Friday, February 26, 2016

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Business spotlight - Maine Optometry - By Michelle Libby

Optometrist Rachel Achenbach knows eyes. As of January first, Achenbach and Maine Optometry took over the practice of Dr. Colin Robinson, bringing the power of a multi-office practice with new equipment to Windham. 
Achenbach has been working with Robinson since April getting to know the patients before the buyout. She strives to have a better relationship with her patients and keep them coming back to her with all of their eye care needs. 

Maine Optometry, a privately owned practice, operates offices in eight locations in southern Maine. Gorham and Standish are the closest branches to Windham. Each one has its own personality and offerings. One of the advantages to having a group of eye care professionals under one umbrella is the availability to see another doctor if one is away or sick, or to have the option to look at a different variety of frames in another location. 

Achenbach specializes in primary eye care prescribing glasses, contact lenses and specialty lenses. She performs comprehensive health screenings and regular checks for diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, and helps with the co-management of Lasik eye surgery.
 Achenbach has been practicing for three years and is up to date on the latest in eye care and screening methods. She decided to become an optometrist because of her experiences growing up with her eye doctor, who was the first female eye doctor in the State of Maine. “I loved my eye doctor. She’s still practicing,” Achenbach said. 

Maine Optometry sees patients from birth to advanced aged. Children from birth to 12 months receive free eye exams. It is recommended that everyone get an eye exam every one to two years. For children it is recommended that they receive their first check up at six months, then 3 years old and again at 5 before they start school. 

For school aged children who love to read, Achenbach said to watch to see if they suddenly don’t want to read or are not enjoying it. Perhaps they are labeled or put in a specialty group. Often it is not their reading skills at all. It could just be that they might need glasses. 

“We are a privately owned practice. Anything you need we can make it happen. We’re a private practice with a family feel,” Achenbach said. 

She prides the office on having the latest and newest equipment and access to anything she might need to help her patients. She boasts about her staff and said that patients often complement her on their friendliness and organization. 

“I feel like I go above and beyond for everybody. I will make it right because I don’t give up quickly,” Achenbach said.  

The staff consists of Dottie Millett the optician, Corrine Knight, receptionist, and Katie Sawyer the technician assistant. Dr. Robinson has stayed on in the practice working with neuro-rehabilitation only on a pay per visit rate. 

The office carries a full selection of glasses from 9 West and Coach to Ray Bans and Oakley. They offer an assortment of frames at all price points. Glasses can be made with a variety of lenses from Transitions to progressives. 
Maine Optometry also carries contact lenses with multi-focal, daily lenses and specialty lenses. Achenbach lives in Windham with her husband, who also works at Maine Optometry. The Windham office, located at 584 Roosevelt Trail #4, is open Mondays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Saturdays once a month from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. by appointment. The practice now accepts the majority of insurances and has their own eye care advantage plan for those without insurance.
To schedule an appointment, call the office at 892-3216 or visit them at

Friday, February 19, 2016

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Business Spotlight - Kevin Ronan – Foundations Real Estate

Kevin Ronan
By Michelle Libby - Kevin Ronan is ready to take on the housing market in the lakes region. Having just moved to Gray on the Raymond side of Little Sebago Lake from Yarmouth, he is quickly integrating himself into the community.  

Ronan has been working with Foundations Real Estate for three years. Before that he was the CEO and president of Atlantic Home Health, a company he started and built for 14 years. He uses the skills he learned negotiating contracts with major companies including Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to get satisfying contracts for his buyers and sellers.  

“I use my business background, analytical skills and communication skills to help people buy and sell homes,” Ronan said. He prides himself on knowing where to find information and he does his homework before the house ever hits the market.  

Foundations Real Estate’s headquarters is in Yarmouth, however, Ronan has an office at 1 Steele Road in Gray, off Route 85 in Raymond.  

He has always liked looking at architecture and attends a lot of open houses with his wife. I figured out what is important to buyers in a new property. For sellers, he takes inventory of the home and helps to get the home ready to fetch a good offer. From staging to painting, he knows what homes need before a sale can be made.  

Ronan uses real estate apps to narrow down a search using locations and home requirements like the number of bedrooms. “I have tools that not everyone uses. It cuts through the chase,” he said.  

Ronan has joined the Sebago Lake Chamber of Commerce and has started to join other groups in the region. “I chose this area because of the plethora of activities indoors and outdoors,” he said. “I like the area because there’s a real sense of community and I like the pace of things.”

After purchasing his home on Little Sebago, he spent time as his own general contractor fixing up the structure and making it a home. He realized that he liked being on the water and wanted to see others realize their dream as well.  

“I love the idea of selling waterfront properties. It’s a family dream,” Ronan said. His specialty is getting families into the lakefront properties they desire. Ronan is looking to build relationships with local customers as well as seasonal visitors and property owners. a real estate professional, he knows that being an incredible listener helps customers find the right house. “I can show them a dozen homes, but I want to make sure I show them the right spot first,” he said.  

Ronan describes himself as a “slow and steady real estate agent, who is part of the community and your neighbor. I’m a local guy now,” he said.  

He feels that clients must be comfortable with their agent if that person is going to represent them well. Ronan is good with covering all the details. He also is proficient and has experience buying second homes, he said.

When not selling real estate or fixing up his new home, he is a runner. He is a USA Track Federation official, has run the Boston Marathon four times and the Maine Marathon. He also referees middle school and high school track and field meets.  

Right now is a great time to sell. Demand is high and inventory is low, according to Ronan. For more about Ronan and Foundations Real Estate, visit, email or call 207-838-4855.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

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Business Spotlight - Phoenix Whole Health - By Michelle Libby

Ruth Murphy is her own success story. A year ago she weighed over 350 pounds, now after a 130 pound weight loss, extensive training and schooling; she has opened Phoenix Whole Health in Raymond.

Phoenix Whole Health (PWH) offers weight loss support groups, bootcamp type trainings and nutrition counseling as well as small group exercise training at the new studio at Sedona Wellness on Route 302 with no more than four to a group. PWH specializes in working with individuals of all ages that have or are at risk for chronic health conditions like obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol. PWH takes a whole body approach to health and fitness – mind, body and spirit.

Murphy has always been in the health field. She is a certified physical education teacher and although she has always struggled with her weight, she still wanted to be active. After her weight loss, she decided to get her National Academy of Sports Medicine personal trainer certification and now is in the process of getting her Master’s degree in health psychology.

“I can say I’ve been there,” she said.

For some people losing weight is more mental than just working out and decreasing calories. PWH offers support which is crucial to success. Lap-Band and gastric bypass surgeries can fix how much a person eats, but doesn’t necessarily fix the reasons why a person eats, said Murphy.

PWH also can work on time management skills which are very important when it comes to finding time to go to the gym or time to prepare food. Murphy works with each individual to formulate a plan that will help them lose weight and get healthy. She likens her plans to an Individual Education Plan in the schools, except about health. Each client gets an individualized plan for fitness and nutrition. Murphy asks her clients, “What support do they need to achieve their goals? What barriers do they have to overcome?” By finding the answers to those questions, she can help figure out what’s going to work for them.

“When I first saw the nutrition class listed in our local Adult Ed brochure I was skeptical that it wouldn’t be any different than other diet, food plans that I had experienced. But, I needed to do something to help me with getting back to a healthy state. Ruth surpassed any doubts that I had about learning about nutrition and establishing a healthy eating lifestyle,” said client Marlene Thombs. 

PWH works with all ages and fitness levels. The name Phoenix Whole Health came from Harry Potter. “A new you arises,” Murphy said. “It burns up and comes back to life. They need to and want to be ready.”

Using tools like and meditation, Murphy helps her clients make better decisions and can also refer them to other professionals if they need additional help.  

Exercise classes will be offered starting February 29, and are 45 minutes long. The classes are limited to four people and will work on cardio, strength training, flexibility, core and balance. It  will utilize various styles of workouts from yoga to high intensity training. Each client wears a heart rate monitor during the classes to make sure they are working in the correct target zone. “I don’t want to make it miserable, but I want to push them,” Murphy said.

On Monday nights there is a small weight loss support group at 6 p.m. at Phoenix Whole Health at Sedona Wellness Center. The suggested donation is $8.

Personal training prices range from $25 per hour for a semi-private half hour class to $55 per hour for a personal one hour private class. All classes and trainings are in the evenings and on Saturday mornings. PWH also offers motivational phone calls or online support weekly or less frequently to help keep clients on track.

In the future, Murphy would like to create a PWH program for school age children because chronic health issues are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s youth.

PWH recognizes everyone is an individual and all have different learning styles, circumstances and needs. Getting healthy for most requires attention to more than just the physical side. Through one on one consultation(s) PWH will develop a fitness team and individual fitness plan. Initial consultations are.

PWH studio is located at Sedona Wellness, 1288 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond. For more information, visit or call 207-400-0948.

Friday, February 5, 2016

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Business spotlight - Simple Elegance of Maine Florist - By Michelle Libby

Father and daughter team of Charlie Haddock and Elishia Townsend are taking their passion for floral design and more to a new level with their new business Simple Elegance of Maine Florist, an online florist that provides one of a kind creations, wedding floral designs, and every day floral needs, delivered. 
“I know exactly what to do. If I’m going to work that hard, I’m going to keep it in my family,” said Townsend, who worked at shops in Bangor and Hermon before starting her own business here. So far her sister-in-law, Haddock’s two grandchildren and a sister have helped with some of what they have done. “It’s a family affair,” Townsend said. 

Haddock, the former Windham Middle School principal has been interested in floral design for 15 years, when he did the flowers for his daughter’s wedding. This is his third career. He was a builder for 20 years, then at WMS for 22 years and now he is ready to tackle this new venture. “I’ve always been interested in this,” he said. 

Townsend has been doing wedding arrangements since 2009. She has a Maine Masters in floral designs and has worked in floral shops before. 

Simple Elegance doesn’t have a storefront at this time. Eventually they would like that, but for now they are able to service Cumberland County, Raymond to Cape Elizabeth, Standish to the coast with regular floral delivery service, including sympathy bouquets for funerals. 

“We don’t do cookie cutter arrangements. We want to use our own designs,” Townsend said. They are not affiliated with any of the National floral companies. They feel this makes them more trendy and up to date. “We are local independent shop, support local,” she said. 

They also do wedding floral design statewide and into New Hampshire. As an additional benefit for brides, Simple Elegance also offers wedding cakes and cupcakes. For those who like one stop shopping, they have paired with Jessica Tardiff Photography, to offer a bundle featuring, five hours of wedding coverage, two photographers, a print package and a bridal assistant ($2,800 value), bridal bouquet, up to four bridesmaids, groom, up to four groomsmen, up to four corsages, toss bouquet, up to 10 centerpieces and wedding cake or cupcakes for up to 100 people ($1,800 value). The combination price is $4,000.  
On the Simple Elegance website are some of the designs offered, but they try to customize the arrangements, whenever they can. Calling when requesting changes to a design is best according to Townsend and Haddock, otherwise, orders can be placed on the website. Orders placed by noon Monday through Saturday, will be delivered in the afternoon and evening. The only exception is funeral arrangements and Valentine’s Day, although Haddock recommends that roses be delivered to the office of your love on Thursday or Friday, rather than waiting for the weekend. Their opening Valentine’s Day special is a dozen long stemmed arranged roses is $74.95. There is a $6.95 delivery change for Windham locations and a $12.95 charge outside of Windham. Those from Peaks Island or Frye Island should call to arrange for flower delivery and discuss delivery options. Simple Elegance will be open on Valentine’s Day until noon. 

When it comes to funeral work, Simple Elegance prefers to sit with the family to make the experience as meaningful as possible. They will travel to the family’s home or to the church or chapel as need.
It’s the little things that make Simple Elegance stand out like custom made wooden vases and their attention to detail when it comes to pleasing the customers. When it comes to special occasions it helps to plan ahead and order flowers before the rush. 

Simple Elegance is also proud to offer chocolate covered strawberries, just in time for Valentine’s Day, and gourmet fruit baskets filled with a variety of fresh fruit. Add an order of chocolate covered strawberries onto a delivery of flowers to step up any gift. 
What makes Simple Elegance of Maine Florist different? “It’s the passion we have for the business,” Haddock said. They are working to get more of the family involved including planting Christmas trees. “It’s something to pass down to the kids and grandkids,” he added. 

They do business events and decorate for the seasons, especially Christmas. They are available to offer baskets for staff appreciation or gift baskets for employees.  

Simple Elegance also delivers to hospitals and nursing homes in the area. Call to find out about discounts for law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs. 

For more about Simple Elegance, visit or with special needs, orders or questions, call 892-2750. For wedding plans and cakes, call 561-0907.