Friday, April 20, 2018

Business Spotlight: WildWood Properties by Michelle Libby Properties has helped to make the greater Windham area beautiful and well groomed one property at a time over the last six years. This year, owners Rick and Anne Drapeau plan to expand to give homeowners even more choices for dynamic backyards that make people want to be outside. 
“We’re still doing the same stuff we’ve always done, hardscape/construction, design, irrigation installs and maintenance but now we are adding outdoor living spaces and lighting,” said Rick.
The company hired Rob Sheridan from Cape Cod to work on the total transformation of backyards from patios with firepits to walkways and pools. Sheridan has 10 years of experience with land and hardscaping. 

Although the weather doesn’t look like spring, WildWood Properties has already begun spring preparations around the stubborn, small snow piles. “The snow is finally trying to melt. We’ve been busy already. It’s not too late to get on the mow route,” he said. 

WildWood Properties takes care of commercial, residential, associations, condos and church properties. The property management branch of the company takes care of a lot of waterfront camps, helping with annual maintenance, arranging sub-contractors and making sure oil and propane tanks are filled. 

Seventy percent of the residential customers are year-round residents and only 30 percent are from away, have camps or rental properties in the Windham area, including Raymond and Standish. 
Commercial accounts are primarily in Windham, but WildWood travels to Raymond, Old Orchard and Cumberland Foreside. 

“I love going into a backyard that’s all overgrown. I have a vision of a patio, firepit, retaining wall, shrubs and mulch. I love to transform backyards,” Rick said, about his favorite part of his job. He also likes the two hours a week he spends lining the fields at Gambo for Windham Youth Soccer. “It’s kind of relaxing taking care of Gambo soccer fields.”

One year ago, the company rebranded itself to reflect its new direction. The logo was created by the Drapeau’s niece Renee Holley, owner of The Maine Design.

“Our old logo was great for how we started out. It’s taken us in so many different directions, property management, real estate and investment properties. This better represents us.” 

Rick is an associate broker and Anne is an agent at Better Homes and Gardens The Masiello Group in Windham. They help families who are just moving to the area to find a house, do spring cleanup, fall clean up, snow removal and when they are ready, sell the house.

“It starts as mowing the lawn and goes all the way through,” Rick said. 

WildWood Properties considers its customer service its biggest specialty. Being responsive to the customers, doing a great job on their projects and following up after the work has been done is what has made WildWood Properties a standout in the community. 

If working for a dynamic company is a goal, WildWood Properties will be filling two more positions for maintenance workers for this season.

To see pictures of their work, visit, find them on Facebook, Linked In, Instagram and Pinterest. To book ongoing service or for a special project, email or call 894-4254.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Business spotlight on A & E Contractors by Michelle Libby

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After Eric Klein’s first trip to Maine, it was love at first sight and he decided to make this his home. As a solopreneur moving his contracting business from New York to Maine was risky, but he did it for love and to find new opportunities. He was ready for a new challenge.
When he first moved to Maine, he took on a job working with another construction company. He did
that for a year and a half to learn more about the area and the needs of homeowners. What he discovered was that there was a large need for quality finish carpenters.

The need is great, and Klein is ready to do the work to help year-round homeowners or summer residents spruce up their homes. He does practically everything on your honey-do list and at a fair, reasonable price.

A & E Contractors’ philosophy is “Do it right the first time,” he said. “If you’re going to do a job, do it the right way.” Klein prides himself on quality work and never cuts corners. He completes every project thoroughly and with great attention to detail. 

A & E Contractors started after Klein returned from his time in the Navy. He was a boatswain’s mate in the 1980s. Once he returned and went to school for a while, he decided to start A & E Contractors, which was named after Klein and his brother, Andy. Andy worked with him for a few years until Klein moved. 

Klein has been involved in projects all over the area. He has done work at Maggie’s Hair Salon, replaced rotted cedar shakes and has updated decks to make them safe. A & E Contractors also does replacement doors, trim work and anything that needs finish carpentry. 

“Finish carpentry is my specialty. I can tackle anything,” Klein said. He also does light landscaping including design, planting and mulching but does not mow lawns. Other projects include building decks, along with constructing, repairing and installing custom docks. He doesn’t do a lot of new construction but remodeling or fixing problem areas on a home are right up his alley. He can complete most any task regarding remodels such as tile work, floor installations, painting, etc. He can also do basement finishing to create a whole new living space in your home.

“Docks are my forte. I love being outside, enjoying the weather,” he said. For eight years he taught computer aided drafting and worked for five years doing AutoCAD design. Doing architectural design was fun, but he decided he didn’t want to sit behind a desk and would rather be building the projects he designed. He still enjoys creating plans but likes that now he is able to be more hands on.
“I’ve been working in the field a long time,” he said. “I like seeing a project start from nothing then stand back and say, ‘I did that’.”

Designing decks with stairs and landings makes him happy and he is content to know that his projects provide safety to families. No one will put their foot through the floors or fall on rickety stairs.
He will travel to meet the demands of his clients. From Raymond to South Portland, Klein is willing to travel anywhere in Cumberland County. He lives locally, despite the area code on his phone, he said with a chuckle. 

He is looking forward to meeting new people in the area and filling his spring and summer schedule. He suggests calling now to secure a spot in what is becoming a busy season and ensures his customers that projects will be completed quickly and efficiently. When he begins a job, he works on it until it is completed. He does everything start to finish and doesn’t bounce between clients.

“I take pride in all my work,” he said. “I just really like finish carpentry. It dresses things up.” Precision with things like crown molding and custom built-ins are crucial in achieving a finished look and his 25 years of experience makes it look easy.  

Klein says he is willing to work on weekends and is more than happy to set up free estimates to discuss your vision, goals and budget. A & E Contractors is fully insured. To see a portfolio of jobs Klein has completed or to schedule a project, email or call or text 315-530-0616.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Business Spotlight Hello, Doggie! Daycare/Training by Michelle Libby, Doggie! is a new dog daycare and training center at 1311 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond. With a unique theme to the center, owners Shannon Oliver and Sandra Jose believe that “every dog is a star”.
February first, Oliver and Jose took over Jordan Bay Dog Daycare. Oliver worked there as the manager last summer and was offered the chance to take over the business at the beginning of the year. With their combined experience with animals, all of the clients stayed on through the transition. 

Oliver is an actress and performs on local stages. Jose is a retired professional dancer. Between the
two, being in front of an audience is in their blood. “Performing is in my past and Shannon’s present and future,” said Jose. It is no wonder the daycare is based on the theater.

From 8-week-old puppies to elderly dogs, the daycare “auditions” each dog to make sure their temperament is right for them to fit in with the current cast. They attempt to place likeminded temperaments together, they said. 

Each area of the building has a name like the Green Room, Black Box, Main Stage and Backstage. The staff are stage managers and cast members. The cast even has impromptu choir practice some afternoons with howling and barking. 

After some renovations, including fresh paint and a redesigned entry and training space, the Puppy Room will open for dogs from eight weeks to sixteen weeks featuring lots of breaks and a schedule that will help manage their behavior, said Jose, who is a Karen Pryor Academy certified training partner. The Puppy Room will be open three days a week for half or full days. 

Oliver started working in a dog daycare where she learned the methods for dog training. “It’s great we found each other. We have the same goals for these dogs,” said Oliver. She hopes to become Karen Pryor trained.

There will be light grooming, basic training and private training sessions, called rehearsals. The rehearsals are often recorded and report cards are sent home. Basic training for all clients happen morning, midday and night. The dogs learn to come when called and refocus their attention when needed. 

“We are focusing on positive reinforcement. We use clicker training,” Jose said. The goal is to have the dogs get use to their foundation training.”

“Puppies need daycare and to be trained,” Oliver said. 

Jose started her dog journey helping a breeder. She had her own dogs which she bred and showed. She is also certified in canine nutrition and trains service dogs. 

“I have an applied science certification from the Animal Behavior Institute. The animal training and enrichment incorporated into the daily routine sets us apart,” Jose said. Jose added that it’s more beneficial for the dogs if the center offers something different.

The center is a work in progress. There will be private lessons for an additional charge offered during the days. And training classes for the public, whose fur babies don’t attend Hello, Doggie! will be offered on Saturday mornings.  

There will be a dog to cast member ratio for each room for a total of 25 dogs and 10 puppies at one time. There are no breed restrictions. “We love dogs as long as they’re friendly and healthy,” said Oliver. “My life has taken me all different directions. I found something that really fulfills me. 

They’re people’s children. If I didn’t want to bring my dogs to work, that’s a red flag,” she added.
Their philosophy is “dog safety, enrichment and their wellbeing.” There are no drop ins and the owners encourage people to stop by to take a tour or meet them. They are open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

There will be an open house on Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also, Jose and Oliver will be at Pet Life in Windham from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 7 to discuss their stage and schedule auditions. 

For more information, visit them at or find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat or call 207-655-6521.