Friday, February 23, 2018

Business spotlight First Portland Mortgage by Michelle Libby it comes to mortgages, having a professional who knows the ins and outs of the business can make all the difference. The mortgage professionals at First Portland Mortgage are specialists and can help with a home purchase, refinance, investment properties, government loans and construction loans. They’ve been doing mortgages, and mortgages only, for almost 30 years.

While their local physical presence is an office on Route 100 in Falmouth from which they serve the entire state of Maine, they also compete on line with a robust website and application platform called Blink, through which the entire process can be automated to the greatest extent possible. First Portland’s employees actually answer the phone and are available nights and weekends as well.  That’s not something you can expect from your bank or credit union!  

“We’ve been around so long because of the focus we’ve had from the beginning on low rates without diminution of services,” said Eduard van Loenen, who’s been the company’s president since founding the company so many years ago.

First Portland Mortgage provides residential mortgages for one to four family homes. Whether it’s a first home, an upsize or down size home, or an apartment building for up to four families, the professionals at First Portland Mortgage walk customers through the process and are advocates for the buyer in a transaction.

Besides the standard conventional loans, government loans, and jumbo loans, they also take on portfolio loans in house for those who might not meet the regular requirements for traditional loans. In addition, they provide creative construction and renovation loans to help finance their clients’ dreams.

“Because we only do mortgages, and specialize in them, we can be highly efficient and cost effective.  These benefits are then passed on to the customers in the form of lower rates”, said Kristeen Smith.

Rates can of course change from minute to minute, depending on market trading of mortgage backed securities, but First Portland always has the most current rates posted on their website.  Rates can also vary from client to client depending on credit scores. The minimum credit score for all programs is 560. The best rates for a conventional loan are for those with 740 or better and for government loans it’s 680.

First Portland is proud of being known for low rates and high service. After all these years of being in business, many of their clients today are children or even grandchildren or other relatives and friends of their many previously satisfied clients.  “There’s nothing we like better than to get a referral from a happy client”, said Smith, adding, “we are in the business of helping people qualify for a mortgage”.

Using First Portland’s online platform called Blink, customers can get pre-qualified online and work with this sophisticated tool throughout the process.  Folks are of course also invited to call, stop by, or do a combination of these to get the process started.  “We make it really easy to do business here. We don’t make promises we won’t deliver on,” said Smith.

While bank and credit union loan officers are not required to be licensed and maintain annual continuing education credits, First Portland’s mortgage specialists are all licensed after 20 hours of training, and then do continuing education every year in order to maintain that license.

Kristeen Smith has seen purchase deals fall through because the home buyers did not take the trouble to get pre-qualified before going house hunting.  This pre-qualification strengthens the buyer’s possible offer because sellers like to see that the buyer already has financing in place. Smith says, “we’re so easily accessible and make the pre-qualification process very quick and painless, so why wait doing that important step?”.

Refinancing loans for debt consolidation or to purchase another property?  First Portland Mortgage would love to help. They personalize the mortgage process to meet the needs of the client. They work anywhere in the State of Maine and are always available.
For more information, visit or find them on social media.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Business spotlight: Fielding’s Oil and Propane Company by Michelle Libby’s Oil and Propane is a trusted, family-owned, Maine company that services customers all over Southern and Central Maine as well as the Rochester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire areas. The company owned by Bill and Dave Fielding, who bought it from their parents 20 years ago, is one of the top names in fuel.
Whether it’s gasoline, heating or air conditioning service, Fielding’s can help most everyone.
The company runs 30 oil trucks, seven propane trucks, four transports that deliver wholesale fuel and 14 burner service technicians. It also has 20 customer service representatives for a total of 75 employees. They work with residential, commercial and industrial clients.

Fielding’s Oil has been delivering to the Windham area for 34 years. They deliver as far north as Bangor and as far south as Newington, New Hampshire, the Hamptons and all towns in between. Between residential and commercial accounts, they have approximately 40,000 customers. 

“Our name’s been around, so they know us. We’ve been around for 50 years,” Bill Fielding said, who started working as a teenager and was groomed into the business. 

Not everyone is primed for this business, it seems. “Finding truck drivers and employees is hard. No one wants to work hard,” Bill said. There are some strict regulations on drivers, and they are in demand. But despite the fact that it is difficult to find the right people, Fielding states he is proud of those who do work for the company. “Good people work within our company,” he added. 

Taking care of customers heating needs all over Maine and into New Hampshire has been challenging, but the team at Fielding’s Oil makes it seem easy.

“We kept up even when it was 20 below,” said Bill. The recent cold weather struck all oil companies hard, but Fielding’s continued to deliver to all its accounts. 

Fielding’s Oil and Propane has a payment plan for any budget. It works with pre-buys, budget plans, cap program, fixed program, automatic delivery, will call and 30-day and 15-day credit plans. Checks, cash and major credit cards are accepted. 

The best part of owning an energy company is “the freedom of having your own business,” said Bill.
Fielding’s Oil delivers to wholesale fuel accounts, to small businesses like landscapers, excavators, farmers and gas stations. It also works with local contractors to help with new construction installations of propane, oil, diesel fuel and K-1 Kerosene heat sources. 

“We do cleaning and everything to do with service,” Bill said. He prides his company on the customer service and ability to meet the needs of every type of customer.  

The importance of having yearly maintenance is vital and Fielding’s Oil and Propane can keep your equipment running smoothly and competently. The combustion process of burning fuel to produce heat must be precise to maintain efficiency and safety. Even a small problem can lead to gas leaking into your home or dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Fielding’s technicians will do a full check to not only clean but also inspect all parts to catch small problems before they turn into major repairs or safety issues.

It is shown that seventy five percent of no-heat calls in the winter are related to lack of maintenance. Not maintaining your furnace can cause it to run less efficiently, making it work harder and therefore increasing your monthly energy bills. Even if your furnace is new, it still requires inspection as various factors can cause rust and dirt to accumulate. It also keeps your warranty valid. 

Having maintenance done in the spring is a great idea since you have spent an entire season running it. Fielding’s Oil and Propane can check for any damage that may have occurred and then if repairs are needed you can come up with a plan and save for any work that does need to be done before the next snowflakes start falling.

For more information or to place an order, call 892-0200 or 1-800-491-3194, visit them on the internet at or stop by one of the four offices: Scarborough, Auburn, Augusta and Newington, NH. They are currently accepting new customers. All offices are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays during the winter months. There is a 24-hour emergency delivery and service line with technicians always on call.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Business spotlight on Angel Nails by Michelle Libby beautiful nails is about more than just putting color on; it’s about personal connections, care and quality work that keeps people coming back again and again. Angel Nails, 1233 Roosevelt Trail in the Raymond Plaza, pride themselves on the work they do to satisfy each one of their clients.
Owner David Mai has owned Angel Nails for eight years. He has a great sense of humor through his broken English and his smiling face is one of the first things seen when entering the salon; adding the charm of the experience. 

Although Mai has worked at a lot of odd jobs in the 27 years he’s been in the United States -
everything from a fork lift driver to working sea urchin production, to laying airplane windows to a beef cutter; but it is at Angel Nails where he works seven days a week that he has finally found his home.

The salon is a family-owned business. Mai, his girlfriend and his daughter all work there and in the winter there are four employees. However, that increases to six employees during the summer months to handle the extra clientele who visit the Lakes Region.

Angel Nails has what clients want and need - and that includes all types of nail polish. They carry diamond coat (also called dip), shellac, acrylic nails and traditional polishes, as well as a glow-in-the-dark powder and mood changing colors as well. The dip nails can last up to three weeks. Despite the fact that there are thousands of colors, Mai will also mix his own colors to satisfy any client’s preferences. 

The most popular types of colors right now are permanent powder colors on acrylic nails. Mai said he does the best pink and white nails in the area. 

At Angel Nails, they also offer hand painted designs. “It’s a lot harder than before. They [the customer] show you what they want on their phone. Before it was limited and now unlimited. I see a picture, I can almost copy it,” said Mai. 

Mai also pointed out that if a customer wants to support a specific sports team or have a design that a friend created, Angel Nails can do that too.  

There are eight manicure stations and six pedicure chairs. This means there is not a lot of wait time. They also cater to parties - a fun way to come in for pampering. Each service offers three selections, Regular, Premium or Deluxe. The Regular is a spa service. Premium has an extra-comfort massage and the Deluxe offers cooling gel, hot stones and more time with the technician. There’s something for everyone. 

“We have good service, clean, take time and quality work at a fair price,” said Mai.
“We care about the quality, more than the quantity. We like to accommodate your schedule,” said Nguyen. 

Styles and shapes vary in what customers like. Almond and pointy shapes have come back into fashion. At Angel Nails there’s no extra charge for this although there often is at other salons, Mai said. “It takes time and one strong hand to make it come out right,” he added. The coffin shape, which looks like a small lampshade and is wide at the bottom at thinner at the top, with a flat tip, and the traditional rounded are some of the designs being done.

Some clients make a two-hour drive to get their nails done. Acrylic nails can last up to 2 months and there’s no charge to fix them if something goes wrong with a nail. 

“They offer personalized service. You come in two times and they know who you are. They take the time,” said client Nicole Kaltsas. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 207-655-8880 or find them on Facebook at Angel Nails Raymond. Walk-ins are welcome. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Business spotlight Dragonfly Integrative Health by Michelle Libby Gladish and Christina Loveland-Dupuis have a passion for helping people using non-traditional methods of healing and caring. They are both trained doulas, herbalists as well as certified thermographers. Michelle is also a certified medical assistant at Bridgton Hospital.
The work they do is steeped in tradition. 
“It’s a different approach to healing,” said Loveland-Dupuis. Thermography, also call Digital Infrared Thermographic Imaging (DITI), uses digital pictures taken of the whole body or a section of the body to help diagnose and detect inflammation and disfunction in the body. “It detects when the body’s not performing the way it’s supposed to,” she added. 

One of the most helpful benefits for clients is to monitor breast health. Thermography can detect abnormalities in the breasts for men and women years before a mammogram can, Loveland-Dupuis said. “There is no radiation, no pain. You sit on a chair and the camera does all the work.” It’s a great way to detect areas where a client should seek additional testing from their general practitioner and it can be used to support a diagnosis to insurance companies. 

The scans taken at Dragonfly Integrative Health are sent to doctors in Florida for interpretation and conclusions, which are sent back to Loveland-Dupuis and Gladish within a week, to review with patients. The doctors look for patterns in the colorful pictures to see where the scans might not be symmetrical. “Breasts are all like fingerprints, all different,” she added.   

Thermography can help discover diverticulitis, thyroid issues, varicose veins, fibromyalgia, TMJ, sinus congestion and muscular pain, to name a few. The technology has been around for years, but is relatively unknown to a large segment of the population.  Most traditional doctors are taught to treat the illness. 

“Education is part of it. Doctors don’t have time to do the research on their own,” said Loveland-Dupuis. “They got into it because they wanted to help people.” Insurance companies dictate the equipment to be used and the timing of tests. A woman who has a history of breast cancer in her family, should not have to wait until she’s 40 years old to get a baseline scan of her breasts. Insurance companies do not cover thermography, but that doesn’t stop Dragonfly clients from taking their health screenings into their own hands.  

Both women work with area practitioners to get clients the services and treatments they need. This puts people in charge of their own healthcare. Gladish and Loveland-Dupuis will help act as advocates for their clients. 

“We can’t answer questions on the scans, but we can educate without crossing the line,” said Gladish.
Dragonfly Integrative Health keeps its prices low and the services can run between $120 to $625 depending on the type of scan. Many get a baseline full body scan and a year later will go back for a follow up to see if anything has changed. Thermography is safe for all ages including children.

Christina Loveland-Dupuis
Dragonfly Integrative Health also travels to other area practices to share knowledge and do clinics with the thermography camera. The nearest is in Falmouth at Willow Woman’s Health, but they also go to Kennebunk to the Aim to be Well, T. Murray Wellness Center in Conway, NH and Greenwood Herbals in Limerick.

For those who would like to use natural herbs to help with chronic or other issues, they will put together a program for their clients. With the use of herbs in teas, extracts and salves, Gladish and Loveland can help the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous systems find balance.
The third service Dragonfly offers is taking care and empowering expectant and post-partum moms as doulas. 

“We empower the moms. We advocate, providing for them physical or emotional support,” said Loveland-Dupuis. “Hollywood makes (having a baby) seem like a torturous process. There is pain, it’s part of nature. There shouldn’t be fear.” 

Michelle Gladish
The doulas work on a birth plan with the expectant mom about four weeks from the due date. They are on call from then until the baby is born. After, they offer post-partum visits to see how the child is doing at home with pets, to make sure the house is baby proofed and to check on the parents.
The rate is a sliding scale to make the services readily available to people who need it, Loveland-Dupuis said. 

For more about Dragonfly Integrative Health, visit, email, call 207-619-2414 or find them on social media. They will be offering a class at their location at 46 Lott’s Drive in Windham on February 3 on thyroid health.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Business Spotlight on MGM Builders and Turner Contracting & Remodeling construction companies MGM Builders and Turner Contracting & Remodeling are excited to
announce that they will be joining forces in 2018. Bob Turner of Turner Contracting & Remodeling will begin developing and managing the new renovations division of MGM Builders, in a move that will add depth and experience to the services that MGM Builders has to offer.

Turner brings with him over 20 years’ experience in general contracting, home renovations, new construction and millwork. He started Turner Contracting & Remodeling with his father over a decade ago, defining the business by its high-quality workmanship and customer satisfaction. They maintained a reputation as a trusted contractor in the local community through their honest and straightforward approach. 

“For the last 13 years I have enjoyed running my own renovation business. Since my Dad retired, I have been doing it on my own and it’s simply too much for one person to do,” Turner said. “I love what I do and I am looking forward to being part of the team at MGM Builders!”

Designing and building custom homes has been the core focus of MGM Builders since their first house was built in Raymond, Maine in 1987. Mike Manning, Founder and General Contractor of MGM Builders, has always been passionate about creating homes for his clients, only using quality materials and craftsmen to ensure that the structure is sound. Bob and his team have valued those same standards in their work, making the merge an effortless one.

Bob Turner
“Bob and I have a long history of referring work to one another. It seems like a natural fit to have him as part of our team. We are extremely excited to be able to offer renovation services to our new and existing customers.” Manning said.

With Turner and his team now on board, the company is equipped to offer the community an expanded list of home building services. With their full-service home renovation and additions division that can do everything from small repairs and renovations to expansive home additions.

“Remodeling can be a difficult process. But, I have found over the years that many homeowners are more inclined to renovate their existing home versus go through the process of building new and relocating,” said Turner. “And now that’s something MGM Builders can offer to those homeowners.”
They will be continuing with custom home design, which is a good fit for families who want to be involved in the design process of their home. Another new service they’ve just added is a collection of pre-designed home plans that are more affordable and faster to build, called Made to Measure home designs. 
Mike Manning

“Clients simply pick their favorite home design, and from there they just need to choose their fixtures, finishes, and colors. It’s a less overwhelming process,” said Anne Manning, Co-Founder and Home Design Specialist at MGM Builders.

Though there are many changes happening within the company, MGM Builders remains committed to operating with consistency and integrity. You’re more than just another customer when you work with them. There is an emphasis on learning about the client and what they want in a home. With over 200 homes built since 1987, they’ve become a trusted local home builder in the Cumberland County Region. 

Turner wants to thank everyone that has supported Turner Contracting over the last 13 years and is looking forward to growing the renovation division of MGM Builders. He can be reached by email at, or his direct line at 207-329-4217.

If you are interested in building a new home, MGM Builders has four lots available right now in the Windham Hill neighborhood development Green Acres, being built to be accepted as a town road with city water. Contact Mike at for more information.

The MGM Builders office is located in the Shops at Sebago Plaza in North Windham and is open on weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can call the office anytime at 207-892-1019, or find out more about their home building services at

Friday, January 19, 2018

Business spotlight: Sticky Bud Farms by Michelle Libby of Sticky Bud Farms Dave and Judy Whitten are advocates and educators when it comes to medical cannabis. The new business at 815 Roosevelt Trail in Windham, seeks to provide alternative means to help those with chronic conditions. 
Medical cannabis is a holistic and non-addictive way for people with a medical certification card and a qualifying condition such as anxiety/PTSD, chronic pain, epilepsy, and many others to get relief. 

Although Dave cannot make any medical claims, many people swear by the results from using their products. It has become a safer, non-addictive alternative to opiate prescription drugs for chronic pain or post-surgery pain management. For $99 people can be checked by a medical doctor and given a medical cannabis card if the person has a qualifying medical condition. The Whittens receive no financial gain from having the doctor in the shop on Saturday mornings. They offer it as a service to the community.

“Times are changing,” Dave said. “Medical marijuana is a health and human service issue. Unlike big pharmaceutical companies, it’s not about money, it’s purely about helping people.” 

Sticky Bud Farms is a caregiver storefront that sells not only medical cannabis but gifts, accessories, glassware, vaporizers, apparel and CBD products that are non-psychotropic and legal for anyone to purchase. The store does have medicine here for those who want it, but Dave is quick to say they are not a dispensary. The space is open, clean bright and a friendly, welcoming environment. There is no hard sell.

“I change people’s lives on a daily basis by helping them,” Dave said. He works with combat veterans for their PTSD and cancer patients. Most of the clients are from ages 30 to 70. Dave is very knowledgeable in the field of medical cannabis and CBD and has expertise in preparing specific blends of products for treating specific needs. Having the ability to customize products based off specific ailments is what makes this business unique. 

CBD salves and tinctures are hemp based. They produce no high, no side effects and do not require a medical card. CBD is legal in all 50 states and is gaining popularity due to its miraculous results relieving conditions for all ages and even pets. They make hemp dog bones for pets with anxiety, arthritis and other pain issues. All of the edibles and candies are made at a commercial kitchen in Portland and they have won many awards and cups over the last three years. In 2016, Dave was awarded the Outstanding Excellence in Caregiving by the Maine Green Cross and the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine Trade Association. 

Another unique service provided by Sticky Bud Farms is an Oxygen Bar. Currently there are eight aromas bottled for different effects with more arriving weekly. Sticky Bud Farms consulted with a licensed respiratory therapist before starting the bar.  A customer sits and inhales the oxygen scented with up to two scents at a time. The scents vary from Zen and Invigorating to Pure O2 and Sex on the Beach.  

“I fell in love with oxygen,” Dave said. It’s a great way to add in a little relaxation and mental clarity to your day. 

“It makes people more alert, more focused,” Dave said. The oxygen bar is used for hangovers, recovery from workouts and a way to relax. “It’s a nice break in the midst of a busy day.” 

Dave is available for free consultations about how his products can help. “Education is part of this. It’s not just smoking weed anymore,” he said. “Just talk to us about it. We want to educate.”
Although the store isn’t a grow location, they are happy to answer questions about growing, preparations, medical cannabis and how hemp can help improve quality of life.

For more information about Sticky Bud Farms, call 893-8200 or stop by Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit them on Facebook where they post many educational articles which will help you see if their products can help you live a healthier, happier life.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Business Spotlight on Jordan Bay Animal Hospital by Michelle Libby you consider your pet family, like most of us do, then it is important you give them the best care you possibly can just like you would your own child. Dr. Eric Riddell and the staff at Jordan Bay Animal Hospital on Roosevelt Trail in Raymond has a reputation for compassionate and professional care you can trust. Since taking over the practice in 2006, Dr. Riddell has provided care for thousands of animals that include dogs, cats, rats, guinea pigs and other small animals.
The philosophy, which is “love is practiced and spoken here,” transfers through everything they do at the clinic from teeth cleaning to vaccinations. 

“The principle center is that we like people to feel happy and welcome,” said Riddell. “Ninety-nine percent of animals are happy when they walk into the clinic.”

Dr. Riddell describes himself as a generalist. He takes care of most issues an animal might have, but he has also surrounded himself with specialists all over New England, so that within days or even minutes using telemedicine, he has a consultation on a case. This saves customers money from a visit with a specialist and keeps the animals closer to home. However, unlike some facilities, Riddell makes sure that the animals have personal care throughout their visit. 

See caption below
When animals must have surgery, a technician will join a dog in a cage or sit with a cat before and after the procedure. “They know they are loved and cared for,” said Kim Riddell, practice manager.
Some advanced diagnosis’ require that pets be referred out of the clinic. However, Dr. Riddell has specialists that he trusts and works closely with in New England. Records and tests can be sent out to other facilities digitally to assist other doctors.  

The office has a friendly, comfortable ambiance. There is always an animal movie playing in the waiting room and the wall is covered with pictures of the many furry friends who come to the clinic.
The practice pretty much does it all and is slowly growing in such a way that customers and animals come first. “That’s why we are here,” said Kim. In the next year, they are hoping to expand the practice to include another veterinarian and more technicians. The practice has a full lab for blood work and urinalysis work. They also provide dentistry including extractions. 

The clinic has a full surgical suite, digital radiology and a state of the art therapeutic laser for non-invasive pain treatment that helps with wounds, aches and fractures. The therapy also can help rescue dogs learn socialization and can comfort all pets. The hospital also offers prescription diets and supplements for certain animals. 

“With everything we do here, we try to make it as careful as possible,” said Riddell.
The office is paperless and does all records electronically. They communicate by email and Facebook for daily announcements and reminders for pet parents. 

“He is very big on education and communication,” said Kim. The office uses Pet Portal, which allows owners to check on charts, medications and send questions for the doctor. They also have several articles on their website to help educate clients on various conditions, tips on how and where to choose your pet, a vetopedia which is a glossary of terms used by vets and more.

Clients come from as far away as Rockland and Carrabassett Valley. Some clients they see during the summer months are from other states, who return year after year to see Dr. Riddell. “They say we’re half the price and twice as nice,” he joked. “We guarantee that everyone here is committed truly, genuinely committed to providing excellent care. It’s not just a job or career, it’s a lifestyle.”
“We wanted to do things in a way that provides service, supports people and their animals and provides a place people look forward to come to work at,” said Kim. 

At Jordan Bay Animal Hospital, they don’t cut corners. They do what’s best for the animals, even if it might be an extra step or two. 

Puppies should have a series of vaccinations and senior animals should have a baseline of blood work done. Pets should be seen at least once a year for annual shots and a checkup. 

Jordan Bay Animal Hospital will be holding a rabies clinic Saturday, January 13, 2018, at 1242 Roosevelt Trail in their office. Vaccinations are $10, but smiles are free.

Jordan Bay Animal Hospital is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information, visit, call 207-655-3900 or find them on Facebook.

Picture caption: (L to R) Kim Riddell, Dr. Eric Riddell, Jessica Sollenberger and Carey Gayton stand with some furry friends in front of their wall of satisfied customers. Missing is Maggie Wood. Michelle Libby photo.