Readers Write: Senseless gouging charge against business

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In these difficult economic times, it is important to patronize our local businesses. “Raindew accused of price gouging” (Rose Weldon – April 3).

My wife and I reside in Great Neck, but we periodically shop at many of the local stores on Plandome Road including Raindew Family Center.

It is a disgrace for the Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs to fine Raindew $5,000 dollars. As a result of the coronavirus, we now have to shelter in place at home.  Who knows how many more weeks this will go on.

As a result, many small businesses are now on the verge of permanently closing, due to the loss of income.

Nassau County should be encouraging local entrepreneurs, not punishing them. They operate on small profit margins. If you want to see price gouging, go on the internet.

Is Consumer Affairs aware that there is a shortage of face masks?  It makes more sense to sell them individually, rather than larger quantities. This affords more people access to hard to get surgical face masks. Consumer Affairs issuing a fine for selling surgical face masks on an individual basis at $3.49 rather than $129 for a box of 50 makes no sense. This was the total supply Raindew had on hand.  People staying at home are only looking for one or two, used going out for food or medicine.

Due to the law of supply and demand, everyone has been charging more, due to shortages created by the coronavirus. The actual cost increases comparing prices pre coronavirus have not gone up that much for many basic commodities.

Small independent businesses such as Raindew are at the mercy of suppliers, especially third party brokers, who control the price they have to pay for merchandise. There are additional costs of sanitizing the store and providing protection to employees, who deal with the public during this health emergency.

We don’t mind occasionally paying a little more to help Raindew and our other local stores survive.  The employees at Raindew go out of their way to help us find what we need.  Customer service is their motto.

As an independent mom and pop store, they don’t have bulk buying purchasing power that large national chains have.  The owners of Raindew can’t negotiate lower prices from suppliers for hardware or pharmacy products like national pharmacy chains such as CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens or Walmart.

Ditto for national home improvement chains such as Lowes or Home Depot. This is why they sometimes charge a little more.  It is worth the price to avoid the crowds and long lines at larger stores in exchange for the convenience and friendly service Raindew offers.

People who work at Raindew are our neighbors. The owners, Gloria and Kevin work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment.

Many employees are younger people working at their first job. Customers also patronize other commercial establishments on Plandome Road.  Foot traffic is essential for the survival of any village commercial district.

If we don’t patronize our local community stores and restaurants to shop and eat, they don’t eat either. This helps keep our neighbors employed and the local economy growing.

Shame on Nassau County Executive Laura Curran for allowing her own Consumer Affairs to impose such draconian fines on the owners of hard-working independent mom and pop stores such as Raindew.

These stores are the backbone of our village commercial districts.  The Consumer Affairs Commissioner was appointed by, reports to and serves at the pleasure of our County Executive.

She should instruct her Consumer Affairs Commissioner to cancel this onerous fine on Raindew.  Our County Executive should be encouraging local entrepreneurs.  Stop trying to put them out of business by excessive, rules, regulations  and fines.

Nassau County Executive Curran and the Consumer Affairs commissioner both owe the owners of Raindew a formal apology for this outrage.

They need to come to Raindew at 465 Plandome Road in Manhasset.  Hold a sidewalk press conference to announce they are canceling this fine.  Follow up by going into Raindew.  Thank the hard-working owners and employees who continue to work during these hard times.  Both should show their support by making a purchase.

The name of the store “Raindew Family Center” says it all.  They are a family to their employees, neighbors, customers and community.

Larry & Wendy Penner

Great Neck.

 

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