’ visionary persona, Triple J Enterprises, magnified its reach into the islands of Palau with wholesale business foods, a bakery, convenience store, and a Shell service station.
Triple J further diversified into the restaurant business beginning in the mid-1990s with the purchase of an Outback Steakhouse franchise in Guam and, soon after Tony Roma’s, Capricciosa, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and Great Harvest Bakery franchises on Saipan. Currently, a Red Lobster franchise restaurant is now under development in Guam—a new addition to the portfolio in the next year.
In 1994, Triple J had a hand in negotiating the arrival of K-Mart in Guam. The store on the island, bucking a national trend of closures, remains one of the most successful K-Marts nationwide to this day
Into the new millennium, Triple J had grown to be the “fourth largest business in Micronesia” ranked by the Guam Business Magazine in 2005. The Guam Chamber of Commerce named them Business Laureate of the Year and inducted Triple J into the Guam Business Hall of Fame—the youngest corporation to receive the honor.
And they just kept growing. Triple J acquired Hertz Rent-a-Car rights and became exclusive distributor in all of Micronesia for Solahart—an Australian solar water heater company.
Capitalizing on another opportunity, Triple J developed a first-of-its-kind affordable housing development on Saipan, subsidized by the U.S. Treasury’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program. Sandy Beach Homes, a $27-million, 60-unit project, was completed in late 2011; and, a second, affordable housing project, Saipan Comfort Homes, quickly followed with an additional 40 units.
Understanding the greater need for sustainable economic growth in the Mariana Islands, Jones set out for improvement. Working with the Washington Pacific Economic Development Group he established the Marianas EB-5 Regional Center, which offers foreign investors U.S. immigrant status in return for funding business developments in the Mariana Islands.
The larger concern for the welfare of the island community arose when the Marianas was hit by Typhoon Soudelor in 2015. Typhoon Soudelor was the third most intense tropical cyclone worldwide that year after Hurricane Patricia and Cyclone Pam with sustained winds exceeding 100 miles per hour. In the wake of devastation, home destruction and lack of infrastructure for over a month, Jones donated thousands of dollars in food to help the Salvation Army set up a hot meals program in the village of Kagman, Saipan—one of the shattered villages on island. A year later, the Rotary Club of Saipan awarded Jones its Citizen of the Year award of 2016 for his selflessness and support to the when the community was in dire need
Sharing in the value of philanthropy, the Jones family and Triple J make effort to enhance the quality of life of others in need. In Guam, Triple J partners with the American Cancer Society Guam Chapter annually to support their signature funding event, Relay for Life, raising as much as $40,000 in one year alone. In the Northern Mariana Island, the company regularly contributes to the Red Cross Walk-a-Thon, the Marianas March Against Cancer, Make-A-Wish Foundation-Guam, CNMI Chapter, and numerous other charitable programs raising money for relief efforts and cancer research. Triple J Motors has also been the official car sponsor of the Miss Marianas Pageant and the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association.
“Customers first” is the simplistic mission statement of Triple J Enterprises, and yet, it holds a more complex meaning displayed the actions and attitude behind their successes. That people-centric point of view serves as a model to other businesses in the communities they belong to.
Throughout these years of dynamic growth, the importance of family remains central to the success of Triple J. Son Jeffery is the president and chief operating officer of the company. Son Jay is senior vice president with a focus on automotive operations. And, while daughter Julie spends much of her time in a professional counseling practice, her husband, Dan Murrell, serves as senior vice president in charge of real estate, food, and restaurant operations. Mother Margaret remains company treasurer. Robert Jones is chairman and CEO. Growing into the third generation, five of their eleven grandchildren are employed in the family business. Today, the Triple J group employs over 900 employees across the Micronesia region, many of whom have been with the business for 20 plus years. (PR)