Guam – The Guam Chamber of Commerce announced the selection of Leo and Connie Slotnick, as the 2012 Individual Laureates, and Guam Premier Outlets as the 2012 Business Laureate to be admitted into the Guam Business Hall of Fame this year.
The Guam Business Hall of Fame induction will take place during the Guam Chamber of Commerce’s 88th Anniversary Gala Celebration on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Guam Grand Ballroom. A video commemorating the accomplishments of the Laureates will be featured that evening. A significant part of the Chamber’s Anniversary Celebration will be the recognition of Chamber member companies celebrating 20 years plus (in five year increments) of doing business in Guam. A special award will be presented to 36 member companies celebrating 20 to 65 years of servicing the Guam community.
Mark J. Sablan, Chairman of the Board, said, “The Guam Business Hall of Fame has paid tribute to Guam’s outstanding business leaders who have contributed positively to our island’s economic growth since 1992. This year’s Laureates are truly deserving of this great recognition. The Slotnicks are entrepreneurial role models who found a niche market and grew it into an enterprising venture, leaving a legacy for future generations. Guam Premier Outlets has dedicated itself to providing outstanding service to the Guam community for nearly 40 years.”
Chairman Sablan added, “We thank the community of Guam for its continued support of the Guam Business Hall of Fame. It is our hope that all of Guam’s outstanding business role models and visionaries will be given the honor and recognition they truly deserve.” The Guam Business Hall of
Fame is located at the Guam Chamber of Commerce office in Hagåtña [173 Aspinall Avenue, Suite 101, Ada Plaza Center].
About Leo and Connie Slotnick:
Founders of SEIGuam: Slotnick Enterprises, Inc., Construction Resources, and former owners of Hafa Adai Theaters, Marine Drive Exchange, ConRos, Inc., and Corals Dress Shop, Laureates have been investing in Guam for 63 years beginning in 1949.
Following the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. Navy launched an effort that would rebuild and rehabilitate Guam’s infrastructure from the devastating affects of the Japanese occupation. It was in this period that Leo Slotnick would arrive on Guam with a group of naval builders to assist in these efforts. In 1948, he met Connie Torre Tenorio, a nurse at the U.S. Naval Hospital, and immediately began courting her. By 1951 they became Mr. and Mrs. Leo Slotnick.
In 1949, Connie saw a need to address the fashion needs of the “discriminating woman” and opened a boutique called the Corals Dress Shop off Marine Drive in Tamuning where she personally ran the day to day operations, including purchasing, merchandising and sales. Leo, meanwhile, was in charge of overseeing the island’s liquor distribution for both the Navy and Guam’s civilian population and would continue in this capacity for two decades until 1970 when he managed construction for the Guam Hotel Okura, becoming one of the hotel’s initial investors. He then managed the operations of Universal Pacific – a movie theater company on island until 1983, when Leo and Connie along with their business partners
formed an alliance known as ConRos, Inc., and purchased the theater operations, which became the entertainment of choice for many residents on the island for over twenty years. In 1984 the group formed Marine Drive Exchange, Inc., a facility that would allow for small independent businesses and hundreds of entrepreneurs an opportunity to build their own businesses with relatively low overhead.
Leo and Connie remained the owners and operators of both entities until 1997 when they sold their shares to their remaining partners and started Slotnick Enterprises, a sole proprietorship to manage their real estate purchases, their small business and private investments.
Leo and Connie both individually and together have built an enterprise based on pure entrepreneurial spirit and strict business practices. Their determination, hard work, humble dispositions and keen business sense was recognized by key government officials who appointed Leo Slotnick to the Board of the Guam International Airport Authority from 1987-1993, where he oversaw the Airport Authority’s expansion project live up to its investment, turning it from an unpopular investment project to an operation “bursting at the seems” as Guam experiences monumental visitor arrivals due to major foreign investment in Guam’s tourism industry.
Connie Slotnick served on the Board of the Guam Memorial Hospital from 1969 – 1975. She was actively involved in the establishment and development of the Republican Women’s Association of Guam.
Following Leo’s passing in 2005, Connie took the helm of Slotnick Enterprises and introduced the next generation of family members to the company and eventually incorporated Slotnick Enterprises into SEIGuam. In 2009 Connie was awarded the Guam Businesswoman of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award by First Hawaiian Bank. At age 93, Connie is still managing the company disbursements and maintains a daily presence in the office. From humble beginnings to local business entrepreneurs who paved the way for others to fulfill their own entrepreneurial dreams, Laureates are exceptional role models who built and established a livelihood for future generations.
About Guam Premier Outlets:
Before Laureate became Guam’s first and only true outlet mall with nationally recognized retailers it served as one of Guam’s major department stores under the name Gibson’s Shopping Center from 1975 to 1997 when a renovation and expansion project transformed the store into one of Guam’s premier shopping destinations.
In the early 1970’s the Fukunaga family, owners of a Hawaii based business, arrived in Guam and noticed a great potential for retail operations. During their time here, they met with Felix Martinez Camacho, father to former Governor Carlos Camacho and grandfather to former Governor Felix Camacho, and immediately formed a partnership that would last for two decades. Mr. Camacho and his family offered up a parcel of land in the heart of Tamuning and the Fukunagas provided the capital to develop an 86,000 square foot department store on that property. In 1975, the realization of Gibson’s Shopping Center came full circle. Throughout its tenure, Gibson’s would serve the residents of Guam as the one-stop center for clothing, apparel, toys, hardware, and automotive accessories. Over the years, the company was one of the largest employers in Guam. Its seasonal promotions were creative and generated much support from the island community.
In 1995, the owners saw a potential to bring outlet mall shopping to Guam and after a few years of negotiation as well as a major renovation and expansion, the Guam Premium outlets was introduced to Guam, changing the department store concept it once was to a full scale shopping center with nationally branded products at discounted outlet pricing. The transformation of the facility boasted an additional 114,000+ square feet to its pre-existing capacity with a state-of-the-art movie theater, food court, extended parking lot, and additional store spaces. The project was completed by real-estate developer Richard “Dick” Gushman, and opened in 1997. Additional changes included ownership of the facility, which changed hands to an international conglomeration of outlet stores operated by the Chelsea Property Group. Guam Premium Outlets replaced the Gibson’s name until 2003, when the name was changed to its current “Guam Premier Outlets” also known as “GPO”. In 2007 the Mills Group, its current owner, acquired the shopping center.
Laureate is currently home to several national and local brands and vendors including: Ross Dress for Less, Famous Footwear, BCBG, Everblue Factory Outlet, Nine West, Levi’s, Ruby Tuesdays, Chili’s, Wendy’s, King’s Restaurant, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Cold Stone Creamery, Payless ShoeSource, Fragrance Outlet, Twinkles, ABC Stores, California Mart, IT&E, GTA Teleguam, Royal Bics, Goody’s, Docomo Pacific, and most recently Naturalizer and Skechers Outlet stores. The food court, which is separate from the retailers and restaurateurs, comprises a variety of international and local diners offering a vast selection for all palettes. Other desirable features of Laureate’s facilities also include a newly installed children’s Playtime Playground and the popular Hollywood Theaters– a 14-screen movie theater equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and stadium seating. Laureate is well-known for bringing creative promotions unique to Guam, providing local residents exclusive experiences never before offered such as offering the magic of snow to Guam’s tropical shores. In 2002 GPO offered a Snow Festival, a unique facility where customers could experience snow and slide down a snow covered ramp. In 2006 GPO brought Magic Snow inside the shopping facility and in their Plaza, an outside area by the Hollywood Theaters. In 2009 GPO introduced ice-skating affording non-profit organizations an opportunity to raise funds for their individual cause.
Laureate also hosts many charitable and organizational activities, community events, and annual festivals to include the following: Guam Boy Scouts, Guam Girl Scouts, På’a Taotao Tåno’, Hurao, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guam, Rainbows for Kids, Inafa’maolek, Alee Shelter, I Fanlalai’an Cultural Group, Guam Museum Foundation, Guam USO, Erica’s House of Hope, Make A Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society, St. Baldrick’s, and the American Red Cross.
Laureate is an active member to many of the island’s prominent organizations including: the Guam Chamber of Commerce, Guam Visitors Bureau, Guam Hotels and Restaurants Association, Lt. Governor’s Graffiti Task Force and the Island Wide Beautification Task Force. From the time it first
opened its doors in 1975 as Gibson’s to its present day Guam Premier Outlets, Laureate has made a positive impact to the island and continues to be an economic and philanthropic driver for others in the community to emulate.