Sunday, April 19, 2015

Business spotlight on Wheels & Deals Auto Repair - By Michelle Libby

1037 Roosevelt Trail

With 35 years of experience working on cars from a 1932 Rolls Royce to a brand new car with the latest technology, Tom Villacci at Wheels and Deals Auto Repair can fix anything and will stand behind his work. 

For 15 years, Wheels & Deals Auto Repair has been located at 1037 Roosevelt Trail. When driving onto the property it’s obvious that Tom and his partner Sandy Bilodeau care about the image they have. The lot is clean, as is the shop. There are no old broken down parts in the yard and as far as grease, the crew wear surgical gloves when working to keep things neat and clean, in turn keeping customers cars neat and clean. 

“We’re warm, comfortable and the cleanest shop in town,” Villacci said.  “I’ve been married to this for 35 years. I pride myself on being the little guy – now I’m a big guy,” said with a chuckle. When Wheels & Deals takes a car in for service, be in an oil change or a broken tail light, the crew does a safety inspection for free, so that customers leave with information that could prevent an unfortunate break down. “It keeps you and your family safe,” Villacci said. 

At 13, Villacci bought his first car for $100 and sold it for $200 a few months later. “A business was born,” he said.  

Wheels & Deals has high-tech, specialized computer systems to help diagnose cars as well as the training to make sure that when they are working on a car, they are fixing it to Villacci’s standards.
“What sets us out from others, is how I built most of my business - on the understanding of showing them what’s wrong with their vehicle. I educate them. I tell them why it’s bad and say ‘this is what you’re paying for’,” he said. He does the same thing with all of his clients who may be teens with a new license or older folks who just want someone to fix their car. “No one should really break down,” he said.
Personal follow-ups are a part of the service they offer. When it’s time for an oil change or a reminder that tires should be changed, Bilodeau will send an email. “We try to do maintenance before the big things happen,” said Bilodeau. 

Wheels & Deals is the only shop in town that will guarantee any systems that meet the requirements, installed at the shop, are covered under a three year, 30,000 mile warranty. There is no fine print. Customers are also covered by Nationwide coast-to-coast coverage for those times a customer has car trouble while on vacation in another state. Customers can call Wheels & Deals and ask for help finding a trustworthy mechanic and through NAPA and O’Reilly’s Care Center database, Villacci can give the name of someone to fix the car. Wheels & Deals is an O’Reilly’s certified garage. 

“I try to simplify customers’ lives,” Villacci said. 

The shop is very versatile fixing everything from windshields and timing belts to tires and engines on both foreign and domestic cars. “If it’s broken and we can’t fix it, we will tell you,” he said. They also do state inspections, light forms of body work and welding and fabrication for trailer repairs. When it comes to aftermarket items like running boards and fender flares, Wheels & Deals can install those too.
Wheels & Deals isn’t just for locals. Those from away who come to the area on vacation will often leave their car to have it fixed while they are in town. “They feel comfortable leaving their car here,” said Bilodeau. 

If an A/C breaks in the middle of the summer, Wheels & Deals can fix that. They can also do transmission flushes, coolant flushes. “We do everything you can think of,” Villacci said. They also service commercial/corporate accounts. 

The $75 an hour labor rate is very competitive in the area. In addition to Villacci, his sons Justin and Anthony and Brian Haskell work for him. 

The shop also sells a few used, affordable cars running in the $3,000 to $10,000 range. The cars are warrantied and Villacci makes sure all of the work is done before the car goes on to the lot to be sold. They have about 10 cars on average. 

To schedule an appointment, call 892-0800 or email or find them on Facebook.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Business spotlight - Blossoms of Windham - By Michelle Libby

Flowers may only be stems in a vase, but for person who gets the flowers it’s a whole lot more. It can brighten someone’s day or say “I love you.” Blossoms of Windham at 725 Roosevelt Trail can take a flower order and make it special. 
Blossoms works with Teleflora and website orders to send bouquets next door and all over the country. 

In 2009 Dwayne Harris bought Blossoms after having working at florists in the area for many years. He also did banquet set ups for wedding and other special occasions, providing the right atmosphere to learn about customers wants and desires when it comes to flowers. 

“Then it all worked out. I like working for myself,” he said. 

“He’s eclectic,” said customer Nancy Millett. “I love him.” Nancy has been following Harris for 14 years. “Once he knows what people like I don’t have to tell him [what to create].” 

Harris and his three part-time employees are friendly and they try to help everyone who comes in regardless of budget. He isn’t afraid to try new things, like his miniature gardens with little ceramic creatures that live there. 

“He has a knack for try to stay with the trends,” Millett added. “You walk in here and it’s friendly and always fun and funky.”

Blossoms is getting ready for Mother’s Day (May 10), prom and graduations. 

Harris has a corsage and boutonniere station set up for customers to create their own flowers for prom. Starting with higher end bracelets, flowers, sparkly gems and other additions can be made to craft a unique piece. 

Harris is involved in the community by contributing to Sebago Lake Chamber of Commerce events, as a graduate of Saint Joseph’s College he does flowers for many of their events, including graduation and every Christmas he decorates a room at the Victoria Mansion. Having a degree in history has helped him when designing his room. “It’s the one thing that connects history and flowers,” Harris said. Blossoms does the flowers for area churches and works with the athletic department at Windham High School to give a rose for every senior to give to a parent on senior night. 

Harris attends design shows to keep up with trends and design techniques. “Designs are all about learning new things and trying new things,” he said. “I’m still learning every day.” 

Blossoms also does arrangements for wedding and funerals. When he gets orders from online or through Teleflora, he will call customers if he doesn’t have the flowers on hand to ask about substituting a different color or a different flower. “They want to know what they are sending. It’s about trust,” Harris said. He also can get flowers for the do-it-herself bride. 

Blossoms offers delivery, even same day delivery if an order is called in the morning.
At Christmas, Harris goes all out creating wreaths, greenery and decorations from scratch. He also offers silk flowers. 

Blossoms isn’t only about flowers, but has some gift items for camps, cabins and lake related decorations. It also carries furniture handmade by Harris’ father Wayne Harris. Blossoms carries Havens Candies, Primitive Keeper Made in Maine candles and potpourri and wax tartlets, soap from The Casco Bay Soap Company, stuffed animals and balloon bouquets. He also puts together care packages for students at finals time or for kids at summer camp and away from home on their birthdays.
Blossoms is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Harris can be available at other times as arranged. 

“Call direct, talk to a local florist who is local,” said Harris. “We like to please the customers.”  
So when it's time for flowers, think of Blossoms of Windham first. Many times customers can get better deals without the service fees by contacting Blossoms directly at 892-2097 or email

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Business spotlight - Tricia Zwirner State Farm

“What are you wearing, Steve from State Farm?” The commercials are nationally known, but locally Tricia Zwirner is the face of State Farm. From volunteering with the Sebago Lake Rotary Club to sponsoring sports teams and the Science Olympiad at Windham High School, Zwirner is a part of the community she serves. 
Zwirner opened her office in July of 2002. Before that she graduated from college and she would never work for State Farm because her mom was an agent and she had worked for her growing up doing filing and other jobs. 

“I was a finance major. They offered me a great package, great career path. It just fit,” she said. When a State Farm agency became available in Windham, she and her husband jumped at the chance. 

As a State Farm agent, she and her team have over 100 products to offer clients. At Zwirner’s office next to The Ice Cream Dugout at 13 Storm Drive, she works with agents Joanne Payson, whose specialty is property casualty and Mike Allen who does life, new auto and bank. They have streamlined the products to insurance for auto, home, life and bank loans from State Farm. 

“It’s very needs driven,” said Zwirner of her services. “We do a lot of ATVs and a lot of snowmobiles,” she added. 

One of her specialties is life insurance. That’s the most rewarding and most necessary and underutilized. “People die without it and now their family struggles. I tell them, ‘it’s not about you – it’s about your family’.” Zwirner said she doesn’t like to talk about death, but she wants people to have the coverage if needed. When one of her clients passes away, she makes a point to take the insurance check over to the family and help them with anything they might need, from finding a lawyer to getting dinner together. She makes it personal.  “I’m able to take worry about money out of [the grieving process].”

Zwirner’s customers are young, old, male, female, married, gay, straight and seasonal people.
Her favorite types of clients are newlyweds who are starting their lives together and they want to sit down to discuss. 

Zwirner is one of the only agencies to take cash and checks at the office. Although she is only allowed to work in the State of Maine, because State Farm is a national company, she is able to work within the network of State Farm agents. Transferring clients from one State Farm agency to hers is a breeze, she said. 

Reviews of client’s portfolios happen every two or three years, Zwirner said. This way information can be updated. It also gives Zwirner the opportunity to give sway out to her clients, be it phone stands or calendars, stress balls or water bottles. It’s a fun benefit she offers. 

State Farm started a banking segment of the business. It’s not a brick and mortar bank, she said, but it offers Internet banking with no ATM fees and if there are they are reimbursed at the end of the month. It also has phone deposits where a client can take a picture of the check and have it deposited into their account. 

“Young people don’t need one-on-one,” said Zwirner. 

State Farm also offers vehicle loans with extremely competitive rates and pay-off protection, which is like GAP insurance that most dealers offer with a new car. Loans can be refinanced to get into the pay-off protection plan that State Farm offers. 

“We love saving people money,” she added. 

When a client first walks into the office, Zwirner will fact find and learn about the person and his or her needs. She will find out their risk tolerance and get to know them. If they have a 401K that was left at a previous employer, she can help roll that money into a new account that the client can have control over.
For quotes and questions, visit, call 892-2864 or stop by Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.