From a basement hub beneath their store on Plandome Road in Manhasset, owners Kevin and Gloria Bordeman can see everything going on at Raindew Family Center.
“When somebody starts to page, we can see if something’s going wrong or somebody needs something,” Gloria Bordeman explained.
Closed circuit TV screens show employees walking to and fro between aisles of Christmas decorations, greeting cards, food, plumbing equipment, As Seen On TV staples, surgical supplies, birthday balloons and a dozen other varieties of items.
“We’re really a variety store,” Kevin Bordeman said. “We’re like a Woolworth’s.”
Kevin Bordeman, who has worked in retail since the age of 16 in Bayside, Queens, opened the store in 1999, and operates it with Gloria, his wife of 33 years.
The Bordemans take pride in customer service and accessibility, with their facility housing a multitude of departments for all of their patrons’ needs.
“The joke used to be, ‘If we don’t have it, you don’t need it,'” Kevin Bordeman said with a laugh. “Or, we’ll try and get it for you.”
Oftentimes, Gloria Bordeman said, customers will come in with parts that fell off a household appliance and ask them to identify it.
“We just had a woman who brought in a wall clock that she can’t figure out how to hang,” Gloria Bordeman said. “It’s falling off the wall, and she came in asking, ‘what kind of screws can I buy for this?'”
The 25 employees on the sales floor at Raindew are well versed in their departments, the Bordemans said, which keeps customers returning for their expertise.
“Nowadays between people shopping online and things like that, you have to give people a reason to come here,” Gloria Bordeman said. “We get to know our customers.”
She recalled an occurrence when a first-time customer came after being unable to find help elsewhere.
“One of our customers wrote on Facebook that she was looking for an ironing board,” Gloria remembers. “She says she walked around Bed Bath and Beyond asking for help but couldn’t find anybody. Finally, she came here, she said she wasn’t here for five minutes before two people asked if she needed help!”
Raindew also gives back to the community, donating food to the Shelter Rock Church down the road and sponsoring sports teams, Boy and Girl Scout troops, and other organizations.
“We want to be participant in the community,” Gloria Bordeman said.
For the holiday season, Raindew’s considerable quantity of decorations will be on full display.
“Our biggest seller for the month of December will be all Christmas goods,” Kevin Bordeman said.
Raindew also expanded its toy department in the past year and found a new vendor for chocolates and sweets, taking into account the departures of Matty’s Toy Stop and Chocolate Works on Plandome Road in the past two years. Neither store has been reoccupied.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of empty stores on Plandome Road,” Kevin Bordeman reflected.
“We’re trying to give the community what it needs, and we’re so grateful to our customers,” Gloria added.
As one of the holdouts on Manhasset’s version of Main Street, the Bordemans, themselves of Cold Spring Harbor, make no bones about their luck in the business.
“Hard work is the secret,” Kevin Bordeman said. “Long hours, trustworthy employees, hard work. Or maybe just get rid of the internet.”