ONCE A SMALL ENTERPRISE, THIS NEW JERSEY-BASED BOUTIQUE HAS GROWN INTO ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S LARGEST ONLINE RETAILERS
BY JESSICA JONES-GORMAN • PHOTOS BY TOM ZAPCIC
When Giralda Ortega emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in the early 1970s, she founded a small baby boutique in the waterfront town of West New York. “My grandmother owned a baby boutique in Cuba, and when she came to the United States, she wanted to continue that business,” noted Enelio Ortega, who currently owns and operates Bambi Baby with his brother, Elvis. “It started out initially as layettes and maybe one or two cribs and strollers. Today the business has evolved to become the largest baby furniture store in the country.”
Launched in 1976 and built on an old-fashioned mom and pop premise, Ortega’s original business survived several economic downturns simply by providing quality products and service to New Jersey families. When the dot-com boom started impacting retail in the early 2000s, Ortega had the foresight to propel his small family store into the digital era.
“I joined the business right after I graduated high school in 1987,” he said, detailing his early involvement as a delivery truck driver. “I gradually took on larger roles within the business and in 2005, after realizing how powerful online shopping had become, I launched bambibaby.com.”
Offering a range of furniture and luxe gear (think strollers, car seats, and high chairs), the website soon became a go-to shopping destination for families across the country. Delivering to 48 states, Bambi Baby is now one of the nation’s most trusted baby supply authorities.
“When other stores were downsizing and giants like Babies R Us were closing, we were expanding. We’ve now grown to encompass four stores the original 1,500-square-foot shop in West New York is still in operation, and now there are additional locations in Middletown and Melville, Long Island. In 2019 we opened a 100,000-square-foot store, distribution center, and warehouse facility in Paramus.”
Considered one of the largest online baby shops in the country with a powerful and respected registry service, Bambi Baby offers a combination of online and in-store shopping for tri-state residents.
“We’re no longer a traditional brick-and-mortar operation; instead our stores have become showrooms for our website,” said the owner.
Titling the concept “brick and click,” Ortega explained the Bambi Baby experience allows customers the advantage of physically walking into a shop and touching and feeling the merchandise while still being offered the competitive pricing and instant gratification of buying online.
“It’s a strong business model that appeals to the Baby Boomer grandma as much as it attracts the Millennium mom.”
What also makes the concept work is the fact that Ortega only partners with premium brands, noting, “We have high standards for safety because our products have a delicate user.” He is proud to say that, after more than 40 years in business, not one of his products has ever been recalled.
“Cribs, car seats, strollers these are important purchases. Our philosophy is to only sell the best, most quality brands. If my family trusts it, then your family can trust it too.”
After more than four decades in the business, furniture remains Bambi Baby’s biggest seller, but the owner said his customers’ wants and needs continually change.
“Our customers are probably most passionate about strollers right now. Strollers today are like handbags and cell phones; they have become the ultimate accessory. And brands like Uppa Baby and Nuna have become very powerful, only sold in premium locations. I’m proud to say that we carry all of these brands and more.”
The boutique offers white glove delivery “We deliver everything but the baby” is its slogan and pays strict attention to customer service. According to Ortega, it’s those details that have kept his family business so successful over the past 44 years.
“Our business is still growing because we pay attention to our customers’ wants and needs. Over the years I have watched older generations of businesses dwindle down and deteriorate. That’s why we make it a priority to continually invest and improve upon our facilities and service. It’s our ultimate goal at Bambi Baby to deliver the best quality product to our customers in the most efficient way. Our customers can depend upon that.”
5409 Bergenline Avenue, West New York 201.867.1084 1111 NJ-35,
Middletown / 201.875.5745 491 Route 17 S,
Paramus / 201.875.5750 Route 110, 516
Walt Whitman Road N, Melville / 631.450.4447