Toomers Liquors in Springfield Gardens may seem like a typical liquor store, with shelf upon shelf of bottles lined up behind a protective glass barrier, but longtime owner Eloise Toomer has found a way to stand out.
Toomer, who started working at the store in 1969 before she bought it in the late 1970s, also sells nutritional supplements to help ease ailments from dry skin to hyperactivity to weight loss, she said.
We have something for just about anything the body is challenged with, Toomer said. We find the body will heal itself when given the proper nutrition.
Toomer began managing the liquor store, then called J & L Liquors at 220-30 Merrick Blvd., more than 30 years ago. The owner entrusted her with the day-to-day management, including bookkeeping, while he started a small oil refinery, she said.
In 1977, the owner decided to pursue his oil company full time, and he offered to sell the liquor store business to Toomer, she said.
He asked me if I was interested in buying the business, she said. I didnt have all the money, but he helped me to buy it.
Toomer, who had been living in Bayside at the time, moved into the apartment over the store, she said.
It was strange because I had gotten away from the commercial strip, she said. It was so noisy; I wasnt used to it.
Now Toomer, who lives in Elmont, L.I., often puts in 12-hour days to manage the store with the help of her son, the only other employee, and her sister, she said.
About nine years ago, however, Toomer expanded her business to sell vitamin supplements. A friend told her about Golden Neo-Life Diamite, a direct marketing company whose distributors sell natural herb-based products to help people replace nutrients they may lack, Toomer said. GNLD offers supplements to target a variety of health issues, from blood pressure to allergies and premenstrual syndrome symptoms to impotence.
You dont sell a person on anything, she said. You just have what they need. Its great just to be able to keep people healthy. Ive been able to help so many people.
In addition to keeping her own blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels normal, Toomer and GNLD products have helped her brother-in-law withstand chemotherapy treatments, one of her truck drivers lower his dangerously high blood pressure and her sister recover from a badly broken leg, Toomer said.
Doctors arent trained in herbs, she said. They think, if you cant heal it, cut it out.
And although the liquor store sales are doing well, selling the GNLD products helps Toomer cover business expenses more easily, she said.
Its largely responsible for my being here, she said. I dont have to totally rely on the store. It allows me to have stock on the shelves.
Despite the protective glass barrier that encloses the store, Toomer has not had any problems with violence or theft, she said.
I have very loyal customers. Our customers look out for us. Weve never had a problem.
Toomer is also active in the local business community, she said. She and a few other store owners organized Christmas lights for Merrick Boulevard one year, but the project did not have the full support of the community then, so the lights were not restrung the next year, she said.
I really do think it makes such a difference at Christmastime, Toomer said. It just never went forth.
As a member of the fledgling Laurelton Local Development Corp., Toomer is excited about the prospect of working with other business and property owners to improve the area, especially along Merrick Boulevard.
We want people to get involved, she said. I really think its going to go well this time.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2003 Community News Group
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