Friday, January 28, 2022

Business Spotlight: Guff's Grub and Pub

There’s an old saying in the restaurant business that great food draws attention and brings people together and that’s exactly the premise behind the new Guff’s Grub and Pub in Standish. 

Located at 450 Northeast Road, Guff’s Grub and Pub is owned by Kristen Guffey and opened for business on Dec. 1. Featuring a mouth-watering menu of sandwiches, pub favorites and beverages, Guff’s is quickly becoming a go-to destination for those who love tasty meals served in a fun atmosphere or a casual lunch or dinner with friends. 

Serving high-quality meals and focusing on attentive and personalized customer service are the basic foundations of Guff’s Grub and Pub, according to Guffey.

She’s also aware that the primary reason anyone visits a restaurant is for the food and the delicious meals that Guff’s Grub and Pub serves are reasonably priced and prepared on the spot.

“It’s all homemade and fresh,” Guffey said. “I smoke most of my meats that we serve such as wings, pork belly, corned beef, and pulled pork. I make really good food and that’s the best thing about what I do here.”

Guffey said she’s strived to ensure costs are affordable so everyone can enjoy Guff’s Grub and Pub.

“The food and alcohol prices are great I believe,” Guffey said. “They’re not too expensive and not bottom dollar.”

The menu is precisely what you would expect from a popular pub restaurant with a few surprises too.

For appetizers, Guff’s Grub and Pub offers Mozzarella Sticks; Chicken Wings; Fried Thai Chili Brussels Sprouts; Poutine Fries; Chili Cheese Fries; Fried Pickles; Spicy Onion Strings; Sweet Potato Fries; and French Fries. The menu includes a selection of soups, Caesar and Garden Salads; and Coleslaw.  

Diners at Guff’s can choose from a Fried Chicken Sandwich; a Fried Buffalo Chicken Sandwich; Grilled Cheese; Steak & Cheese; BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich; Reuben Sandwich; BLT Sandwich; Pork Belly BLT Sandwich; Fried Haddock Sandwich; Fish and Chips; Mac and Cheese; Chicken Tenders and Steak Tips. And all sandwiches are served with hand-cut fries.

Guff’s Grub and Pub also has four different types of burgers, some of the best pizza to be found in the Lakes Region of Maine and a generous assortment of beer sure to please.

“Many of our items on the menu are very popular but I would have to say we sell a lot of chicken tenders,” Guffey said. “People just love them.”

A favorite for both take-out and dining-in, Guff’s is family friendly and has an assortment of arcade games and a billiard table for kids of all ages.

Reviews are enthusiastic and positive.

The food was phenomenal! The fried chicken sandwich was homemade and perfectly breaded and the produce on it was crisp and fresh. The buffalo chicken mac & cheese was made to order and was in the most delicious cheese sauce. Definitely check this place out and have some great grub.” Dana Peterson

“Everything was cooked to perfection, tasted delicious, staff is quick and friendly! Would highly recommend.” Marissa Perron

“Just had the best buffalo wings! I appreciate you guys at Guffs!” Chris Wilson

“Went today for the first time looking for a home cook feel meal and got that and more, incredible food, fun and service.” Tim Boe

Our food was so delicious, the haddock sandwich is light and fluffy, not greasy; and the hand cut fries… mmm good. They have a good beer selection too.” Tammy Fitzgerald

Such a fun place great food especially their Fries!!! The kids played arcade games waiting for their food which even my picky eaters loved!!! Great service!” Kate Estes

Guff’s Grub and Pub is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Mondays. 

To place a take-out order, call 207-648-4461. Visit them on Facebook at Gruff’s Grub and Pub.

“This is a labor of love for us and I'm looking forward to serving all types of customers, new or repeat,” Guffey said. “We want to be consistent with our food and service so that our patrons can always have a good experience here and to have it the exact same way the next time and each time that they visit Guff’s Grub and Pub.” <

Friday, January 21, 2022

Business Spotlight: Eagle Japanese Sushi & Steak House

Windham may be a world away from Japan, but for anyone looking to put their taste buds to the test, the new owner of Eagle Japanese Sushi & Steak House promises a dining experience second to none no matter if you’re dining in or taking out. 

Tao Zheng recently purchased the popular restaurant at 818 Roosevelt Trail and immediately set out to win the hearts and minds of diners by upgrading quality of the authentic Japanese sushi and hibachi dishes served at Eagle Japanese Sushi & Steak House, but also by focusing on providing attentive and courteous customer service to everyone who visits the restaurant.

“We pay more attention to the freshness of the food, the quality of the food, and the taste of the food itself, and strive to bring good food to everyone,” Zheng said. “We also focus on service.”

Open for two months under Zheng’s direction, Eagle Japanese Sushi & Steak House has six employees and has upgraded many meals offered on the menu by using higher quality products and fish.

“I can bring you food that I think is better,” Zheng said. “When I first took over this restaurant, I made a lot of changes compared to the previous owner, such as the menu, the quality of the food, and canceled some of the previous food, which caused many people to not accept it.”

He said that currently patrons have identified Crab Rangoons, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Ayoza, Rock Shrimp, Sushi and Sashimi, and Japanese Teriyaki as among some of the most popular meals that the restaurant prepares.

“We have made a lot of changes whether it was the food itself or the environment at the restaurant, we are all different,” Zheng said. “I will often hear people say that the food in our restaurant is better than before. It will be a little more expensive than before, but everyone thinks it is worth it because we use the best fish to do sushi.”

Customers that have visited recently have nothing but positive things to say. One customer wrote a google review which said, “Amazing staff, delicious food! The quality of the food is second to none. Extremely friendly service, and fast preparation of items. The ingredients are fresh and made to order. Would absolutely recommend this place. A hidden gem!”

Another patron raved about the food and service saying, “This fried rice is perfect, this ice cream is also beautiful, what’s more, the service is awesome. I will be back!”

According to Zheng, the restaurant’s menu features classic rolls which include six pieces per order and mouth-watering delicacies such as Super White Tuna; Spicy Crunchy Crab; Yellowtail Scallion; Eel Avocado; Shrimp Cucumber and many more.

Sushi Bar starters offer Blackened Tuna; Spicy Tartar Tower; Beef Tataki; Fugi Mountain; Yellowtail Jalapeno; Seafood Ceviche; Crunchy White Tuna; Sunomono; Star Wishes; Sushi Appetizer; Sasimi Appetizer; and Crazy Buffet with four pieces of jalapeno, cheese tuna or salmon deep fried with tobiko, scallions or crunchy.

Classic Japanese Teriyaki dishes are also available at Eagle Japanese Sushi & Steak House served in chicken; shrimp; salmon; scallop; steak; filet mignon; and twin lobster tail meals or in 20 different teriyaki combinations.

All Hibachi dishes at Eagle Japanese Sushi & Steak House are served with hibachi fried rice with vegetable and two pieces of hibachi shrimp, green salad, and clear soup. Hibachi single-item meals are available in Vegetable; Tofu; Chicken; Calamari; Shrimp; Swordfish; Salmon; Scallop; Steak; Filet Mignon; and Twin Lobster Tail and in 26 different types of combinations. Hibachi portions for children under 12 are also served.

Eagle Japanese Sushi & Steak House is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.

Lunch specials are available and online or phone ordering for pick-up is offered.

“We are doing a discount now and we welcome everyone to come in and try it,” Zheng said. “We will be changing our name in two months to let everyone know we have a new owner. Everyone is welcome to participate  in helping us come up with a new name and there will be rich rewards for winning. We have improved the quality of our food and want to bring the best to everyone.” 

Visit Eagle Japanese Sushi & Steak House online at www.eaglesushi.com or call to place an order at 207-893-8081 or 207-893-8658. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with specials and events and to submit your ideas for a new restaurant name. <

Friday, January 14, 2022

Business Spotlight: Willie's Towing

Those who’ve ever had to call a towing service for assistance know that it’s often at the worst imaginable time, such as following an auto accident, in the middle of the night, or on the way for a vacation. Willie’s Towing of Windham is aware of this and offers quick response, friendly tow truck drivers and fair pricing when you need it the most. 

Owned and operated by Willie Baxter of Windham, Willie’s Towing has been in business since 2012 and Baxter has decades of experience in the towing business, having worked in the industry since 1988.

With four trucks and six employees, Willie’s Towing is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and employees take pride in being able to lend a hand when needed.

“It can be stressful at times when we get five or six calls all at the same time,” Baxter said. “But we love what we do and have the expertise to do the job right.”

Willie’s Towing provides towing and roadside assistance in Windham, Raymond, Standish, and the entire Southern Maine Lakes Region.

“Certainly, the best part of this business is meeting people and helping them to feel more comfortable,” Baxter said. “We emphasize friendly, courteous and generous service and we have the experience and the skills to do our job effectively.”

Along with 24-hour emergency availability, Willie’s Towing provides AAA towing; car and light-duty truck towing; light commercial towing; tire changes; gasoline service; winch and recovery services; impound services; boat towing; and motorcycle towing.

They also offer lockout services; junk car removal; construction equipment; jumpstarting of vehicles; local flatbed towing; battery service; and much more.

Willie’s can help drivers become unstuck in the snow and pull vehicles out of embankments when they run off the road.

“I try to be as up front as I can when people call us for help,” Baxter said. “I’ll tell you right away if we can do it or not. Your time is valuable, and we don’t want to waste it if we can’t help.”

Towing drivers are tested under all types of weather conditions and emergency situations and the challenges they encounter are varied. They could be called to the scene of an accident or by a mother trying to take her children to school first thing in the morning. It requires tact and courtesy and the knowledge of how to deal with others in stressful circumstances.

The situations that Willie’s Towing drivers may experience is never the same, Baxter said. It could be to retrieve a broken-down vehicle from a busy highway in the middle of the night or extract a car from a crowded parking lot with very little space to maneuver the tow truck.

“We never know what we will be facing on any particular day,” Baxter said. “But we’re here and we’re ready to help.”

Their willingness to help has earned rave reviews from their customers.

Judith S. posted this review on Yelp:

“Don't you hate the feeling when you go out to start your car for work and all you get is that dreaded grinding noise? Willie to the rescue!  Aside from being a really nice guy, the service was prompt, and he gave me hints on what to do next and how to tell when the problem is my battery versus something else.  Love local companies run by people in my community who have your interests in mind.  Great service and a really reasonable price.  Wouldn't call anyone else.”

Baxter is grateful for his success in the towing business and says it is dependent upon how his customers are treated.

“I share this with all my employees and expect them to follow it,” he said. “I want the people that work with me to treat our customers as if they were their own parents.”

Willie Towing is certified by AAA and is located at 999 River Road in Windham. They can be reached at 207-310-0469. Visit them online at https://www.williestowing.com/ on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/williestowing/ <

Friday, January 7, 2022

Business Spotlight: Richie Vraux, Better Homes and Gardens

When it comes to buying and selling a home in the Lakes Region, generations have come to rely on the expertise and personalized service of Richie Vraux of Better Homes and Gardens, The Masiello Group, Maine’s Premier Team.  

Vraux, a Broker and a REALTOR®, knows exactly what needs to be done for his clients and believes that working tirelessly for those who seek his help is the primary factor for his long-term success.

“I am a fulltime broker with 25 years of experience,” Vraux said. “I help navigate every deal for my clients, either buyers or sellers.”

According to Vraux, his diligence and willingness to put in the extra effort sometimes required distinguish him from the competition.

“Lots of companies work Monday through Friday are encouraged to take the weekend off,” he said. “I work weekends and more when buyers and sellers are off. I am available when they need me to be.”

He’s proud of his work and Vraux says the secret to being effective in his job is listening and communicating.

“It’s all about satisfying people - both sellers and buyers,” he said. “In the years I’ve been doing this I’ve never had a bad review and have maintained a high level of professionalism.”

Working throughout Southern Maine but mostly in the Lakes Region, Vraux is an independent working for Better Homes and Gardens, The Masiello Group, out of their office located at 76 Tandberg Trail in Windham.

“I offer my clients, whether it be buyers or sellers, the best advice I can,” he said. “I offer advice to help sellers obtain the highest and best use for selling their property. For buyers I listen to their needs and wants and their price range, help them to become qualified and negotiate in their best interest.”

Vraux’s extensive knowledge of the real estate business, what properties are available, and his ability to help clients clearly grasp and understand all of the specifics and details of transactions, also are invaluable tools to those he serves.

“Communication is truly the key to building and sustaining a successful business,” Vraux said. “I make it a point to touch base with past clients for their recommendations. I’ve been successful in building a family of people who’ve bought and sold with me over the years. They have been the recipients of the personalized service I offer to all my clients.”

Vraux said he often tells his clients when a deal closes that it doesn’t end there. “I say to them that they’re not done with me; I ask them to tell their family and friends to see Richie Vraux when they need help with real estate,” he said.

The greatest misconception people may have about real estate are held by homeowners, who feel that they know the value of their home before they decide to sell, Vraux said.

“Sellers do think their properties are worth more than they actually are sometimes,” he said. “I do a thorough  comparative market analysis so that they can understand the competition out there.”

The pricing for his services is fair and reasonable. “Most REALTORS® follow a set commission of 6 percent,” Vraux said. “I am flexible depending on each property and conditions. I am in line with most REALTORS®.”

He’s also one of the first real estate agents in this area to offer cutting edge technology through Hommati Dynamic Visual Content, a service that features 3-D interactive tours, aerial videos, virtual staging and HD photography for prospective buyers and sellers.     

Vraux said that his greatest accomplishment is putting a smile on the faces of first-time home buyers as they move into their newly purchased residence.

A recent client gave him a five-star review saying, “Richie is by far one of the best real estate agents I have ever met. He has gone above and beyond and exceeded expectations. While this is our first home buying experience he worked closely with us helping us navigate one of the hottest markets in U.S history. He was able to get us into showings where we thought for sure they would be booked up. While we missed out on some houses due to better offers Richie stayed positive and continued to support us throughout the entire process. I would highly recommend Richie to anyone who is looking to buy or sell a property as he has connections in the real estate world that prove to be very helpful.”

To learn more about Richie Vraux and experience his exceptional services, call him at 207-317-1297 or email: richardvraux@masiello.com. You can also view his website at: richardvraux.masiello.com, where you will find many educational articles, see more testimonials and to sign up for Market Watch which will keep you in the know and up to date on the housing market and trends in your area. Also find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/richardvraux <

Friday, December 31, 2021

Business Spotlight: Southpaw Meat Market

With years of experience and an emphasis on providing quality products to the community direct from local farmers, the owners of the new Southpaw Meat Market believe customers will soon realize they have a new favorite shop in Raymond.

Nichole and Leon Sargent own Southpaw Meat Market at 1233 Roosevelt Trail, Unit 2 in Raymond, formerly known as PrimeCut Meat Market, and offer fresh, frozen, and cured meats as well as poultry products and locally sourced items. They also have honey, cheeses, maple syrup, whoopie pies, and their own line of rubs and spices with many more items added weekly.

“The most significant aspect of our business is our knowledge of the industry and our relationships with our producers,” said Nichole Sargent. “We look to source quality products. We run a USDA facility and have carried over the standards of operation to Southpaw Meat Market.”

The shop opened in November and is a natural progression for the couple, who also own and operate the highly successful Windham Butcher Shop. Nichole Sargent’s background as a longtime human services provider and as an agricultural enthusiast, allow her to take an active leadership role for the business, while her husband, Leon Sargent, has more than 30 years of experience in the industry and his strong relationships with suppliers and producers have led to a meaningful understanding of the craft of butchering.

Their dedication to operational standards, cleanliness, and sound production practices are essential to the success of Southpaw Meat Market, the couple says.    

“We are passionate about wanting to provide our customers with truly outstanding products and to incorporate local farmers and producers here in Maine as much as we can,” Nichole Sargent said. “We love educating our customers and sharing our knowledge with them.”

According to Sargent, Southpaw Meat Market will focus on quality and offering the finest cuts of meat.

“We will not try to compete with the big conglomerates as it is impossible in our industry to do so in this ‘pandemic world.’ I don’t see others as competitors, I see them as reinforcements,” she said. “In order for small businesses to be successful, we have to work together.

I have been advocating for businesses like ours to have better options to health care, mental health services and so much more, I am an advocate for collaboration. Don’t get me wrong, I am fierce and very competitive, however, I am also truly passionate about our industry, the future of farming and sustaining Maine’s small businesses, so we need to work together. We want to be the best, not the cheapest.”

Sargent said that Southpaw Meat Market works closely with Colt Knight, Assistant Extension and State Livestock Specialist Professor at the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension Program.

“He has been a great asset to our other business, and we are already in the works to create an educational piece for the market,” she said. “We will offer choices and suggest options to our customers. We will be sharing recipes and have exciting plans for the market in the future.”

Because the previous owner was so successful, the transition has been tough for some customers, but Sargent said she and her husband believe if given an opportunity to earn their trust and business, customers will come to appreciate the quality and high standards that Southpaw Meat Market will achieve.

“The previous owner had a very successful business and did an amazing job, and her shoes will be hard to fill,” Sargent said. “Kindness goes a long way as we learn each of the customer’s needs, likes and personalities.”

She said Southpaw Meat Market’s biggest hurdles are finding skilled labor, some supply chain issues, and obtaining the inventory they need to fill the meat case for their customers.

“When we say, we can’t get it, it’s not that we don’t want your business, it’s that we know we cannot get what you are asking for,” she said. “We carefully source our products, and we keep our hand on the pulse of the protein industry.”

She said for Southpaw Meat Market to become successful, it will take a measure of collaboration and communication with customers.

“We believe in treating people with dignity and respect,” Sargent said. “It takes a community to have a successful business, and everyone has to work together. Our employees are learning and growing. We will have hiccups, but remember we are humans, not machines.”

For more information about Southpaw Meat Market, visit https://southpawpacking.com/  or call 207-655-2646 and look for their new website coming soon. <

Friday, December 17, 2021

Business Spotlight: The Movement Lab Collective

Parkour is taking the world by storm and now everyone has an opportunity to try this training movement which focuses on body and mind. The Movement Lab Collective has opened in Windham and specializes in Parkour training. 

According to Edward Whitehead, The Movement Lab Collective owner, Parkour uses natural, free and effective movements to overcome obstacles. It includes running, climbing, jumping, balancing, swinging, rolling and many other movements that participants find most convenient for any situation.

“As a kid I was fascinated with martial arts movies and video games,” Whitehead said. “I had an innate desire to explore. I stumbled across some YouTube Parkour videos and thought this is for real, it wasn’t movie magic. A switch in my head clicked and I figured I could learn how to do it.”

At the age of 18, Whitehead traveled to the French Alps to a town called Morzine with a group called Parkour Generations for his first formal training in the movement. Since then, he decided to make Parkour his career and opened The Movement Lab Creative in the Windham Mall on Dec. 10.

The most challenging aspect of opening a business to train participants in Parkour in Maine was finding just the right facility, Whitehead said.

“We spent a lot of time scouting locations as the specifications for Parkour are quite specific and we needed adequate ceiling height,” he said. “We needed someplace easily accessible and with good foot traffic. To find a space with all those boxes checked was a huge challenge.”

Whitehead said he was pleased to find a 6,000-foot facility with 20-foot ceilings in the Windham Mall to open The Movement Lab Collective as one of the first Parkour training sites to be established in Maine.

“It is close enough to draw participants from Portland, Gray, Raymond, Oxford, and New Gloucester,” Whitehead said. “Being able to reach a wider area helps out in that respect.”

He said the most important thing he wants the community to know about Parkour is that anybody can do it.

“It’s all about step-by-step incremental progression of developing skill sets,” Whitehead said. “You can take it as far as you want, and the sport is evolving.”

The best thing about Parkour is that it’s fun, he said.

“You’re able to move your body creatively and practically,” Whitehead said. “You develop a skill set to whip you body into shape quickly.”

Whitehead said that in Parkour, the world around you is perceived as a huge playground in which you have to find new ways to move through your environment quickly and efficiently. It is a full-body workout that improves your body awareness and coordination at the same time.

The movement now known as Parkour originated from a French military training method and evolved into a sport that emphasizes smoothly overcoming obstacles within a participant's path by adjusting the participant’s movements to the surroundings they encounter.

Setting up The Movement Lab Collective after finding the right facility to locate it in took some time.

“It actually took about six weeks to build,” Whitehead said. “What we set out to do is to create a space that is authentic to the Parkour experience.”

With a staff of four, The Movement Lab Collective is now taking booking for Parkour classes and options for membership. It is offering an introductory promotion for the rest of December for just $50 for two classes and open gym and Whitehead said anyone who signs up in January will receive a 15 percent discount. An array of other special pricing is also available.

The Movement Lab Collective can be found at 795 Roosevelt Trail, Unit 14 inside the Windham Mall. It is open from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday; noon to 6 p.m. Friday; and 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. On weekends from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. birthday celebrations and parties are available for bookings at the facility.

Call The Movement Lab Collective at 207-572-4000 to see for yourself what Parkour is all about. Visit them online at www.movementlabcollective.com or find them on Facebook at The Movement Lab Collective. <

Friday, December 10, 2021

Business Spotlight: Spectrum

Spectrum plans to double in size, hiring an additional 175 Customer Service Representative positions currently supporting Spectrum Mobile™ customers at its Spectrum Mobile Call Center in Portland, now through the end of 2022. The positions are part of the call center’s transition from working with TV customers to specialized support of Spectrum Mobile™.

Spectrum Mobile Customer Service Representatives provide comprehensive service, including billing, account management, activation services and technical support. These roles offer career progression opportunities and robust benefits, including competitive hourly wages starting at $18 an hour, with a shift differential for evening work hours, as part of Charter’s commitment to a $20 minimum starting wage in 2022.

“Spectrum Mobile customer service roles offer career opportunities to hard-working local talent,” said Joe Ploof, Vice President of Mobile Customer Service for Spectrum. “Over the last two years, we have added hundreds of career defining positions to our community. We are continuing to hire to support the fastest-growing mobile provider in the country.”

An open job fair for the positions will be held on Thursday, Dec. 16, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Spectrum’s Mobile Call Center, located at 901 Washington Ave., Suite 300 in Portland.

Interested applicants will have the opportunity to speak with members of the Spectrum team about the Customer Service Representative position and answer any additional questions about the company. Applicants are welcome to bring an updated resume with them for submission, and from there, the applicant interview and hiring process will begin. 

Spectrum provides comprehensive health benefits, and for the past nine years, has absorbed the full annual cost increase of medical, dental and vision coverage. The company also offers a market-leading retirement plan, with a 401(k) that matches the first 6 percent\% of employee contributions, plus a Retirement Accumulation Plan with an additional 3% company contribution, for which most employees are eligible. Spectrum employees can receive up to $5,250 per year in education assistance, as well as complimentary and discounted Spectrum services. To find out more or to apply, please visit https://jobs.spectrum.com/ and search keyword: ‘mobile’ for customer service job.

Charter is committed to diversity and inclusion in every aspect of the business. To exceed customers' expectations, we strive to deliver high-quality products and services by embracing the unique perspectives and experiences of our employees and partners.

We are proud of our workforce reflecting the full range of diversity and abilities in the markets we serve, and are actively working to promote diversity at every level of our organization. We foster an inclusive environment where employees feel respected, engaged and able to reach their full potential.

Charter Communications, Inc. was founded in 1993, and while the company has grown dramatically over the past two decades, our roots take us back to the pioneering days of cable. What began as mom-and-pop businesses in the late 1940s with cable strung from hilltop to homes has morphed into the advanced, high-tech cable industry that Charter is at the forefront of today.

With a network spanning more than 750,000 miles, Charter serves more than 31 million customers in 41 states through the Spectrum brand. Our vast infrastructure helps fuel innovation and delivers a robust offering of advanced services including faster broadband speeds, better video products, voice service, and a mobile offering to support customers’ on-the-go. Charter is a leading broadband connectivity company positioned to provide innovative services at a great value to meet customers connectivity needs today and into the future.

More information about Charter can be found at corporate.charter.com. <