PARA HITA KEEPS IT ISLAND
Para Hita is a veteran owned company that specializes in modern Guam cuisine, hot sauce, and snacks that reflect the traditional culinary culture of Guam. The inspiration for Para Hita comes from founder Manny’s time serving in the military. He became homesick and started to cook the same dishes he had grown up eating in Guam. Cooking became his passion so, after his military service, he enrolled in culinary school. Now he provides convenient, delicious, Guam-inspired cuisine through Para Hita, sold in Union Kitchen stores.
What is your business concept and inspiration?
My business concept is to create delicious and convenient Guam-inspired cuisine for retail sales. I also do catering and pop-ups on the side!
What has been the most challenging aspect so far?
The most challenging aspect I had to face was juggling personal matters with business. Two months after launching, I had a major house fire that left me and my family without our home. The day of the fire, and the days after, were the closest I ever felt to being defeated and I had been in a few tough situations before.
My house burned on a Friday and the next day I showed up to the farmers market I was selling at. It was rough, but I showed.
I put the business on hold for a few months and lost all momentum. But, I'm glad it happened because it took that situation for me to reassess my business concept and formulate a new strategy. Since the fire, I have made a few pivots and am on track to launch a new product within a few weeks! Whenever I go through a tough patch now, I think about the day after the fire at the farmers market and remember the pain I felt. I had the option to give up or continue the fight. I fight.
What are you most excited about? Short-term and long-term
Short term: I'm excited to launch new and innovative products that no other company is doing!
Long term: I'm excited to see the company expand into the global market!
Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
I see Para Hita products on store shelves nationally and launching in overseas locations.
What does your typical day look like?
It's random. Some days I'm working until 11 p.m. preparing for an event and other days I'm waking up at 2 a.m. to talk to my packaging designer overseas. I don’t really have a schedule. I just work until the task is done!
What’s the best reaction you’ve received about your product?
Best reaction is when you work around other chefs and they know who has the good stuff!
Fun fact about yourself
I don't dance, I boogie.
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