SAIPAN ICE & WATER
One of the things that Typhoon Soudelor has made us realize is how essential water is, especially for drinking. In the midst of all the hardship of getting safe and clean drinking water after the typhoon, among those that could be relied upon was Saipan Ice and Water Company.
According to company president Andrew Morishige, they were able to produce water right away after the typhoon, not only because they have a generator but because Saipan Ice has its own deep water well. Aside from providing much needed water, Saipan Ice also provided discounted water for charitable organizations.
The company just marked three decades in the business last Sept. 5 but, instead of a glamorous celebration to highlight this very significant milestone, Saipan Ice opted for a quiet employee honorarium.
“We were too busy to close for a celebration. We have to help the community. It’s the customers first,” Morishige said.
Since being established in the CNMI, Saipan Ice continues to provide “the best drinking water possible” through a process that they’ve refined over the decades.
Their purification process starts with their deep protected well and rain water. It is disinfected as source water and goes through a series of purifications such as a charcoal and multi-media filtration process, and from there through their reverse osmosis system. The water then goes through UV Light purification as double disinfection and as a final step immediately before being bottled.
Saipan Ice is also the only company on island that makes its own water bottles on site, while the bottling process itself is entirely automated. They also make their own labels and can make customized ones for anniversaries, birthdays, various celebrations, and corporate affairs.
The company’s onsite chemist also performs daily water testing such as daily coliform testing, bacteria testing, chlorine residual testing, total dissolved solids (TDS) testing and taste/smell testing.
Although some would say it’s just water, there is a specific taste that immediately tells you the quality of the water.
“It should taste clean and pure. It shouldn’t have a long aftertaste. It shouldn’t be salty,” Morishige said.
Saipan Ice is also certified by the U.S. military and all their products are FDA-registered.
Marketing director Regina Morishige said their quality standards are the primary driver of their business model—standards first before anything else.
“I think the quality standards that we’ve always kept and the mission to provide Saipan with the best drinking water possible is what has kept Saipan Ice going for the past 30 years and will continue to keep it going beyond that. With that mission, we’re always looking at ways to improve and make sure quality is at the highest level possible at all times,” Regina Morishige said.
Among the newer things they’ve done is increase their production of small water bottles.
“We continue to process our water the same. But we have made improvements to increase our production. We’ve increased our small bottle machinery so that we can produce more small bottles,” she said.
Saipan Ice noted that there has been a shift in the water buying habits of some customers who used to buy imported water. Now, they buy them locally through Saipan Ice, which then benefits the island’s economy.
“We’ve been steadily growing the last two years, New jobs are being created,” Andrew Morishige said. “We’ve actually grown by at least 10 people. It always translates to more jobs.”
Despite this, Andrew Morishige said it is never their only goal to just increase sales.
“We’ve acquired more trust; we earned the trust of more people so our sales go up. It’s never a goal to just increase sales. It’s a goal to serve customers right,” he said.
Andrew Morishige is proud of the company and he believes Saipan Ice will be around for another 30 years and beyond.
“[Our greatest achievement is] that we’ve continued the legacy that my grandfather, founder Tony Pellegrino, started—to earn trust by giving good customer service and quality products. We haven’t reinvented the wheel. We just honed in on the best practices that he set forth. We’ll never stop improving,” he said.
Saipan Ice & Water would also like to thank all other local water companies as well as the community as a whole for their cooperation to best serve everyone throughout the recovery after Typhoon Soudelor.
“Thank you, Saipan. We care about your health!”