Monday, March 30, 2015

Business Spotlight - Rosemary's Gift and Yarn Shop - By Michelle Libby

Walking into Rosemary’s Gift & Yarn Shop, it’s easy to get lost in the textures, colors and unlimited possibilities that await anyone willing to take time to knit or crochet. The shop is owned by Rosemary Libby and her husband Huard. 
Since opening the shop in Windham, they have become the largest yarn only store in Maine. The shop also has Maine made gifts mostly associated with knitting. Moving to Windham was supposed to be the next phase of their lives, a chance to slow down, but her customers, the 2,300 people on the mailing list and creating knitting and crocheting patterns, keeps her busy six days a week. 
In the five years, the couple has been in Windham, they have drawn a much wider customer base, the website is much larger and Rosemary has plans to expand her online store. She isn’t interested in growing the physical store anymore and there isn’t more space with every wall lined with skeins of yarn and shelving crisscrossing the rooms. She carries wools, bamboo, cottons, acrylics, pima cottons, mohairs, llama, cashmere, superwash wool, mink yarn, Noro Kibou and the entire line of Encore products. The shop also has a full complement of needles including Addi needles. 
Knitting hasn’t gone away and come back in recent years, she said. It was big when she started selling yarn 12 years ago and it’s still big. Knitting was considered Grammie’s hobby when she retired, but now university students come to knit, Rosemary said. 
“When the economy is down, crafts are up. It’s a way of soothing yourself. That’s how important it is. Knitting and crafts are a therapy. It’s not just a hobby,” she added. 
The Libby’s lost their son Christopher at age 19 in an accident overseas. “If I didn’t have the yarn in my needles, I don’t think I would have gotten through,” she said. 
Knitting is something people can do today and have a feeling of satisfaction that every stitch is made with love. It is more expensive to knit something than it would be to go to a box store and buy something, but that’s not the point. 
If it’s a knitting project, there is no doubt that Rosemary has the materials and the know how to get it done. From arm knitting to continental knitting to crocheting to making socks, she has the supplies and handwritten patterns. 
“I love to write the patterns. I try to gear my patterns for the beginners,” she said. Sometimes people are afraid to try a new pattern because they don’t understand the language of the patterns, but Rosemary makes sure that her directions are clear. 
Rosemary and Huard have five special programs they knit for, all of them with the title “operation.” Huard was in the military and Rosemary admitted a fondness for anything to do with helping soldiers and their families. 
Rosemary has free knitting times on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Thursday evenings provide a chance for Rosemary to answer specific knitting questions. She does offer classes on Sunday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on varying subjects. The cost is usually $30 to $35 for a two week class. She has a wish sheet for her customers to tell her which classes they would like to see.
For more, visit, call 894-5770 or email


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spotlight on 101 Private Studio and Glenn Hutchinson - By Michelle Libby

101 Private Studio is where Glenn Hutchinson trains and educates clients on how to become healthy, fight off illness and possibly save a life. Hutchinson saved his own life 19 years ago when doctors gave him six months to live. Using the Internet, he read everything he could on healthy living and how to heal his sick liver. He uses what he calls integrative medicine, which is using different techniques that sometimes require a whole new way to think about health and wellness. 
After his diagnosis of stage 4 Hepatitis C, he had to decide if he wanted to live or not. With small children at home, he decided he wanted to be there for them. Then after 20 months, he decided that he wanted to help others. 

After years of training clients in his home, on Saturday, Hutchinson launched his new website an interactive website announcing his mobile training. “It’s more affordable,” he said. It offers three price points on 12-week packages that start at under $25 a week. Depending on needs, the plans include one personal training session at Hutchinson’s studio in Raymond or via Facebook or Skype. A personal plan is developed with workouts programed and full access to videos of how to do the exercises properly. 

The next plan has more of a personal touch with training once a week with Hutchinson and then the same benefits the other plan has. The final plan really is a complete personalized plan that the client designs with Hutchinson. “It is personally customized to what the client needs,” he said. “There is a lot of flexibility to the plans.” He wants his clients to work out smarter, not beating themselves on workouts that don’t provide lasting results. “Don’t beat your joints to death,” he said. 

Hutchinson evaluates his clients and sets them up with exercises and cardio conditioning that is good for them. He sets them up to succeed rather than giving them an exercise they are not ready for or their lifestyle doesn’t support. 

He considers himself a health coach, more than a trainer focusing on the whole person rather than just one group of muscles. “Most clients are ready to take the next step,” he said. His clients aren’t the ones looking for fun and to burn a few calories, he said. 

He specializes in working with people with cancer and other health issues. “Cancer is the most scary word out there,” he said. He has an anti-cancer diet that he uses with his clients. 

Before Christmas, Hutchinson’s wife was diagnosed with cancer. “The news is never good, but it’s better with choices when educated.” Through clean eating (no processed foods), using integrative techniques the success rates are much higher, sometimes 50 to 70 percent,” he said.  Now she is clear and her energy is returning, and he attributes it to the knowledge he has gained over the years working with doctors who us integrative approaches to treating cancer. 

He is interested in the science of being healthy. He is interested in working with clients who are looking to be educated and want choices on their road to healthy living.

“We all need a reason to get up every morning. To know the knowledge and skill set can help your own family, is good,” he said. 

For more information about Hutchinson’s program, email   

Monday, March 16, 2015

Business Spotlight - Wildwood Properties

Quality, service, dedication

The snow is melting and what is left behind is a lot of work and effort, but Wildwood Properties owned by Rick and Anne Drapeau can sweep in and leave your property looking fabulous before the first tulip blossoms. Spring clean ups start in five weeks, according to Rick. 

“Even if the snow’s not gone, we can take care of the dirt from the roads.”
Wildwood Properties started 11 years ago, when out of necessity Rick left his stressful job with a major corporation to follow his passion for business. He and his wife moved to Windham, started the business and a family. The month after he left his job in Augusta he lost 10 pounds, all of his body aches and pains went away and he started sleeping. “We had a five year plan, but we started it in under three,” Rick said. “We said to one another, ‘We’re gonna never look back. We’ll make this work’.” 
Wildwood Properties works with residential and commercial properties in all four seasons. From snow management to aerating lawns from new lawn instillations to tree and shrub pruning, they can help a homeowner get ready to sell a house or do annual maintenance and care. Anne custom designs landscapes for customers as well. If it has to do with property care Wildwood Properties is worth the call. 

“We can be your landscaper,” Rick said. They work from Naples to Westbrook and areas around Sebago in the summer. In the winter, the territory shrinks to the Windham/Raymond area so he can give better service to his customers. 
With the annual contracts, Wildwood makes sure that the home is taken care of, snow is cleared from the driveway and the roof. “Whether they come or not, we’ll be there to take care of it.” This year the company did 183 hours of snow removal.  

“I’m proud of all the stuff we do,” Rick said. “When someone calls, I hate to say no.” He takes on annual contracts with clients so they don’t have to worry about their properties when away on vacation or at their vacation home. 

This past fall Wildwood Properties took a home that had been neglected and pruned, mulched, mowed, added crushed rock and pressure washed the house to get it ready to be sold. It’s jobs like that which give Rick the satisfaction of a job well done. 

Wildwood Properties employs four full-time employees not including Anne and in the summer they employ eight people. Rick also works as a realtor in town. The company is taking on new clients in the area.  

“We like to be the go to company for property management,” he said. The goals of the company are to grow and to be the first company someone thinks of. They also want people to respect and trust them. 

Wildwood Properties sponsors spring and fall soccer teams and is involved in the community through their Two Boys Christmas Trees and Wreaths where they donate 10 percent of the profit to a non-profit organization. 

To reach Wildwood Properties, call 894-4254, visit or email

Windham author releases third novel

Local author Russell Warnberg announces the release of his third novel, The Gateway Murders. 

“Detective Issac Trader left Manchester, New Hampshire for a short vacation before applying for an opening in the Windham, Maine, Police Department.  He was hoping to spend the final few years of his career in this quiet little town.  It seemed like the perfect fit after interviewing with the police chief.  As the whole town was soon to find out, trouble seemed to follow Trader.  He had become something of a pariah in Manchester for this very reason.

The murders began almost immediately and it isn't long before Detective Cole Sullivan inserts himself into the case.  This is not a welcome development for Trader.

Early on, Trader befriends the eighteen year old son of the first murder victim and soon meets Gerri.  Is she the woman he has been looking for?  The waters never run smooth for Detective Issac Trader.”


Local BNI chapter invites business owners to visitor's day - By Michelle Libby

BNI chapters are popping up all over the area and next Tuesday one of the local chapters is hosting a visitor’s day so that business owners can come see what BNI has to offer them. 

“Do you like your business to gain more exposure to other business professionals in the area?” asked Niels Mank, vice president of the BNI Lakes Region Business Alliance chapter. 
BNI was formed as a way for small businesses to learn how to and to network in an environment where they have business relationships with business owners in all industries. At BNI only one business from each industry is in each chapter. Once that slot is filled, another real estate agent for example, could not fill that opening.  

“The whole goal is to develop contacts and create a sales force by working together to help one another,” Mank said. 

There are many chapters in the area. This chapter meets on Tuesday mornings at Dena’s Lobster House and Tavern, 765 Roosevelt Trail, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. People are welcome to visit as many chapters as they want to find the one that fits them best. 

Most businesses fail in the first three years because they have been beat down by the word “no”. The world is changing into a word of mouth marketing system. People are looking for value. They buy when the perceived value is higher. They also look for trust and credibility when working with someone, said owner of the BNI franchise Tim and Lindsay Roberts. 

“Go, gain exposure,” Mank said. “What is an hour and a half of your time every week on a Tuesday morning worth to you? We’re all there to help each other in business.” 

BNI wants to help small business owners become more effective and efficient. There are openings in the new BNI Lake Region Business Alliance. For more information about that chapter or others, contact