Like other communities across the country, Valley Stream has seen businesses come and go over the years, but two new business owners to the village plan on being here for a long time.
Armando and Saundra Hernandez opened Gym 4 Kidz on Rockaway Avenue on Nov. 29 with the hopes of getting children ages 5 to 12 into shape. “We have three sons so we’re well aware with things that are going on with today’s youth,” Armando said. “We’re just trying to help the community, to get the kids healthier and to be more physically fit and active.”
The Hernandezes, who have been married for nearly 19 years, live in Lynbrook, but their children attend Valley Stream schools. Armando said the support from various local organizations, neighbors and fellow business owners has been tremendous in helping Gym 4 Kidz get started.
Children come in for one-hour classes during the week, which are led by a certified instructor or gym teacher. “They do things in a manner that’s enjoyable,” Armando said of the classes, “and they don’t hurt themselves and they want to come back.”
There are currently eight different classes offered at Gym 4 Kidz that range in size and are broken up by age. Armando said exercising and eating healthy is something very close to he and his wife’s hearts. Over the last two years, he has lost 25 pounds while his wife dropped 30 pounds. Armando said their new healthy lifestyle is having a positive effect on their kids. “We feel like we’re setting them up (to live healthier) throughout their lives,” he said.
Living near the Valley Stream’s business district made the Hernandez’s choice an easy one when picking out a location for their gym. “We thought of it as an up and coming, vibrant business community and it was a central location for the village,” Armando said of Rockaway Avenue, “so there’s easy access from a lot of different areas from Valley Stream and the neighboring communities.”
Fellow Lynbrook resident with ties to Valley Stream, Les Forrai, recently moved one of his two Minuteman Press locations to Sunrise Highway. The new Valley Stream store opened on Oct. 4 and had to be closed for two weeks after Hurricane Sandy due to a lack of power. Forrai said while it was an annoyance to close down shop so soon after opening, he is counting his blessings because some of his colleagues had their locations totally wiped out.
Forrai has lived on the Lynbrook-Valley Stream border for the last eight years and said he could walk to work if he wanted. He also lived in Valley Stream for 14 years prior, and is quite familiar with the village.
He moved his store from Baldwin because he thinks Valley Stream is a better spot for his business, which is family-owned and prints signs, banners and a host of other products, and has its own bulk mailing facility. He also owns another Minuteman location in Manhasset and said he has many devoted customers.
“We have the latest high-tech equipment,” he said of his stores, “and we love to cater to people’s emergencies. If they come in here at the last minute and need 1,000 booklets, we’ll stay all night and do it.”