Friday, November 28, 2014

Business spotlight - Full Circle Outfitters - By Michelle Libby

Philanthropy is the mission of a new company called Full Circle created by three business management students at the University of Maine at Orono, who all happen to be Windham High School graduates.
College sophomores Gabe Purves, Brad Carpentier and Nick Sundquist are the three original creators of Full Circle, a company that gives back to those in need with the purchase of a T-shirt. They started the business in their dorm room and now have an office in the Student and Innovation Center on campus.  

The fourth original partner, Josiah Purves, designed the logo this summer. He attends the Maine College of Art. Sundquist and Purves have pulled back from the company some due to other commitments. 

“Together we wanted to come up with something more than an average T-shirt brand. We wanted more of a positive movement,” said Carpentier. “There’s no greater feeling than giving back. We want to motivate people to do small kindness throughout the day.” 

After a summer of working regular jobs, the men decided they want to do something to make them their own bosses, create something they could be passionate about, Purves said. 

Not quite two months ago, Full Circle put in their first T-shirt order. 

Full Circle sells T-shirts with the Full Circle logo on them. They have a few shirt styles to choose from and will have long-sleeved shirts by the end of November. Once the shirt is purchased, the buyer’s name goes into a drawing. At the end of the month, one name is drawn. That person gets to choose who they know that needs a little extra money at that time. The person they choose receives 15 percent of the sales from that month. It could be $100 or it could be $1,000 depending on the sales that month. 

“We all know someone going through a hard time,” said Purves. Through simple acts of kindness Full Circle customers can help one another out.  

Full Circle has been selling shirts at UMaine door to door for a month and its first step into business was at the Windham Boosters Craft Fair at WHS. 

“It was a lot more successful than we intended it to be. It was extremely successful. It didn’t feel like we were working, we were just having fun,” said Carpentier. They plan on attending more events like the Old Port Winter Carnival. 

 “A lot of kids our age don’t take a big step at this age to start something great,” Carpentier said. 

Purves and Carpentier set no boundaries on their company. “We really want to be big,” said Purves. “I’d love to give out $500 or more, but the minimum would be $100.” 

The Carpentier and Purves families are supporting the business. They give advice like buy women’s shirts. 

“We want to be successful for ourselves and to relieve stress off our parents who helped us to become the young men we are,” said Carpentier. 

For now the company is sticking with clothing, but changing up the Full Circle logo with a more vintage style to choose from that way people are not wearing the same design every day, Purves said. The shirts are printed at 320ink in Gorham and sold in person and online at Full Circle is also on Facebook. To commemorate their first newspaper article, they are offering free shipping to anyone who puts the word WINDHAM in their order. 

“We know we’re growing when we put ourselves out there. We know only good things can come from that,” Purves said.

Business Spotlight - Hall Implement Co. - By Michelle Libby

When the customers send picture of their lucky John Deere hat and the big fish that didn’t get away, their grandkids with the John Deere mower and their yellow lab waiting to drive the John Deere tractor, Hall Implement knows they’re doing it right. 
John Deere started as a company in 1837 and when John Deere the man died in 1904, the brand continued on and is the strongest line that hasn’t been bought out by another company, said Steve Hall, son of the founder George Hall. 

“Hall Implement is like a family company itself that hasn’t changed much over the years,” said Steve.
George Hall worked on his father’s farm at the Route 302 and Route 202 rotary when a dealer representative asked him if he’d like to sell tractors to farmers. He made a life altering decision that day and Hall Implement has “grown ever since.” The company continue to grow with an expansion project slated to be completed before January with more shop bays and a new parts place. The company that started out with three employees, now has 17 full and part time people. “Our employees and customers are like family,” Steve said.  

Steve has been on the payroll since he was 13 years old. “My future was pretty much planned out – there were no second thoughts,” Steve said. While in high school, Steve flew to Pennsylvania to a dealer principles meeting. And the training hasn’t stopped for him or anyone in the business. 

Hall Implement services tractors back to the 1960s because they have service technicians who used to work on those. Most of the training is on current models, which have changed substantially, said Steve.
Hall Implement sells utility vehicles, farm equipment, mowers, tractors and snow removal equipment. They sell to universities, schools and municipalities often giving them a lot of guidance. “For those starting off, it’s a new experience. We like educating people as they’re buying stuff. We suggested the best equipment for their situation,” Steve said.  

The new models often contain up to three computer systems. Just like vehicles, Hall Implement’s service team often hooks up laptops to diagnose issues. 

“The tractors are a lot different than the old gas tractors a lot of people grew up with,” Steve said.
The hidden gem at Hall Implement is the room upstairs filled with toys, models, collectables and specialty items like clothing for men and women, games (Tractor-opoly, anyone), cards, clocks and more. 

“This room is good for birthdays, Christmas gifts, first day of school, potty training, whatever,” Steve said. There is even a section devoted to birthday party supplies. “People come here to find a tractor that was on their grandfather’s farm,” he said. 

Hall Implement has started shipping items to other parts of the country. Because of the collection of memorabilia they have in store, they are able to put it on their website for people to shop year round, especially specialty items. 

Customers have a lot of trust in Hall Implement because of their years of knowledge and their personable, family-owned company. “All employees treat people with a personal touch and are knowledgeable. They take care of what the customer’s needs are,” Steve said. 

John Deere’s are an investment, but offers financing incentives year round. They also offer sales or promotions on a group of models. “Really, almost anytime is a good time to buy,” Steve said. 

Hall Implement is also involved in the community, often sponsoring sports teams, pitching in for T-shirts for the Windham High School football team and opening up the show room for daycare field trips.
Hall Implement also sells Ariens snowblowers and Echo hand-held power equipment. 

For more on Hall Implement, visit or stop by their showroom at 1 John Deere Road at the Rotary in Windham.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Business spotlight - Dave's World

Outside the temperature is dropping, but at Dave’s World at 359 Roosevelt Trail, it’s the perfect temperature all year round. The owners of the new location Robert Jankunas, Dan Sharrow and Matthew Scott invite the public to visit and enjoy their heat pump lounge. Play with the remotes and touch the systems. Scott is the manager of the Windham store and his assistant manager is Adrian Bouchard.
“We are heat pump guides, not salesmen. When people realize what (heat pumps) can do it sells itself,” said Scott. Dave’s World is the largest residential heat pump company in the state selling Mitsubishi, Fujitsu and Daikin heat pumps and hot water heaters. 

Heat pumps work much like a refrigerator. It moves air to regulate the temperature in the appliance. With the heat pump, the coils take the heat out of the air and force it into the house through a wall mounted unit, a floor unit or a ceiling unit. It sounds simple, but that’s what the machine does. Even when it is -13 degrees, there is still heat in the air which is attracted to the refrigerator coils where it is condensed and moves inside.  The BTUs might be a bit lower at that temperature, but the home will still be warm, Scott said. “At zero or below, there’s a lot of heat outside you can’t feel.” 

Dave’s World can put heat pump systems into a new construction home or a 100-year-old house and any age in between. It only takes one hole to run the refrigeration line through.  

“Nine years ago we discovered the heat pump. It slowly started selling. We could move heat inside from the outside,” said Scott. The company has a store in Dover-Foxcroft, where they started doing three installations a week and now are doing eight to 10 installations a day. Heat pumps are saving consumers’ money.

“You’re not just selling the customer something, you’re selling them savings,” Scott said. 

Heat pumps are not only a winter product, because in the summer, the system is reversed with a touch of the remote and heat is removed from inside the home and moved outside cooling the air. 

“If you can run a TV, you can run a heat pump,” he added. With today’s technology, the heat pumps can be hooked up to an app on a cell phone to start the heat or the cooling before a person arrives home. 

“We are whole home, whole year, comfort regulator,” he said. 

The average efficiency of heating is about 80 percent, Scott said. “Anything you light on fire to create heat can never be more than 100 percent efficient. Oil is 80 to 86 percent efficient and propane is 93 percent efficient. Heat pumps never create heat. They pump heat from one place to another.” 

The heat pump uses only what it needs to make a room the requested temperature. At the same time it is also sanitizing the room it’s in. The consumer pays for the heat to go from one place to another, but it’s Mother Nature’s heat, he said. 

People in Maine are skeptical so Dave’s World offers a 2-year/24 month, that’s two heating and cooling seasons, 100 percent money back guarantee. (No one has ever returned one.) There is a seven year parts and labor warranty. The company also offers service with two fulltime technicians dedicated to solving heat pump problems in the State of Maine. 

Heat pumps range in price from $3,000 to $25,000 depending on the size of the location and the needs of the customer. Dave’s World offers a free consultation to discover needs and go from there.

Dave’s World is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dave’s World also sells heat pump water heaters for homes and can save residents between $40 and $80 a month on heating, compared to oil-fired hot water heaters. “Don’t waste another $5,000 on oil. Heat pumps pay you back from day one,” Scott said. 

“We always had the mindset to grow and create jobs,” Scott said. 

Dave’s World is looking to employ more HVAC and heat pump installers. 

For more information about Dave’s World visit or call the Windham store at 523-9414.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

LeeCars and Lee Credit Express - By Michelle Libby

When looking for a car, consumers need choices, options and a dedicated sales professional who will listen to find the perfect car. At LeeCars and Lee Credit Express, their sales representatives have a large selection of cars to show customers and bruised credit is not a problem at Lee. 
“We’ll sell it to you if you have A plus credit or if you have bad or bruised credit, bankruptcies or repossessions,” said general manager Lori Katz. Lee uses several different lenders who are willing to work with Lee because of the volume and the track record they have. “We are the biggest dealership in Maine. We usually get the best rates,” Katz said.

Store manager in Windham, Rick Chaplin is new to Lee but has 20 years of experience in the business.
“We are happy to have someone with all this experience,” said Katz. Chaplin has four sales representatives.

LeeCars opened the Windham business in December 2003, but LeeCars started in 1926. Of the five standalone LeeCars, Windham is the largest. Windham also has the Lee Auto Care service department, where most of the cars that are sold are inspected and checked before they are put on the lot. LeeCars also offers a three month, 3,000 mile warranty and give the option to purchase an extended warranty after that. Each customer is given a CarFax for the car they are purchasing. 

“We have all makes and models, and unique things,” said Katz. “We have 20 Lee locations throughout Maine, even if we don’t have it…we have access to hundreds of used cars.”

Lee has a good supply of late model used cars. They keep a variety of trucks and SUVs. 

“We pride ourselves on customer service,” she said. “We treat every customer the same. It doesn’t matter what your credit is. We value each and every customer. It’s their second biggest investment over their house.” 

Lee has a lot of word of mouth advertising and hope that happy customers tell their family and friends about the care they received at Lee in Windham. 

“It’s a good feeling when you can help someone who hears ‘no’ at every dealership and we say ‘yes we can,” Katz said. The cars Lee has all pass Maine State inspections and the Lee Auto inspection before going on the lot. There is something in every price range. 

Customers come from Bridgton and New Hampshire and all the towns in between, but most come from Windham and many are repeat customers.

When a customer comes into LeeCars they are greeted and a sales representative will find out their needs, wants and desires and help guide them into the right car for their situation. Test drives are encouraged. New cars are delivered every week for customers, although they can have a car driven over to the store with a little notice. 

Ken Kay has been a sales representative for 21 years. He loves his repeat customers, he said. 

People are keeping cars longer than they used to, Katz said. Keeping them for five or six years is normal.
“A lot depends on gas prices. If the prices are high, people trade in for smaller cars. When prices are low, they upgrade to something bigger,” she added. Either way, people in this area need cars. “In Maine you’re driving to where you’re going or you’re not going.”

LeeCars is open Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Online at, the store is open 24/7. All of the used car inventory is online. “We’re a little store that’s part of a big group,” Katz concluded.