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North Shore business owners navigate Father’s Day amidst the pandemic

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For Andrei Bogolubov, 61, co-owner of outdoor apparel store Hook Life in Sea Cliff, his job in the world of local business has brought even more meaning to his role as a father.

“When you own a business, everything you do in life to make a living is for your kids,” Bogolubov said. “So every time a business owner looks at their kid, they see why they're doing it.”

But amidst the backdrop of the pandemic, which has upended normal life and tested the resolve of countless small businesses on Long Island, Bogolubov said spending time with his 18-year-old daughter, Sonja Rose, this Father’s Day has only become more important. Bogolubov said the pandemic has also served as a reminder about “the value and place of work” in people’s lives.

“Whether it's my daughter going to school, or my work or her mother's [Sharon’s] work,” Bogolubov said, “I think that's been a really important realization for everyone, just how central that is to our lives.”

Rob Mansfield, 56, owner of the restaurant Grassroots in Glen Head, said his love for nurturing others is a common thread that has translated from being a father to his 23-year-old son, Bennett, and 27-year-old daughter, Lily, to the culinary scene.

This has been on display over the last few months in particular, as Mansfield developed the Grassroots Feeds initiative to give back to the local community by providing meals to frontline hospital workers. Having raised about $25,000 so far to feed those workers, including his daughter, who is an ICU nurse at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Mansfield said working together with his wife, Amy, and son to raise money and make deliveries has been a silver lining during the pandemic and in the lead up to Father’s Day.

“It’s been incredible and it meant a lot to us personally,” Mansfield said. “So many people wanted to give and they didn't know how to, so this is where we were able to figure it all out together and work together to do it. We helped a lot of people and that's what we knew how to do, and as our daughter was out saving lives, we were feeding them.”

Sea Cliff Mayor Edward Lieberman, 69, who also runs a private practice, Edward L. Lieberman P.C., as a criminal defense attorney said having the ability to listen and understand others are critical skills that have served him well in both law and parenting. For Lieberman, a father to a 39-year-old daughter, Mikele, and a 36-year-old son, Ari, as well as a grandfather of three, becoming mayor gave him the opportunity to help others even further.

“I was able to take all those life experiences I had, and still do, for the betterment of the people of the village and the larger community,” Lieberman said.

Since Lieberman celebrated his birthday with his family last Sunday, he said he does not expect another large gathering for Father’s Day given the pandemic. But he said it has been inspiring to see people evolve to be close to their families and keep them safe during this time, noting the importance of cherishing each moment with them.

“It’s a challenge,” Lieberman said. “But at the same time, now you don’t take things for granted when it comes to your loved ones and your family.”