Cencio Tan C. Vy, President/CEO, Benson Guam Enterprises, Inc.
In 1976, after a typhoon devastated the Pacific island of Guam, Cencio Tan’s father, Tan Beng Chiat, realized there would be a need for resources to quickly rebuild the damaged property all over the island. Tan Beng Chiat moved from the Philippines to Guam to establish Benson Guam Enterprises, to import lumber and plywood for the island’s reconstruction.
The company started with just four employees in a space that served as both sales floor and warehouse. In 1980, Cencio accepted his father’s invitation to come “check out the business” in Guam, and began working in the company’s warehouse. He envisioned growing the store from a building materials supply store for the construction industry into Guam’s largest home improvement center.
As the company began investing in real estate development and other businesses in the 1980s, Cencio sought help from the Guam Small Business Development Center and the Guam SCORE chapter. Anticipating the arrival of big-box hardware retailers, Cencio took the opportunity to renovate and modernize the building, shelving and floor plans in order to remain competitive. The hardware store is now a home improvement center, boasting a total area of 147,000 square feet and 50 full-time employees.