Jay Santos wasn’t the only winner during the 2022 “Bowties & Diamonds” Business Person of the Year annual fundraiser gala last Saturday night at Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan’s Hibiscus Hall, as the Saipan Chamber of Commerce also hailed four other groups for their exemplary services in the past year.
Preceding Triple J Five Star Wholesale and Triple J Truckload Store general manager on stage to accept their awards were Chamber Member of the Year awardee Marianas Alliance of Non-Governmental Organizations, Chamber Small Business of the Year awardee Paradise Dental Spa, Chamber Non-Profit of the Year awardee Kagman Isla Community Health Center, and Chamber Start-up of the Year awardee Bistro Boyz 670.
MANGO is the umbrella organization of non-governmental organizations in the CNMI, which are described as underdogs and often silent partners in the CNMI’s economy.
As a recognized regional role model, MANGO’s members benefit from industry experts making growth possible and increasing NGO success and sustainability. In their collective success, MANGO and its members are committed to seeing public-private partnerships elevated to increase overall economic health.
MANGO executive director Frances Sablan dedicated the Chamber award to their current board: chair Felicidad Ogumoro and members Margaret Aldan, Annale’ Torres, and Mona Mangloña Jacobs, as well as founding and past board of directors “who kept the MANGO torch going for over 10 years.”
She also extended her kudos to what she describes as the MANGO Dream Team—Emma Perez, Franco Santos, Laurie Peterka, Shawna Babauta, Angelika Narvaez, Devine Pua, and Shawn Davis—and to MANGO’s former project director Ryan Camacho and staff “who each contributed to the success of our umbrella organization and active participation in the Saipan Chamber of Commerce meetings and activities.”
Newly minted Chamber Small Business of the Year awardee Paradise Dental Spa is one of six private dental offices on Saipan.
Established in 2015 and a Chamber since then, Paradise Dental Spa also does a lot to reach out to the community, like beach cleanups, booths at health fairs, and bringing the sport of pickleball to the island. Its management is also committed to providing ongoing professional development for all of its employees.
In a social media post, Paradise Dental Spa said, “We are beyond thankful, humbled, and delighted to win the Saipan Chamber of Commerce 2022 Small Business of the Year award. We believe our team is beyond incredible, and we’re elated others see their greatness too! We give thanks to our team for being the breath and life of who we are and thanks to our dedicated, inspiring leaders Ivan [Ilmov], Dr. [Nelson] Krum, and Dental Donna [Krum].”
The Chamber Non-Profit of the Year awardee, Kagman Isla Community Health Center, or KICH, is a non-profit providing clinical and behavioral health services to the medically underserved community of Saipan since 2018.
KICH, which served over 12,000 patient visits in 2022, makes it accessible to obtain high-quality healthcare by providing sliding fee discounts and 340B drug discounts to those that qualify.
It has also continually maintained its Patient Centered Medical Home recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
KICH chief medical officer Mohamed Khalil Salhi said winning the Chamber award was humbling, a privilege, and a great honor.
“I would like to dedicate this recognition to the people of the CNMI, for their wonderful nature, generosity, and ongoing sense of appreciation. I would like to also dedicate this recognition to the entire staff of KICH with CEO Vince Castro, our board chair Velma Palacios, and the rest of our respected board members.”
Salhi believes “good intentions, shared vision, and mission that is to offer help to every single patient of the CNMI” were the factors in KICH winning the Chamber award.
Chamber Start-up of the Year awardee, Bistro Boyz 670, began as a group of friends who had the dream of one day opening a restaurant, which they finally achieved in April 2022.
“With our passion and skills we came up with Bistro Boyz 670. We knew our food could bring a creative flavorful experience to the people of Saipan, we just need to believe in ourselves,” said co-owner Benjamin Babauta.
Bistro Boyz 670 dedicated the Chamber award to their families and friends. “We want to thank our customers for supporting our business. Most importantly to the Bistro Girlz that supported us from the beginning.”
Bistro Boyz 670 went all out in supporting Chamber events last year by donating sandwiches for the Saipan Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament in 2022
They also adopted a bus stop in As Teo as part of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors Marianas Village Pride.
Aside from Babauta, Bistro Boyz 670 is also co-owned by Jonathan Borja, Jesse Agoun, and Jake Hocog.