Work We Do: Rick Kemler, VanKemenade Paint

My name is Rick Kemler. I’m the manager of VanKemenade Paint out in Jamesport.

We’re a division of Brinkmann Hardware. I’ve been here with VanKemenade coming on 10 years. 

I’ve been in the business for 45 years, which is hard for me to even accept myself. And for many of those years, I had my own paint store in the Greenlawn-Huntington area.

A normal day, for me, is waking up at 4:15 in the morning, getting ready, leaving at 5 a.m. We open at 6 for the contractors. Our day is 6 o’clock in the morning to 6 o’clock in the evening.

In season, right out of the blocks, we’re busy with our contractors and retail. Now, we’re busy with our contractor base clientele, many of which live outside the area.

Jamesport is a relatively small community, so we depend on outside business to support us.

Many of them travel quite a decent distance and pass many other local establishments to shop with us. Contractors come from Orient, Greenport, Hampton Bays, Westhampton. We try to satisfy them as much as we can. We enjoy dealing with these guys on a regular basis. We get to know them, we get to know their families.

We try to listen to all our customers. Our main concern is that we try to present our customers with a neat, clean shopping experience. I think we have unparalleled customer service. We treat every customer that walks through the door like they are our most important client. And they are. It seems to be working out pretty good for us.

We get first-time home buyers all the time and that’s very nice.

My favorite part is the daily routine, just the customer base. I’m a people person. I enjoy the different customers, from the retail to the contractor, listening to their needs, trying to satisfy what they’re after.

“The Work We Do” is a Riverhead News-Review multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview.