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Buying locally from small businesses helps to support local jobs

Friday, December 17, 2021

I am grateful that our small business, the Naked Fish Bar and Grill, has grown successfully in the past 17 years. However, when the pandemic struck in March 2020, our business suffered the most when safety protocols were put in place to help mitigate COVID-19. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, small businesses also continue to suffer.

With COVID protocols and safety measures in place, we have learned to navigate through this new way of living and have changed our approach to things. Respect, patience, and cooperation go a long way as we adapt to the government’s health and safety requirements. We also know that if we work together as a community, we can get through anything.

I would like to thank our customers and the community for their continued support. Your patronage means so much to a small business. We appreciate how your hard-earned dollars have helped us through one of the most challenging periods of our time.

I encourage all of us to continue to purchase locally for the holidays. Vote with your dollar to help local businesses to stay open and keep our people employed. Before going online to shop at corporate sites, consider buying something similar from a local shop. Let’s also consider buying from our village stores, businesses who regularly donate to community fundraisers, local fish stands or artists who make local handcrafts. You’ll be helping your friends and neighbors in a big way.

This is one of the many reasons why I fully support the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers’ Marianas Village Pride (MVP) campaign. GCEA underscores the importance of being good neighbors and improving the quality of life at the village level. MVP promotes a closer sense of community that we can all appreciate and get behind.

As we head into the holidays, I welcome fellow businesses to join GCEA’s holiday beautification efforts and join the Christmas Decorating Contest. I’ve already seen many small and corporate businesses put up their Christmas decorations, lighting up the mood for those who pass by. However, if you can’t put up lights or trees, spread Christmas cheer and Hafa Adai and Tirow spirit instead. It’ll go a long way for your customers!

We must never lose hope that our community will return to better days. In the meantime, let’s look for small ways to help out each other. It’s been a tough two years, but we can count our blessings. I’m most grateful for my family, friends, and the relationships I have built within our community. Their continuous support has been a true gift this holiday season.

For more information, visit the GCEA at, on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at

By Joe Guerrero, Guest Columnist

Joe Guerrero is the co-owner of Naked Fish Bar & Grill and the President of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce. Joe also serves as a member of the Fiscal Economic Diversification Committee for the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers. As SCC President, Joe believes in building a stronger Marianas where its business community works together to make each island better for all.

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