Beneath a calm exterior, it is hectic at the Pampered Professional. The company began as a corporate concierge service, but has grown and is now up to their neck in all manner of gift baskets as the holidays approach.
Located at 1208 Station Plaza in Hewlett, the shelves are covered in all manner of gifts, gift baskets and cookie platters, but the heart of the operation is located out of sight in the basement. You’d have to watch your head as you turn the corner coming down the stairs, but as you do you’ll see dozens of baskets, boxes of cookies and all manner of snacks, treats and gifts being wrapped up and prepared for delivery.
According to owner, Bonnie Seidler, they’re currently making up wards of 300 baskets per day and turning about 20,000 pounds of cookies into cookie platters this year. Seidler also said that was just the beginning of it, that her home and the homes of her three daughters are also filled to the brim with gift baskets and their supplies.
This year, the holiday rush coincides with a special anniversary for the Pampered Professional. Seidler and her daughters began their business out of their home 20 years ago this December. “My mom owned a company… and we were traveling a lot, we were all getting married,” said Shawn Cohn, one of Seidler’s daughters “It was a busy time, so in like a day of brainstorming we came up with, let’s do things for busy people.”
They built their business by doing things like buying gifts or running errands for other companies, or anyone who just didn’t have the time. Around a year and a half later they moved into a store in the Peninsula Shopping Center, where they said they stayed for the roughly nine years.
Business slows down after the holidays, although there is a small surge when parents send items things to their children at summer camp. “This gets emptied out,” Seidler said, laughing and gesturing to the rows of gift baskets. “Then it’s just basically for corporate, like if they need a get-well basket or something to welcome a new tenant to a building.”
Cohn added that they like to build baskets around an item that can be used afterwards, this year many baskets feature a silver tiered tray, and last year some used a silver bowl. Their attention to detail and good advice is part of what brings customers back.
“Being local is great because of the convenience, but it’s more than just the convenience,” said Bonnie Epstein, a customer for nearly 20 years. “I come in and I say, give me an idea for… and they always have something. It’s a rapport, but I also think a stranger could walk in and they’ll help them like they’ve known them for years.”
Dedication to their customers and adding a personal touch to every order has helped ingratiate the Pampered Professional into the community. There’s also always a member of the family at the store. “We’ve built relationships and friendships over the years,” Cohn said. “Our heart is here, it’s such a great warm place to be.”