Friday, December 23, 2016

Business spotlight - Sabre Yachts - By Michelle Libby

When one thinks of luxury yachts, Casco, Maine, doesn’t often come to mind, but it should. Nestled on the Raymond-Casco border Sabre Yachts creates boats that are synonymous with quality, craftsmanship and extravagance. They have a team that takes pride in their work, and the final product. 

In 1970, Sabre completed its first sailboat. When the market began to change in the early 2000s, Sabre began introducing power boats into the production line. Now they build power boat models from 38-feet to 66-feet in length. The last Sabre sailboat was built in 2012. 

“We’ve been building boats in the lakes region for coming up on 50 years and we’re growing,” said marketing assistant Jamie Beaudoin Governale. “That’s huge for a manufacturing industry.”
The boats take their inspiration from traditional Maine lobster boats, but with luxury amenities. “There’s a lot of connection to that heritage,” she added. 

Sabre Yachts is growing with the addition of the newest boat, a 45-footer that just fits into the manufacturing building in Casco. The craftsmen do a delicate dance to move the boat along the production line, and with the new size boat, they have inches to spare when they “deck the boat”, meaning putting the top onto the bottom. The first 45-foot boat should be completed sometime in January. 

Sabre is hiring associates who have Downeast pride, meaning those who learn their craft and continually improve on what they produce. Many of the associates have been working at Sabre for 10 to 20 years, and according to Governale, many of them keep notebooks to take notes on how they can do their jobs better. In a “want based industry” to be looking to hire new associates is a good thing. They are looking for team members with experience in carpentry, electrical, assembly and fiberglass work. 

Sabre employs 300 people in the State of Maine from Casco to Rockland, where they have another manufacturing facility and a sister company called Back Cove Yachts. 

“We’re looking for good people to come to the team. We especially need carpenters because demand is so high,” said Governale. Training is available for the right person. The associates have great benefits and work a four day week. The team considers themselves family. “We want you to come to stay and be here forever,” she added. “You can look at the boats, see the hours, time and craftsmanship. It becomes so much more than a boat. It crosses the line into artistry.”

The yachts at Sabre offer a steady, gentle ride. It’s great for older buyers who were once sailors and want the freedom they have on the water to continue with less work than sailing. One option for the boats is a gyro-stabilizer called a Seakeeper that keeps the boat from rocking too much, said Governale. 

Each boat that goes through the facility is labeled with who the boat will be shipped to whether it’s a family or a dealership, the associates know who the boat will be shipped to. “It belongs to somebody,” said Governale. It makes creating the beautiful boat that much more special because it’s going to a specific family or dealership, then to a family. 

Sometimes the owners do special things for the craftsmen who work on their boats. One couple bought T-shirts for all of the associates with their hull number on the shirt. Another couple invited the craftsmen onto their boat for the day once it was in the water.

Sabre Yachts is run by CEO Daniel Zilkha and COO Aaron Crawford, who will also take over the role of president in 2017. 
For those looking for employment, Sabre is looking for those with a sense of teamwork, dedicated to creating a great product and passionate about what they are doing. 

For those looking to purchase a Sabre Yacht, dealers are selling all of the models, however, there is a waitlist until 2018 to customize a boat from the ground up. The boats are also sold in Australia, Belgium and Canada as well as in the United States. A new boat leaves the facility every 10 to 14 days. 

Those who would like to apply for a job are encourage to walk in to the office on Hawthorne Road off Route 302 in South Casco or apply online at www.SabreYachts/contact.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Business spotlight - Hometown Sports - By Michelle Libby

New Englanders love their sports teams. Year round we root for the Boston teams for basketball, baseball, hockey and football, but finding the merchandise to show true pride isn’t always easy.
Until now. Just before Thanksgiving, Matt Madrid, a professional golfer in his own right, opened Hometown Sports on Roosevelt Trail in Raymond. 

His family has run fan shops since 1986 in Colorado and now Madrid hopes to make shopping for favorite team apparel, accessories and special gifts easier with a quick drive to Raymond. No longer will fans have to drive to the mall to find the same shirt as 300 other people have. At Hometown Sports, fans can get unique, authentic items that very few people have. 

Madrid had been vacationing in Maine for years. “The people treat you the way you want to be treated,” said Madrid. He wanted to live here and chose Casco to settle. 

The fan shop sells licensed merchandise for the NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA and a few local teams like the Sea Dogs and UMaine Black Bears. He makes it clear that Hometown Sports is not a sporting goods store. They don’t have bats or balls, unless they are signed memorabilia, there is not a lot of that, he said.

“We want to give back to the community to all locals. What we sell is authentic, officially licensed and affordable,” Madrid said. People can find what they need locally and less expensive than the big box stores. Hometown Sports doesn’t have a high overhead with only Madrid and one other person occasionally manning the store. “We bring in things that are unique and better quality,” he said.
He has an old Pat’s flag with the original logo hanging near the other items. “When you walk in here you don’t see things you see in other stores. We carry tailgate chairs and golf bags” that are branded, he said.     

“There’s nothing like this around here. There’s some competition for certain items, but that’s why we’re here,” Madrid said. Giving locals the opportunity to purchase unique fan items at great prices is his goal. He is able to keep the prices low because he owns everything in the store and purchases the merchandise outright from American distributors. 

The small building at 1250 Roosevelt Trail was totally remodeled and each room showcases a different team. There is a consistent demand for hockey and football team apparel and accessories. Madrid can get apparel or gifts from any team out there, he said. He’s even bringing in NY Giants stuff for “older guys” who can’t support that new team in Massachusetts. And will also feature Revolution gear for those soccer fans. 

Special orders take from 7 to 10 days with a reliable drop ship program, when customers pre-pay. He can get specialty flags and cozies. Veterans, police, fire and locals always get a 10 percent discount on their order. Active military receive a 20 percent discount. 

It’s not just about the gear. Madrid also provides the ambiance that invites customers in to hang out and cheer on their favorite teams. Classic rock flows through the speakers, a 60 inch TV hangs on the wall playing whatever game is on and two arm chairs welcome fans to sit a spell. 

If those sports aren’t what a fan is looking for, Madrid carries NASCAR items featuring the big names on the track. He also has a limited selection of Ford and Chevy items, like a Ford camo hat for $20. 

Items can’t be purchased online, but to get an idea of what types of items Hometown Sports sells, their website is a good resource. 

Hometown Sports carried sunglasses, license plate covers and bags in the favorite team’s logo. There are items for men and women and a fitting room to try things on. They carry shot glasses, beer glasses, coffee mugs and more.  

Hometown Sports has your holiday gifts as well. From baby stuff, like pacifiers, onesies and youth backpacks, not to mention great stocking stuffers. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Thursdays to Sundays. They accept all major credit cards including American Express. 

For more about Hometown Sports visit, call 655-1049 or stop by to watch the game.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Business spotlight - Take a Break Billiards - BY Michelle Libby

When looking for something to do all year round, check out Take a Break Billiards at 824 Roosevelt Trail at the end of the plaza. Last month Craig and Michelle Newton took over ownership of the business, changing the name and sprucing up the place with new competition blue felt for the tables and a whole new menu just for starters.
The billiards hall was originally Sebago Lake Billiards, then Sneaky Pete’s Billiards and then Daddios, each one having an issue that caused it to close. The Newton’s are ready to make Take a Break a house hold name and the first thing families think of when looking for some place to go to for food, family and fun.
“It’s an inexpensive way to spend a weekend,” Michelle said. Table rentals are $8 for an hour. “Anyone from age 7 to 107 looking for good clean fun,” should stop by, she added.
New televisions in each corner of the hall, means no one will miss a game, be it hockey, basketball, football or baseball.
The new menu features pub food, like chicken fingers, fries, mac and cheese, hot dog baskets and more. They are still tweaking the menu to meet the needs of the players and the families. There will be specials, like the Saturday night special which includes two large pizzas, four sodas and an hour of table time for $25.
“We jumped in with both feet,” Craig said. “Guys who are into pool are going play every day.” He was surprised how many people didn’t realize there was a pool hall in Windham. They plan to remedy that issue by offering family fun and a professional grade establishment.
There are American Poolplayers Association (APA) league competitions going on a few nights during the week. With the change in ownership, some players left, but Craig encourages them to come back to see what’s been upgraded.
Mondays are the in-house league. Tuesdays are APA ball and Wednesdays are APA nineball, all of which start around 6 p.m.
Starting in January there will be a junior league on Saturday afternoons. For $5 a week, junior players can receive a half hour of instruction and then play for fun and with the possibility of joining up with the Maine Valley League for competitions. The youth league will be a family event where parents stay for the two hours to play or relax.
“It’s not based on a screen. This is hand/eye coordination, geometry and game-manship,” Michelle said.
Also in January, a ladies league will be started on Sunday evening.
Craig came from the collision operations industry, where he worked for 15 years. Michelle works for a non-profit. Neither had billiards experience, but they are excited for this opportunity.
 “We believe in keeping it local and supporting other local businesses. We’re residents of Windham and our kids go to school here,” Michelle said. “We are Windham. We’re invested in the community.”
The Newton’s hope to become involved in charity work through tournaments after they are settled.
Take a Break Billiards is also open for events, parties and gatherings. For four hours, a party can rent the space on a Friday or Saturday night with a buffet and drinks, be it a holiday party or a birthday party. The guests can socialize, enjoy the music on the soon to be updated sound system and play pool, while being fed.  
Take a Break Billiards offers beer and wine, including Lime-a-rita.
Other exciting things coming are video trivia and Darts Live, which gives players the chance to compete against players from all over the world. They are piloting the system starting soon.
The bathrooms have all been renovated, also. “It’s like flipping a house,” Michelle said about all of the work they’ve done.
For now Take a Break Billiards is open Monday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
For more visit,, find them on Facebook or call 310-2886.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Business spotlight - Landing Real Estate - By Michelle Libby

Landing Real Estate has been a fixture in the real estate market in Windham and Raymond for the last four years and now they are opening a new office at 79 Tandberg Trail, just in time for the holidays. With 16 agents and owners Matt and Lisa DiBiase, Landing Real Estate is on the cutting edge when it comes to buying and selling real estate. 

The original office for Landing Real Estate is on Exchange Street in Portland, but with demand increasing in the fast growing Windham market, Landing felt having an office in Windham would be beneficial.

“We do a lot of business out here,” said owner/broker Matt DiBiase, who grew up in Windham.
Matt began his career in real estate in 2003. His stepfather owned a company in the eighties and nineties, so real estate was a natural career choice for him. 

“I enjoy the transactions and putting the deals together. I like being at the closing table for someone buying their dream home or selling a property they never thought would sell. I’m always up for a challenge,” Matt said. “Landing trains agents to be aggressive and proactive in the marketplace. We actively go out to put deals together for our buyers and sellers.”

All of the agents at Landing are independent contractors. They come to Landing for the trainings and coachings that are offered. Many real estate offices hire someone give them a desk and expect them to get out there, Matt said. At Landing, “We use a team model. Even though everyone is independent, we help them grow,” said Matt. “I enjoy having all the agents working together in our fun, family atmosphere.”

The Landing marketing plan is the key to their success, according to Matt. With the proactive marketing they do with Time4Printing, they keep their name in front of sellers and buyers. “We go above and beyond with our marketing,” Matt said. “We help the people that didn’t think they could sell. I feel I’ve worked very hard to get where I am in my business. I’m very aggressive and active with my marketing.” 

Landing Real Estate works with properties in central and southern Maine, as the company grows, they will continue to expand. Using a local independent company provides clients with personal attention they want with the same exposure they might get from a national company. “We can do all the same services,” said Matt. “We can be more creative with marketing and more fun.” 

The agents are always available and have phones with them at all times. They communicate late in the day or on weekends, if needed. “We’re here to help them feel comfortable through the process,” Matt said. Making a purchase that is likely the biggest expense a person, couple or family will incur, Landing agents want it to be a positive experience for all involved through the negotiating process and inspections. 

The market is low on inventory. “It is absolutely a seller’s market,” Matt said. There are a lot of out of state buyers, and Matt sees that trend continuing into next year. 

Landing handles a lot of every kind of residential real estate from waterfront and investment properties to existing homes and building packages. 

Matt and Lisa consider their agents like their second family. They are hiring people to add to their team in Windham. 

For more on Landing, visit or call 207-775-(SOLD) 7653.