New management brings familiar faces to Sunshine and Rainbows

Sunshine and Rainbows continues to shine under the guidance and ownership of a new family.

The Almeida family, twin brothers Nate and Neil Almeida and wives Jen and Cassie, took over the Gardnerville Ranchos childcare center and preschool after owner Nina Grobben retired last month.

The new licensed director, Jen Almeida, said the Almeidas were approached by their friends the Grobbens about taking over the existing business of Sunshine and Rainbows.

"Nina was looking for someone who cares about the community - someone not corporate," said Jen Almeida, 32.

Linda Naucke, who helped found the center 27 years ago, is staying on at Sunshine.

"This situation is splitting me in half," said Naucke. "One side of me is happy to see this new family but the other side melts to see Nina leave."

Neil Almeida said they have big shoes to fill but they don't need to change much about the childcare center.

"What Nina did was what other centers don't do - it provides a place for the community to go," he said.

"We're keeping a lot of Nina's views. We plan to update things with computers for check-ins and security."

Another change for security reasons will be the addition of sunshine-orange T-shirts for all the center's charges.

"We'll have T-shirts for kids when they go on field trips," said Neil Almeida. "In bright colors to make it safe and to keep it fun."

Sunshine and Rainbows is licensed for 167 children from infants through age 12.

"We have an average of 100 kids per day in the summer," said Jen Almeida. "We go on field trips to places like Boom Town, Chuck E. Cheese, the swim center, Lampe Park - it makes their summers so much more fun.

"We have an infant-toddler center that Nina added three years ago. The baby center is self-contained," she said.

Neil Almeida said the decision to take over Sunshine was a group effort.

"After Art (Grobben) suggested we buy Sunshine, we talked about it for months," Neil Almeida said.

He said they worked out all aspects of taking over a childcare business.

Jen Almeida, a member of the Springmeyer family, had worked at Sunshine and Rainbows as a high school student and continued with childcare at Creative Gardens and at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Her husband Nate Almeida has been a deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for nine years and expects he'll fill-in at the center, drive the bus and work on his "honey dew" list.

Being an electrician is a handy occupation for Neil Almeida to be as the director's go-to person. He's worked with his father Eddie Almeida at Minden Electric for seven years.

The couples each have three children with Cassie and Neil Almeida expecting a fourth child any day.

"We all went through school together and the closeness and support of our families will make this thing work," said Neil Almeida.

"It's our baby," said Jen Almeida. "It was nine months in the making."

"We want to go above and beyond baby-sitters - to be caring, loving, compassionate," said Neil Almeida. "The goal is to focus on kids. We're all excited."

Sunshine and Rainbows is at 1288 Dresslerville Road in the Gardnerville Ranchos. They are open from 6:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Call 265-2185.

What: Sunshine and Rainbows

Where: 1288 Dresslerville Road, Gardnerville Ranchos

When: 6:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Info: 265-2185


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