Tamar Celis Pacific Daily News USA TODAY NETWORK
Published 8:04 PM EST Dec 5, 2018
With the grand opening of their second location on Dec. 15, Sling Stone Coffee & Tea Co. will give East Agana commuters a convenient new option for their morning coffee run.
Location, location, location
Earlier this year, husband and wife duo Peter and Hiroko Walls transformed an old car inspection warehouse along Marine Drive into a unique drive-thru coffee experience. This unlikely venue will be the second drive-thru café the couple opened this year.
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On Aug. 11, the couple celebrated the launch of their grab-and-go coffee station in Adelup. Since then the drive-thru has seen a 25 percent growth in customers each month, Mr. Walls said.
He noted that while this upward trend is typical of new establishments, opening a second Sling Stone location may help strengthen their consumer base by spreading awareness.
According to Walls, many customers who visit Sling Stone’s new “warehouse” venue are surprised to hear that the company has another drive-thru two miles down the road.
The East Agana location caters to ”all the people that are driving north,” Walls explained. “They’re going this way, but they don’t know what’s happening (down that way), which is really unique but really funny about Guam. We really stick to our villages.”
The island’s driving trends fuel the couple’s entrepreneurial fantasies. “I really believe we have a place for our coffee shop in every village,” Mr. Walls said. “That would be fantastic. That’s our dream.”
Coffee with a hint of compromise
Sling Stone’s drive-thru coffee shop concept is the seamless combination of both Wallses’ business interests.
When they began their business ventures in 2004 as Sling Stone LLC., Mr. Walls wanted to open a bar. However, Mrs. Walls, a self-proclaimed “coffee geek” who had experience working with Starbucks in Japan, was more interested in bringing the high-quality café experience to Guam.
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The couple settled on opening a coffee shop in Tumon, but it didn’t do as well as they hoped. They decided to use the space for what is now Green Lizard, another unique establishment that repurposed shipping containers into a combined tiki bar and restaurant.
Today, Green Lizard’s kitchen supplies the food demands of the rest of Sling Stone’s companies. “We have a great culinary crew,” Mr. Walls explained “We figured … let’s use them during the day.”
Green Lizard’s pulled pork bagels and lemongrass-infused kelaguen are some of their top dishes, Mr. Walls said. The restaurant’s online menu also showcases plates that would please every palate, such as healthy “naked burgers,” fresh flatbread creations and artisan kebabs.
Quality and variety
Mrs. Walls hopes Sling Stone will provide the same level of quality and variety for coffee connoisseurs.
According to the self-proclaimed “coffee geek,” better coffee begins with more freshly roasted beans.
After building up their café businesses, “the next step is roasting,” Mrs. Walls said.
“We’re in the middle of the ocean. We’re sent (coffee) from the states,” she explained. During the days-long shipping process, the already-roasted beans begin to age.
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“It’s every day, little by little,” the coffee lover lamented. “Nobody knows, but when I try (coffee), I can taste it’s aging.”
According to Mrs. Walls, the best coffee is made with beans that were roasted between 48 hours to one week prior.
“We’re probably going to do roasting at our next facility at our Barrigada location,” said Mr. Walls.
In the meantime, the café owners are proud proponents of their cream- and syrup-based inventory, which translates to thousands of customized drink options for their customers.
Fostering success on Guam
With Mrs. Walls hailing from Japan and Mr. Walls from New Zealand, learning about the local market continues to be an important objective.
For Mr. Walls, exploring various business ideas and then capitalizing on their best assets is key to his entrepreneurial success on Guam.
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Mrs. Walls discussed the necessity of knowing what customers like. Although big on coffee, she knew her drive-thru café would also have to offer calamansi tea for those on the go, matcha powder for the health-conscious and blended frappes for Guam’s younger drivers.
If you go
- What: Sling Stone Coffee & Tea Co. drive-thru coffee shop
- When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 15 grand opening
- Where: East Agana along Marine Drive
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