Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spotlight On: Armstrong Advanced Dental Concepts

Dr. Stanley Armstrong is on the cutting edge of dentistry. He has the skills and technology to enhance or create a perfect smile.

“We do complete dentistry. Implants, cosmetic, restorative, extractions,” he said. “I really want to make people happy with their smile.”

Armstrong has been in business for 32 years and moved to his present location at Windham Crossing in 1985. He holds certifications in many areas of dentistry including one from the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, which is not easy to complete, he said.

“I’m more of an esthetic, altruistic dentist,” Armstrong said.

His office is state of the art as well as comfortable. “We have a friendly, safe, comfortable atmosphere. One of my goals is to make an atmosphere that doesn’t bring up fears and concerns of what people had in the past that are negative,” he said.

“A lot of what we do is above and beyond what is customary,” Armstrong said. While having dental work done, a patient is able to watch movies, watch TV or listen to music as a distraction. He said he’s even had people who say that coming to the dentist is the most relaxing part of their week.
Making an appointment is easy and if someone has a concern, they should get it evaluated before it gets worse, according to Armstrong. If they don’t it will be “more time, cost and inconvenience,” he added.

At Armstrong Dental it’s about “how can I help them? What’s it going to do for them? What’s available? And, communication. They might not know what they want or need?” Armstrong is there to address the concerns of his patients through education.

Dentistry has changed completely since Armstrong first opened his practice. The only thing that’s stayed the same is anatomy, he said.

“There are rumors and conversations that say I’m more costly than other places. It’s not that we’re expensive. We’re not insurance driven. I don’t want to have insurance companies and others tell us how to do things in the best interest of the patients. I choose what is best,” said Armstrong.

Prospective patients are invited to stop by the office. Armstrong Dental can be reached online at , by phone and on Facebook.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spotlight On: Homestead Mortgage Loans

Homestead Mortgage Loan, Inc. opened shop in 2008, when mortgage businesses didn’t have the best name, but they have persevered and remained committed to their core philosophy to “provide our customers with a better combination of service, experience, knowledge, integrity and value than that which is available anywhere else in the mortgage industry,” said owner Jim Skvorak.

“That was the key to why I opened a new mortgage company when it was clear the whole industry was over the cliff and going down,” he said.

With nine employees, Homestead is about staying small and offering customer service so their clients will return and encourage their family and friends to do business with them. This is their biggest segment of customers, return business.

“We want to be who we are and do a better job than anyone else around. Everyone here takes a lot of pride about knowing mortgage products,” he said. “We’re not doing anything differently. We make sure we know all the ins and outs and nuances. We’re able to do what others aren’t able,” said Skvorak.

Agents at Homestead don’t see closing on homes as a “transaction.” This is one of the biggest purchases a person will make. “Some people refer to this as a sales business,” said Skvorak. “I never considered what I do as sales – it’s taking care of people.”

Everyone works as a team. They believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to uphold everyone else’s reputation, according to Skvorak. No one wants to let the team down.

Unlike some business, Homestead Mortgage works with all brands of loans, conventional, Federal Housing Authority, Rural Development and Veteran’s Affair loans. The guidelines change a lot, but some customers might get a better deal on their loan using a different program and Homestead knows which would be better for a particular client.

“We are all about ‘keep it local.’ It makes a difference whether they get their mortgage local, rather than in Iowa,” said Skvorak.

“There’s something unique about having a motto that’s real. What people want is what we want to deliver,” he added.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Recession-Proof Your Finances by Chris Wallace

Whether you call it a recession, a slowdown or simply a rough patch, turbulent financial times can be weathered. Try these 8 tips:

Get Out Of Debt ASAP
Try to pay down credit cards and high interest debt as soon as possible. And if you’ve been playing the balance transfer game, lookout. Those zero- or low-interest balance transfer offers are likely to become a thing of the past as more card issuers tighten their belts.

Leave Retirement Alone
Raiding your 401(k) or IRA is one of the worst financial moves you can make. You’ll get hit with stiff penalty fees, not to mention your loss in future earnings.

Stash Cash
Try to build a cash cushion of three to six months, in case of emergencies. That can keep you from having to charge unexpected expenses.

Don’t Rely On Credit
Charging essentials like groceries or gas is a serious financial red flag indicating your lifestyle is out of balance with your income. Take steps to downgrade your lifestyle (downgrade your car or house) or increase your income (get a roommate, start your own business) and get your finances in balance.

Watch Your Statements
Many lenders are raising rates, hiking fees and lowering credit limits. If your rate gets hiked, call the issuer and ask why and whether it can be reversed. You might also consider consolidating your debt to get a better handle on payments.

Guard Credit
Try to avoid using more than 10 percent of your credit limit when making purchases—a credit utilization of more than 50 percent is likely to hurt your credit score. Late bill payments can hurt your score, too. If you can’t make a payment, contact your lender to make an arrangement or set up a payment plan.

Keep Saving
Don’t let emotions keep you from contributing to your retirement accounts. You can put $5,000 into an IRA in 2013, or $6,000 if you’re 50 or older.

Back To Basics
Update your life insurance and be certain you have a will in place to protect those you care about.

Learn More
At Primerica we have created a guide that can show how to take control of your financial life. To get a copy of “How Money Works,” contact Chris Wallace an independent representative of Primerica. To contact Chris or for more information, email

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vehicle Wraps vs. Vehicle Painting

You might be wondering why you should go with vehicle wraps over paint. We’re glad you asked! Below are a several reasons why vehicle wraps are a better choice than paint:

  • Less than 1/2 the Cost of Paint – vehicle wraps are much less expensive than painting your vehicles to have the same effect.
Full Paint Job $3,750
  • Better Vehicle Resale or Trade-in Value - vehicle wraps actually help protect the vehicle’s paint while they’re on the vehicle and can easily be removed without harming the vehicle’s finish. And when you are ready to sell or trade-in your vehicles, you will get much more money for your vehicles if they do not have your company’s logos on the vehicles. If you had painted your fleet vehicles, either you or the buyer (dealership or end-user) is going to have totally sand down and repaint the vehicle in order to sell or use it. So in addition to the lower up-front cost of vehicle wraps, the overall cost for the life of the vehicle is also much less!
Full Vehicle Wrap $3,500
  • Safer Driving with Better Visibility - the portion of the vehicle wrap that will cover your vehicle’s windows is transparent from one side – allowing you to see out of the vehicle while keeping the sunlight from harming your vehicle’s interior. You can hardly tell there is anything on the windows at all while you are driving – making it safer for the driver and other vehicles around! If your drivers are just plain horrible drivers, we’re sorry, but we aren’t going to be able to help them much!
  • Easy to Update Wrap Graphics - vehicle wraps are easy to update. If your company’s name, address, phone number, web site, slogan, or products change, it is much easier and less expensive to modify or update a vehicle wrap. If your information is painted on the vehicle, that is a different story – one which your accounting department isn’t going to like to hear.
  • More Creative Flexibility and Freedom Designs - you have much more creative flexibility and freedom with our custom vinyl graphic wraps for a couple different reasons. Auto wraps are created digitally and you can see the design before it’s on the vehicle so you can makes any changes before it’s final. Because the vinyl graphics can go on your vehicle’s windows without reducing visibility, your design can seamlessly cover virtually your entire vehicle – giving you more space and flexibility to get your vehicle’s advertising message or custom design across!