Friday, September 20, 2019

Business Spotlight: Essential Massage Services

By Lorraine Glowczak

It is well-known that massage therapy relaxes your muscles, helps you to achieve full range of motion, encourages relaxation and improves your mood. It is also well known that one size does not fit all – including the multitude of benefits that massage therapy can provide.

That’s where Nationally Certified and State of Maine licensed massage therapist, Lawrence De Hof with Essential Massage Services, 2 Basin Road in Windham, ME comes in.  He combines the techniques of Swedish and Deep Tissue massage with Connective Tissue Release, warm stone therapy along with energy therapy. These techniques are combines to provide his clients with relaxation and healing treatments in an individually crafted session.

Larry De Hof's office is locatedjust off of Tandberg Trail, behind Shaw’sShopping plaza at 2 Basin Road in Windham. 
Known as Larry to both friends and clients, De Hof has combined his 500 hours of massage school training with over 600 hours of continuing education courses in various therapeutic healing modalities to offer tailored massage therapy options. “It’s the client’s massage, not mine,” began De Hof. “I craft a one hour, full-body message session to meet the individual’s needs based upon the intake interview prior to the very first session.”

He is proud to be among one of the few male massage therapists in the Greater Windham area.   De Hof is a sole proprietor. He answers his own phone, responds to his own emails, and acts as the receptionist – greeting each client personally, all the while having and responding to the personal needs of those he serves.

“I am the only employee. It is imperative to my business and personal mission to honor and respect my clients by operating my massage profession with integrity and detail. It is my mission and hope that my customers know they will receive the best professional and personal benefits possible from what I have to offer.”

De Hof also incorporates Reiki into the session, as a Reiki Master he makes sure his sessions provide a sense of calm and reverence. “I arrange and offer my appointments in such a way that my clients do not feel rushed during or after a massage therapy session,” he stated.

Although De Hof offers one-hour sessions, he books his schedule in two-hour increments. This allows extra time if undisclosed problems are found or the client wants extra time to relax on the table after the session. He wishes to allow his clients a true healing moment without feeling rushed to leave.

“Often, my clients will fall asleep during a session,’ stated De Hof. “I take this as a compliment because it indicates the client is relaxed and I have taken them to deep level of comfort. At the end of the session, I will waken my customer and let them know they can take their time to get up. Then I go off to do my required paperwork. Sometimes, they will wake up and just need to relax in the office as they prepare to return to normal everyday life. Either way, they have the time to adjust – hopefully feeling prepared to go about their life in a more calm and confident manner.

So how did De Hof make massage therapy his calling and career of choice? His wife jokes that he has been in the business of “helping people in need” for a long time.

De Hof served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War era. After serving 3 years overseas De Hof became a police officer in Maryland where he retired after 22 years of service. After his first retirement, De Hof moved into the security and private investigator position businesses. 

His role as the Security Director for a large bank eventually ended when they were purchased by another company. This left him without work but provided an opportunity to move in a different direction. With time on his hands, he decided to take a two-weekend basic massage class for fun.
“I took the massage therapy education class and was very impressed by their professional approach and the way they taught the therapy techniques and business of massage therapy,” stated De Hof. “I realized I wanted to be a part of this and help others who could benefit from the healing methods of massage. I decided I would give it a try.” I closed all my private investigators business and went to school full time. I have not wanted to do anything else since.”

He graduated from the 500 hour massage school in Washington DC. 2001 and began a private practice in Maryland. There he continued taking classes and received Board Certification with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. In 2003, he and his wife (who’s family is from the Ellsworth, Maine area), made their home – and his office – in Windham in 2003 just off of Tandberg Trail, less than a mile down the road behind Shaw’s Shopping plaza.
De Hof’s one-hour massage is $60 per hour for appointments made in advance, and $65 per hour for appointments made on the same day. De Hof is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association, the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, and is a Veteran Owned Small Business. He is also a member of The American Legion Post 148 and The Fraternal Order of Police. 

To learn more about De Hof and/or make an appointment with Essential Massage Services, call 207-310-8952 or check out the website at WWW.EssentialMassageServices.com.





Friday, September 13, 2019

Business Spotlight: Partners in Canine

https://www.partnersincanineme.com/Partners in Canine, located at 765 Roosevelt Trail, is not your average cookie cutter dog training business. Meg Terrio and Merri Button are a dynamic team whose passion, philosophies, and techniques result in many happy customers (dogs and humans alike).  

Their success in dog training is not the only thing that make Button and Terrio stand out from the rest. From basics to reactivity, Partners in Canine go a step further with their in-depth programs which combine day training and group classes or private lessons. One such program is the popular Pup Camp Program. “We expose puppies to everyday circumstances, providing training at all levels,” Button said. 

Some examples of what can be covered in Programs include a variety of basic manners such as how to appropriately enter and exit buildings, how to be with and meet other dogs and humans, walking politely on a leash, as well as experiencing a variety of surfaces and different locations. All of this helps to create a socially responsible dog. "Dogs aren't born into this world knowing how to live with humans, our goal is to teach them how to live peaceably in our world," stated Button.

“Every dog has a very distinctive personality – as well as the humans who care for them,” began Terrio. “As a result, we provide individualized care and training plans to build strong and lasting relationships between dog and human using a motivational and balanced approach.”

Button further explained that relationship-based training provides mutually beneficial results between owner/trainer and dog, all the while enhancing and strengthening the relationships in a positive way.

Owners Merri Button and Meg Terrio
One dog who needed extra help was Nova, a rescue. Nova’s owner, Casey Etter, shared his story and how Button and Terrio saved his life. “From puppyhood he lacked confidence and had reactive behavior,” she began. “We already had five other rescues, all with baggage and they weren’t exactly the type of pack that would help Nova overcome his lack of confidence and reactionary behavior.  We knew if we didn’t get Nova on the right path with the right trainers he could easily be pegged as an aggressive “pit bull” living up to a negative stereotype. Thanks to Meg and Merri, Nova is an exceptionally well-behaved young man who has worked on his confidence and reactionary behavior. The bond he has with Meg, who has worked with him since he was six months is amazing and she has not only trained Nova but trained us to understand the reasons behind how he acts. I only wish I had Meg and Merri in my life with it other rescues so they too could have benefited from the exceptional training they offer.”

So, how did Button and Terrio become the talented dog-trainers they are today? They both had other career ambitions, Terrio, a horse caretaker and Button, a Marine Mammal Trainer. But life took them in different directions causing them to find an unexpected niche in dog-training – and each other. “We worked together at a training facility in Saco and realized we had like-minded philosophies, and both have a passion for continually learning and growing,” stated Button.

They eventually each started their own separate dog-training businesses but kept in touch. Realizing they wanted to become partners, they collaborated and officially opened their Partners in Canine’s doors, located directly behind the Windham Post Office, on June 2nd

Presently they offer a variety of training services and packages to include the Partners Programs. Also available are one on one services that include private lessons, consultations, or day trainings. “This fall and winter we will also be offering sports classes, obedience training, confirmation training, and a paw and order class,” Terrio said.

Furthermore, they open their doors to other trainers who need space for training purposes. “Merri and I are about unity. We want to create a unifying force among dog trainers,” explained Terrio. “It doesn’t matter what method or philosophy other dog-trainers use, we all are in it for the same purpose – to help owners and dogs.” stated Button.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact Button and Terrio at Partners in Canine by phone, 207- 956-0642, by email at partnersincanineme@gmail.com or website, www.partnersincanineme.com.



Friday, September 6, 2019

Event Spotlight: Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors Gala

http://windhamneighbors.org/By Lorraine Glowczak

It all began in the fall of 2007. An increase in the cost of fuel had reached $4 per gallon. Compared to the current average heating cost for propane during the 2018-19 season of $2.90 per gallon, the heating prices of twelve years ago were astronomical even by today’s standards.

“I started receiving phone calls about the price of heating fuel,” explained Senator Bill Diamond. “People were worried, fearing they would not be able to make it through the winter without heat. The more calls I received, I realized there was a real problem and a real need.”

It was at that point that Diamond called the State Representatives at that time, Gary Plummer and Mark Bryant, to see if there was a way they could work together to solve the serious issue that many faced. After much discussion, they all agreed to start a group to help raise money for those in need. Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors (WNHN) began to form.

Although its current mission is “to provide one-time emergency assistance to Windham residents experiencing a critical need for heating fuel, to help direct individuals to appropriate long-term resources and to promote a culture of neighbors helping neighbors”, it was a few months before the specific objective was solidified.

“It took us awhile to realize that we wouldn’t be able to shovel snow off of every sidewalk and roof, so we narrowed the focus to fuel assistance,” explained Diamond. “But there were a few things we got right in the very beginning that I think adds to the success of Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”

Officially a non-profit organization in 2008 and into its 11th year, Diamond said that the program specifically focuses on two things. “We made a pledge in the beginning that every dollar we raised would be used for heating assistance and that we would provide for the families that really were in need.”

In order to obtain their mission, fundraising efforts ensued. The organization began by hosting a 5K run. Between those who ran and the many individuals and businesses who sponsored the run, approximately $6,000 was raised the first year.

All the funds went directly to heating assistance and not one dime was spent on administrative costs. There were 17 families who received assistance that first year.

However, as with any non-profit organization - there are administrative costs that include, but are not limited to, the legal expenses of becoming a 501c3, advertisement of fundraising events and other incidental supplies. “Those of us on the board would all pitch in our own money for things that all non-profits need to be a successful organization,” explained Diamond.

It wasn’t until two years later, when the Windham High School graduating class of 2010 spoke with the board of directors. The class learned about the various fundamental financial needs of what it takes to manage a non-profit. Upon learning about all the details, the Class of 2010 donated $1,000 to be used solely for administrative costs. Others eventually followed suit, and it’s from that financial line item that basic administrative costs are used. No one is paid, Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a completely volunteer inspired organization.

Currently, the organization now serves as many as 100 families per winter season. “The majority of needs for heating assistance comes from single mothers,” stated Diamond. “Once, I got to visit one of the single mothers who made a request and qualified. It had been awhile since fuel delivery was made to their home and they were completely out of heating supply. It was in the middle of winter and she had blankets on the walls in the living area with one electric heater to warm her three children and herself. They ate, lived and slept in that one room.”

Although that mother may not have been the one to add a testimonial on the Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors pamphlet, certainly she would have concurred with this statement: “We had no other place to turn. I don’t know how my children and I would have been able to stay warm.”
Diamond stated that the elderly is also a demographic in which heating assistance is needed, but they tend to be the last to ask for help.

In order to keep the momentum of Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors moving forward, a gala that includes dinner and auction is held every year. This year, the gala will be held on Friday, September 27 at the Stone Barn at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish to raise funds. “We have to be ready to help as many as 100 families this year from this fundraising event,” Diamond stated.

If you belong to an organization or business and wish to be a part of the Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors gala, contact Diamond at 892-8941.

In order to qualify for heating assistant services, individuals must live in Windham and have exhausted all other state and local agencies that help. To determine if one qualifies, please contact the board of directors at: www.windhamneighbors.com.







Friday, August 30, 2019

Business Spotlight: Gem Lounge Jewelry, LLC

By Lorraine Glowczak

There are many things that make Gem Lounge Jewelry, located at 1263 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond a fashionable Maine jewelry and other locally made gifts such has handbags, t-shirts, and journals but its commitment to the burgeoning eco-friendly movement has made waves beyond the Lakes Region area.
unique retail jewelry shop that stands out among the rest. Not only is the store filled with

Upon entering the Raymond store, one will find beautifully hand-crafted vegan leather jewelry with designs that all feature genuine metals, gemstones, cork and more and are made with sustainable and recycled supplies and packaging. “The result is beautiful artisan designs that you can feel great about wearing,” stated Owner and Jewelry Maker Extraordinaire, Melissa Evans.

So, what is cork? Cork is generated from the bark of cork oak trees. The bark is stripped from the trees every nine to 12 years to make sure that the trees are not over stripped. The stripping does not damage the tree itself and allows the tree to grow to over 200 years old. 

Over 85% of the world's cork comes from Portugal, which is where Gem Lounge Jewelry source the materials for their designs. What is created is a great sustainable product which unlike traditional leather designs, uses no animal products to produce. 

Melissa Evans
Gem Lounge Jewelry prefers to use cork in their designs as the benefits include an eco-friendly alternative to leather, it is hypoallergenic, and best of all, water-resistant. The idea and concept came from her younger sister. “When my sister turned 15, she started a vegan diet,” began Melissa. “She challenged me to make her a vegan leather bracelet. I rose to her challenge and that is where our cork designs were born.”

Melissa went on to explain that one of her realizations regarding eco-conscious jewelry and handbags was that it would put her in the forefront of an important movement. “The plant-based direction we are embracing is more than fad-based, it’s a movement that is gaining momentum and will not be disappearing anytime soon,” she said.

That’s not the only movement Gem Lounge Jewelry supports. Over 90 percent of the products sold are Maine made. Buying and selling local products is Melissa’s mission. In fact, apart from going away to college in New Orleans at Loyola University where she lived for four years to obtain a degree in Political Science and Marketing, Melissa herself is local.

“I grew up here in the Lakes Region, first living in Gray and then moving to Casco until I was 17 when I moved to New Orleans,” she explained. “I now live right here in Raymond, just a few miles from the store. I’m an eighth generation Mainer. I am about as local as one can get.”

Prior to finding her role as entrepreneur and jewelry maker, Melissa worked in a variety of professional roles in highly regarded Southern Maine companies that put her in an office setting. “I eventually realized the cubicle life wasn’t for me,” she said.

First using jewelry and handbag making as a creative outlet from her “day job”, she realized she needed to make the shift in order to be fulfilled in life. She made the transition from her office work to crafting her business ten years ago and it has been growing ever since – supplying her fashionable Maine jewelry and other locally made gifts to over 90 store locations across the U.S.

Melissa and her business, Gem Lounge Jewelry, caught the eye of the Portland Press Herald where she was highlighted for her unique style. She was also interviewed by Channel Eight news. The exposure increased awareness about her unique vegan-based focus, creating an expansion of her business in Southern Maine and beyond. It was at that moment she realized she needed to go from a homebased business to a storefront.

“It wasn’t until a man who drove from Berwick to Windham at the address where I have my PO Box at the Windham UPS store that I realized I needed to take the next step and have a physical location to sell my jewelry and handbags,” Melissa said. “It was around Valentine’s Day and the man had driven a total 2 ½ hour round trip to purchase a piece of jewelry for his wife. He called to ask me where I was located. He and his wife had seen me on television and his wife was very interested in what I had to offer. When he called from the Windham UPS store, I asked him what he was looking for. I met him at the Hannaford parking lot with the piece of jewelry his wife wanted. He went home with the gift he had in mind.”

Other similar incidents continued to occur. As a result, on June 29, 2019 she purchased the former Essentials store location and now has a storefront to display her unique locally inspired and eco-conscious jewelry, handbags and other gifts at 1263 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond. Gem Lounge Jewelry is opened seven days a week. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, peruse the website at www.gemloungejewelry.com or call Melissa at 207-302-0009.






Friday, August 23, 2019

Business Spotlight: The Schoolhouse Learning Center, LLC

https://theschoolhouselearningcenter.com/By Lorraine Glowczak

Preparing students for life in a flexible, yet ordered, environment where walls exist but do not confine the learner is one of the many approaches The Schoolhouse Learning Center, LLC takes to contribute to the growth and happiness of a child. Located at 421 Roosevelt Trail in Windham, the newly established preschool that was once the home of Seavey’s Appliance store, is under construction and will be open for business prior to the 2019-2020 school year.

“Our educational philosophy and program are designed to prepare students cognitively, socially and emotionally,” began Owner and Director, Kara Piattoni. “We do this by creating a sense of community where kindness and life skills, such as listening and following directions, are taught through an exploration method. Although we have rooms for each age group, we encourage the children to explore outside of the classroom walls in a variety of ways with the intent to engage with all children and teachers in a structured manner.”

Piattoni went on to explain that preschool education is so much more than learning your ABCs. It’s about adaptation to life’s situations - being emotionally, socially and cognitively ready for the next step in school, community and life. The Schoolhouse Learning Center’s approach to obtain this goal is through structured, hands-on experiences in a variety of specific skill related activities and classroom settings.

“We will have a movement room where students learn to connect concepts to action and learn through trial and error,” Piattoni said. “We also have a tinker room that will serve as a children’s workshop and will include a variety of arts and craft tools for skill building experiences.”

There will also be a learning library space that will include not only books for students, but the space will be used for quiet time and for teachers and students to work alongside each other on a one to one basis. 

“But what I’m most excited about, coming from a family of restaurant owners and chefs, is our kitchen. The kitchen will feature a teachable space, giving students the opportunity to make snacks for their friends here. They will learn simple math, how to measure, and how to work in cooperation with one another. We will also host guests who are experts in the culinary field for demonstrations.”

Perhaps more importantly, the students will learn the importance of food and its role in life. “In Sweden, all children learn how to cook at a young age and studies have indicated that they grow up to have a healthy relationship with food as a result,” explained Piattoni

Kara Piattoni
Piattoni’s experience and passion has gained a following of parents who have already enrolled their students in the school to be opened this fall. Jess and Todd, parents of children who were taught and lead by Piatonni state this on The Schoolhouse Learning Center Facebook page. “We were lucky enough to have had Kara teach our daughter and our son for a few years while they were daycare age through preschool. She is an amazing teacher who truly cares for all the kids and helps educate them by learning in fun, creative ways.  We are excited to know she will continue to help other children with their development and education through the School House Learning Center! You will be lucky to have your child enrolled here.”

Additionally, Piattoni has gained a following from former coworkers in the field as well. “People I’ve worked with in the past have called and are excited to work alongside with me again,” she said. “I have hired many of them because I know their work ethic and I can honestly say I work with people I know, trust and am confident to teach the children in this school, preparing them in a way they will succeed.”

The Schoolhouse Learning Center accepts infants and children, beginning at 6 weeks to 12 years old. Before and after school programs are available with transportation provided by the RSU14 bus system to and from the Windham schools. Hours are from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information or to enroll your child, contact Kara Piattoni at 207-894-4152,  via the preschool’s Facebook page or the website at www.theschoolhouselearningcenter.com/. Mail completed application packets to: PO Box 788, Westbrook ME 04098.






Friday, August 16, 2019

Business Spotlight: Aging Excellence

http://seniorsonthego.com/By Abbey Davies, Owner

Aging Excellence is Maine's premier in home non-medical agency. The mission of our company is to
help our clients stay independent, active and in their own homes. Aging Excellence began in 1999 long before this was the popular industry to get into and our track record speaks for itself. We pride ourselves on hiring exceptional caregivers that are reliable, intelligent and passionate about their jobs.

Our caregivers range from retired businesspeople, nurses, moms and students. Our oldest employee is in their 80's and our youngest is 18. Aging Excellence remains unique in offering our clients a one hour minimum and our caregivers are well taken care of with highly competitive pay, paid time off, benefits, a SIMPLE plan and the most important benefit; a flexible schedule.

At Aging Excellence our services include Aging Life Care Professionals who assist with medications, doctor appointments, advocacy and evaluation of competency and/or Personal Support Specialists (PSS) who are able to assist our clients with hands on needs such as showering, toileting, dressing, transfers and respite time for loved ones. 

All of our PSS caregivers are certified, and Aging Excellence is registered with the State of Maine as a PSS company so we will only send in a caregiver trained to care for the client’s needs. The Social Companions can assist with transportation, meal preparation, light housekeeping, pet care and socialization. Our handyman is able to assist our clients with any home maintenance needs. All caregivers attend 10 hours of Habilitation Training as presented by the Alzheimer's Association and we have ongoing training to help caregivers meet the changing needs of clients. 

I personally got involved at Aging Excellence around 2001 when I was doing the monthly bookkeeping for Beth Lawrence, the founder of Aging Excellence and at the time, the owner of the Portland office. Beth and I hit it off and although I had no real experience in health care, I bought the Portland franchise of Aging Excellence in 2005. Later that year the Saco office became available and I purchased that office too. Some years later the opportunity to purchase Bangor came up and because of my love for what we do, I jumped on it! This is the most rewarding work you will ever do. Every day you make a significant difference in the life of another person - how can that not be rewarding?
Every day is a learning experience and I am continually amazed by the wonderful caregivers we have and the extent they will go to for the benefit of our clients.

As the older population continues to grow, we have more and more inquires for our services. Many older Mainers want to stay in their own home as long as possible and our company’s mission is to make that happen. It is not always necessary for an older person to go to a facility and with increasing demand there are not enough independent, assisted or skilled beds available in Maine. 

So that is where we step in - maybe your parent or loved one needs a little time in the morning to get dressed, in the afternoon for lunch or the evening for dinner; maybe they just need someone to help with grocery shopping and sweeping the floor; maybe they can't shower on their own....we can do all of that and more. Maybe you're being pulled by the need to help your parents but raise your children (this is now known as the Oreo Generation); maybe you're exhausted by the demands of a loved one with dementia; maybe you want to go away for the weekend but can't.....we can help with all of that and more.

Additionally, if you are looking for a rewarding job that meets your need to serve and help others or perhaps you are looking for a part time flexible job that will allow you the freedom to care for your family but also earn a living? At Aging Excellence we have employees that work 10 hours a week to individuals who work full time and more. As an employee, you can feel good about the paycheck you receive and there is no special training required just a compassionate heart.

I recently attended the funeral of a client we assisted 24/7 for a couple of years and the daughter said that without Aging Excellence she would not have been able to grant her mom’s wish of aging and dying at home. That's the difference we make!

To learn more about Aging Excellence, either as a client or as an employee, contact us at: 866-771-0991 or www.seniorsonthego.com

Friday, August 9, 2019

Business Spotlight: Eagle Sushi and Steakhouse

http://www.eaglesushi.com/By Lorraine Glowczak

It has been the talk of the town, or perhaps more of a question posed to each other in the community:
“Do you know when the new sushi place on Route 302 in Windham will open?”

The answer is that Eagle Sushi and Steakhouse, 818 Roosevelt Trail, opened Thursday July 25, and is serving Japanese sushi and Teppanyaki style meals. The word on the street now? It was very much worth the wait.

“It took us awhile to find the right contractors and get everything together just as we had envisioned,” stated Tinky, who manages the restaurant with her husband and Sushi Chef, Gordon.

Tinky and Gordon are from New York City and they met while working together at a sushi restaurant.

After marriage, they agreed they wanted to continue their career in sushi cuisine with the goal of managing their own restaurant. “My sister, [Fiona], is a Chief Design Officer and entrepreneur in the hospitality industry,” began Gordon. “We put our visions together with Fiona, who is the owner, to offer the best sushi in the Lakes Region area.

Why Windham? “It was the big beautiful lake that brought us here,” Gordon said. “We are learning to enjoy the quiet.” Gordon and Tinky make their home in both Windham and NYC.

The newly updated space that once was the home of D’Angelo’s, holds the sun’s warmth that bounces from the ceilings made of wood. People were enjoying lunch at tables along the windows as well as a couple sitting at one of the Teppanyaki grills in the late afternoon while I sat down to talk to Tinky and Gordon.

Opened for almost two weeks at the time of this interview, Tinky stated that one young customer has already visited six times. “Each time she comes, she brings members of her family and friends. We have also had other repeat customers.”

What keeps people coming back? “We make a lot from scratch. We steam our ramen noodles in real pork bone broth and there are no artificial flavorings. We make our own homemade house dressing that we put on the house salad.” This is only the beginning.

What makes them stand out among the many sushi restaurants in the area who also serve hibachi-style food is the more realistic Teppanyaki experience of Japan. According to an upscale sushi restaurant in Manhassett, New York, “In the U.S., the phrase “hibachi-style” is occasionally used to refer to what is really teppanyaki cooking. Hibachi grills are small, portable barbecue grills that are made from cast iron. Modern hibachis in U.S. restaurants are electric so that they can be used to cook food indoors. By contrast, teppanyaki grilling involves using an iron griddle with a flat, solid surface to prepare the food and the heat source is propane.”

Gordon pointed out that the exhaust goes down below and behind the griddle as opposed toward the ceiling. “This prevents you and your clothes from smelling like grilled food when you leave the restaurant,” Tinky added.

Teppanyaki is also more personal, allowing only two to four people around the grill for a more private experience. There are, however, teppanyaki grills to accommodate six to eight people at a time.

I rarely mix business with pleasure. However, when my admittedly snobbish, sushi loving husband took the day off from work to finish a project on our home, discovered that I had an interview with Eagle Sushi and Steakhouse, he begged to join me.

As I was waiting for him to meet me, the couple sitting at the two person Teppanyaki grill when I first walked in was finished with their meal. After introducing myself, I asked them about their experience.

“We love hibachi food and we eat it wherever and whenever we can,” began Julia Burns of Windham who was with her boyfriend, Stearns Wallingford of Raymond. “And to be quite honest, this is by far this best hibachi food we’ve ever had.”

Our experience? We ordered and shared the house salad with the homemade salad dressing, gyoza (pan fried dumplings – we chose pork over shrimp), tuna tartare, a Tiger Roll and Dragon Roll. I had the small Miso Soup while my husband ordered the House Miso Soup (with the biggest chunks of seafood imaginable.)

My husband and I agreed with Julia Burns and Stearns Wallingford. “This is by far the best sushi experience we’ve ever had. It rivals sushi bars in Portland.” It truly was worth the wait!

For more information or to order online for take-out, go to www.eaglesushi.com or visit them on Facebook page.







































Friday, August 2, 2019

Business Spotlight: The Playhouse Child Care Center

https://www.theplayhousekids.com/By Lorraine Glowczak

Preschools and early childhood education centers provide an environment for children to explore; gaining social, intellectual and self-confidence skills. Realizing the important contributing factors to their child’s success, parents strive to find the best child care, but it is not always an easy feat. Often there are many hurdles to overcome: long waitlists and center hours that often conflict with work schedules. The Playhouse Child Care Center, located at 322 West Gray Road in Gray (with a Westbrook Location coming soon) is about to change all of that.

“As a grandparent, I began to see how difficult it was for my grandchildren to get into the highest quality preschools,” stated John F. Chase, owner of The Playhouse. “I wanted to do something to offer my own grandchildren as well as to all other young folks in the Lakes Region community, a high-quality child care center without the long wait.”

Also the owner of Chase Custom Homes and Finance in Westbrook, Chase reached out to a 15 year veteran in the early childhood business, Ashley Moulton, whose lifelong dream matched the mission of Chase.

Moulton, who will act as District Manager of the Gray (and eventually the Westbrook) location, stated that child care has been a passion of hers since she was a young girl. “Helping children begin the foundation to a successful life is something I’ve always dreamed of - and as an adult working with young children, working in this field has been the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”

According to the parent handbook, The Playhouse’s mission is to provide a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for every child. Their philosophy is simple: allow children to learn through play. “At the Playhouse, children follow a formal curriculum, enhanced by meaningful play, which promotes the development of independence, creative thinking, healthy bodies, self-discipline, problem solving, and self-confidence. We realize that children are constantly learning through structure as well as play.”

The play-based, hands-on programs will engage children in several ways that includes music and movement classes, yoga, sign language, arts and craft projects and more. All programs will motivate children to become involved in a variety of captivating and fun play-based activities, all the while learning very important skills that will prepare for their future and educational career.

“Every child learns and grows differently,” Moulton stated. “We support and guide each child as an individual with a variety of programs from which they can choose and focus on what engages them the most. We also offer an outdoor classroom where children of all ages will be able to explore and learn together. While keeping with the play-based theme, we also want to prepare them for Kindergarten.”

As a result, The Playhouse will adhere to and follow the State of Maine Early Childhood Educational Curriculum Standards. “We want each child to be prepared for a smooth transition into the school system,” Moulton said. “We will follow the standards and curriculum guidelines by the state and will do so in a hands-on and fun way.”

Parents have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to child care and who to entrust with their little ones. “We understand this is a very personal decision, so we are hiring staff with only strong backgrounds and many years of experience in child care,” Moulton said. “Our lead teachers have degrees in early childhood education and assistant teachers will work towards earning a degree while taking continuing education classes. We will support our staff in paying for ongoing training and education.”

Safety is another factor on parents’ minds. They want to know their child will be loved, nurtured and most of all, safe during the day. “Security has been of the utmost importance in the building renovations and design,” Moulton said. “Every family will have a key code and all classrooms will have cameras for security and safety purposes.”

The Playhouse Child Care Center, “Where Learning and Play Come Together,” will be opening soon and is now enrolling children from six weeks to five years old. Slots are filling fast! To learn more and find out about upcoming open house dates, visit their website at www.theplayhousekids.com and the Facebook page.

To request an enrollment packet for your child, contact District Manager, Ashley Moulton by email info@theplayhousekids.com. The Playhouse Child Care is still accepting applications for early childhood educators and infant teachers.  <

Friday, July 26, 2019

Business Spotlight: Paul’s Boutique Nursery

https://paulsboutiquenursery.com/From a twenty-year fascination and interest in the cannabis plant and its properties, Paul’s Boutique s Boutique family, the company is one of Maine’s leading medical marijuana caregivers. What started out in a renovated automobile repair shop is now a 4000 square-foot, state of the art grow facility.
Nursery was created by a husband and wife team in 2015. Today, with the commitment of the entire Paul’

While keeping up with its descriptive name, Paul’s Boutique purposefully chooses to keep an
artisanal approach to all its products and services. The company has now expanded to also include a tier 1 non solvent cannabis extraction lab with a food processing license and a retail store front. As plans become a reality the Paul’s Boutique team has seen where hard work and following your dreams can lead.

In the rapidly growing and ever-changing cannabis industry, not only here in Maine but nationwide, the Paul’s Boutique team has proven the future is bright. They are a company that focuses on providing a high level of products and services. By creating a vertically integrated business, with rigid quality standards from seed to sale, Paul’s Boutique has made a major commitment to being on the forefront of the Maine market.

The latest expansion of the business is the opening of a beautiful new store front in Windham. This allows Paul’s Boutique to better serve the medical community of Maine as well as many card-holding out of state visitors who travel Route 302 while vacationing here.

The Paul’s Boutique vision and dream has become a reality with the opening of their new retail storefront. Located in North Windham on Route 302 at Crimson Drive in a highly visible location with ample parking, they are easily accessible. A private consultation room is available for those who wish to discuss any questions or concerns about cannabis and its uses, especially for those new to the powers of the plant and its many cannabinoids. A warm and inviting check-in area, as well as multiple budtending stations help create a smooth and pleasant shopping experience, allowing patients a comfortable visit.
The store stocks locally crafted items. Paul’s Boutique has carefully chosen CBD vendors who are local cultivators, extractors, and producers. The store also carries a full array of flowers, concentrates, vape pens and edibles.

Paul’s Boutique apparel will be available as will accessories such as functional glass art and rolling papers. The walls are adorned with in house ‘pot’ography. It is attractively displayed and available for sale to those interested in artwork for their personal use.

Paul’s Boutique has also become deeply involved in the local community, as members of the Chamber of Commerce, and as supporters of community outreach programs such as Riding to the Top, Camp Sunshine, Outdoors Again, Windham Food Pantry, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Maine Game Warden Association. Additionally, the owner was recently appointed to Windham’s Marijuana Task Force for Cannabis Regulation. Paul’s Boutique is proud to have hired local Maine residents for their team, as well as relocating employees from other parts of the US, who with their families are settling into the southern Maine lifestyle and helping grow the local economy.

Paul’s Boutique can be found online at sites such as Google listing and Weedmaps where they have high reviews and ratings. The obvious focus of the Paul’s Boutique Family to a quality small batch product is also being recognized by the cannabis community in the form of several awards. They entered their first cannabis competition in 2017 and medaled in The Secret Cup, as well as winning a couple High Times Cannabis Cups. Their strains are clone only and will not be found elsewhere, in spite of the fact that others may sometimes share a common name.

You are invited to stop in and check out Paul’s Boutique storefront which is located at 8 Crimson Drive in Windham. They are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also visit www.paulsboutiquenursery.com

Friday, July 19, 2019

Business Spotlight: Tinker Automotive Services

By Lorraine Glowczak

It’s amazing to walk into an automotive shop and find the owner, who is on ‘vacation’, working on his 1955 Buick Century. That’s exactly what happened on Monday when I walked into Tinker Automotive to interview owner, Levi Tinker. His passion for automotive repair doesn’t end when he is off the clock.

Technician Jay Howe, Owner Levi Tinker and wife, April
Located at 131 Roosevelt Trail, Levi along with his assistant, Jay Howe (who was also there on vacation), make it their goal to provide for each customer the highest quality in vehicle repairs. But just as importantly, honesty and affordability are first on their list when servicing every car, truck or SUV that drives through the shop’s garage doors.

Whether your vehicle needs a basic oil change, diagnostic service or an engine swap, they have the expertise and talent that comes with years of experience.

Levi’s experience began at an early age beginning as an interest in repairing and building broken down objects since childhood. “I’ve always liked to ‘tinker’ with repairs,” joked Levi. “Even as a kid, I would go to the town dump to see if I could find a bike to fix up. For me, it was so much fun to take a broken bike and get it up and running again. There was a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in that. And there still is.”

With the exception of working at a local video store during high school, Levi has worked in the automotive repair field all of his adult life. “As soon as I graduated from high school, I worked for a couple of well-known local garages in the Portland area as well as a local dealership. Most recently, I worked for a service and repair shop in Gray,” he stated. “I worked nine years as a technician and then was promoted to lead technician and manager for the last two years.”

In the fall of 2016, Levi struck out on his own and purchased the property that is now Tinker Automotive with his wife, April Tinker. Until just recently, she was the bookkeeper while simultaneously working a full-time job. “We’ve grown so much that it has become difficult to keep up with the bookkeeping and work full-time, too,” April said. “So, we have hired a professional to keep the important paperwork for us.”

The business growth of Tinker Automotive has increased so much over the past 2 ½ years that Technician, Jay Howe who is presently a part-time employee, will become full-time after the end of summer. Howe also has many years of experience in not only automotive repair but in customer service as a result of working for other repair shops and owning his own landscaping and snowplowing company.

Levi stated that he believes their honesty, along taking time to explain the repairs needed to customers, is what sets Tinker Automotive apart from the rest. “I will take time to show people what the problem is and do my best to explain in a way they can understand,” began Levi. “Unfortunately, In the automotive repair field, women are often taken advantage of and we are adamant about not doing that. We never up sale anything – we are straightforward and honest.”

He also added that his low hourly rate makes him stand out. “We charge $65 per hour as opposed to the average of $100 per hour,” Levi said. “I have very low overhead, so I pass that on to my customers.”

And speaking of customers, if one peruses Tinker Automotive’s Facebook page, you’ll find many positive reviews.

Highly recommended,” Susie Ciccarelli said. “I heard of Tinker Automotive after receiving many recommendations from friends in the area. Levi was able to take in my car on pretty short notice which I was super grateful for! [The] customer service is top notch and the work was honest and reasonably priced. I do not foresee my husband and I going anywhere else in the future!”

Regarding the cost of repair, Jaimie Pearson had this to say: “Just had my car inspected and work done on it for the sticker and now she drives like a dream! Other places wanted WAY over $1000 but not today! If you're in or around Windham, I highly recommend Tinker Automotive! Fast, friendly and affordable work!”

At Tinker Automotive, they know how important it is to maintain a safe, reliable vehicle, and to provide customers with honest service. FMI or to make an appointment, call 207-318-0342 or check out their Facebook page.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Business Spotlight: Northeast Laboratory Services

https://www.nelabservices.com/default.aspxBy Craig Bailey

Did you know radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America? Erin Bouttenot, Head of Indoor Air Quality at Northeast Laboratory Services (NEL) explained, radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is released from the ground into cracks and drains in our homes. In fact, 1 in 3 homes in Maine have a higher level of radon than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended limit. You cannot see, taste, or smell radon, but it can easily be tested for in your air or water.

In addition, Bouttenot reinforced there is often confusion around commonly used terms like “black mold” and “toxic mold”, neither of which refer to a particular species of mold. Mold can come in many colors and grow in different ways, just like plants. Some fungi grows dark or black in color and may or may not produce toxins. The effects from mold exposure can vary greatly from person to person. Some individuals have an immediate or delayed response from being in a moldy environment, while others have no symptoms at all. The extent of mold sensitivities can also vary, whereas one person may be sensitive to most, or even all molds, another may only be sensitive to a particular type. The range of responses can present as irritation, allergies, asthma or infections.

Another important reality, shared by Zachary Smith, NEL’s Chemistry/Microbiology Laboratory Technical Director, is that water quality can change quickly and without warning. In most cases naturally occurring compounds known to have adverse health risks are tasteless, colorless and odorless. Just because the water looks and tastes fine does not mean it is safe to drink. To identify health risks, a full water test should be performed at least every three to five years on existing wells and a basic safety test should be performed during interim years. Only a laboratory test-preferably by a State of Maine Certified Laboratory-can tell you if the water is truly potable.

As a small locally-owned laboratory, NEL’s mission is to deliver accurate analytical data and superior culture media products to promote healthy home and business environments.

When asked, what sets NEL apart in the industry, Bouttenot shared that they are an accredited, full-service laboratory that is proudly veteran-owned and operated in the State of Maine. Their locations in Westbrook and Winslow provide diverse environmental and microbiological testing as well as mass-production of laboratory media products. Their clients range from private homeowners to large, nationally recognized companies.

As an example of the high-quality service NEL provides, Bouttenot mentioned that every day we receive calls or emails from homeowners worried about various environmental health risks. “We educate the public on guidelines and regulations from governing bodies within and outside the state of Maine. NEL provides a full scope of analyses for personalized testing in specific areas of concern. Our easy-to-use sample collection kits identify otherwise undetectable health hazards. Available sample collection kits include: environmental chemistry, water microbiology, radon in water, radon in air, and surface mold analyses.”

Northeast Laboratory’s analytical reports are tailored towards helping homeowners understand their data versus just having the numbers. For example, the analytical report for their Basic Safety water test provides a side-by-side comparison of results to the EPA limits with a green, yellow or red notation. “This aids our customers in determining steps to move forward. We also provide multiple supplemental materials on sampling and remediation,” stated Bouttenot.

NEL’s friendly, knowledgeable technicians and support team are available to help with any questions, support and laboratory needs. The company tests seven days a week and provide rapid turnaround with immediate reports via fax or email, as well as U.S. postal mail.

Bouttenot emphasized, “It is our ambition to exceed our customer’s expectations while maintaining a safe, welcoming, and professional work environment. Whether you are at the beginning, middle, or end of your testing process, Northeast Laboratory can provide you with the answers you need,” stated Bouttenot.”

Do not hesitate to contact Northeast Laboratory with any questions related to ensuring a healthy home or business environment. NEL knows that every situation is different and values the time spent with customers to ensure each has the tools and information needed to determine steps forward. Even if Northeast Laboratory doesn’t provide a specific service themselves, they are happy to connect you with someone who does.

To learn more visit www.nelabservices.com or call (866) 591-7120. <


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Business Spotlight: Paul’s Boutique Nursery

https://paulsboutiquenursery.com/From a twenty-year fascination and interest in the cannabis plant and its properties, Paul’s Boutique s Boutique family, the company is one of Maine’s leading medical marijuana
Nursery was created by a husband and wife team in 2015. Today, with the commitment of the entire Paul’
caregivers. What started out in a renovated automobile repair shop is now a 4000 square-foot, state of the art grow facility.

While keeping up with its descriptive name, Paul’s Boutique purposefully chooses to keep an
artisanal approach to all its products and services. The company has now expanded to also include a tier 1 non solvent cannabis extraction lab with a food processing license and a retail store front. As plans become a reality the Paul’s Boutique team has seen where hard work and following your dreams can lead.

In the rapidly growing and ever-changing cannabis industry, not only here in Maine but nationwide, the Paul’s Boutique team has proven the future is bright. They are a company that focuses on providing a high level of products and services. By creating a vertically integrated business, with rigid quality standards from seed to sale, Paul’s Boutique has made a major commitment to being on the forefront of the Maine market.

The latest expansion of the business is the opening of a beautiful new store front in Windham. This allows Paul’s Boutique to better serve the medical community of Maine as well as many card-holding out of state visitors who travel Route 302 while vacationing here.

The Paul’s Boutique vision and dream has become a reality with the opening of their new retail storefront. Located in North Windham on Route 302 at Crimson Drive in a highly visible location with ample parking, they are easily accessible. A private consultation room is available
for those who wish to discuss any questions or concerns about cannabis and its uses, especially for those new to the powers of the plant and its many cannabinoids. A warm and inviting check-in area, as well as multiple budtending stations help create a smooth and pleasant shopping
experience, allowing patients a comfortable visit.

The store stocks locally crafted items. Paul’s Boutique has carefully chosen CBD vendors who are local cultivators, extractors, and producers. The store also carries a full array of flowers, concentrates, vape pens and edibles.

Paul’s Boutique apparel will be available as will accessories such as functional glass art and rolling papers. The walls are adorned with in house ‘pot’ography. It is attractively displayed and available for sale to those interested in artwork for their personal use.

Paul’s Boutique has also become deeply involved in the local community, as members of the Chamber of Commerce, and as supporters of community outreach programs such as Riding to the Top, Camp Sunshine, Outdoors Again, Windham Food Pantry, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Maine Game Warden Association. Additionally, the owner was recently appointed to Windham’s Marijuana Task Force for Cannabis Regulation. Paul’s Boutique is proud to have hired local Maine residents for their team, as well as relocating employees from other parts of the US, who with their families are settling into the southern Maine lifestyle and helping grow the local economy.

Paul’s Boutique can be found online at sites such as Google listing and Weedmaps where they have high reviews and ratings. The obvious focus of the Paul’s Boutique Family to a quality small batch product is also being recognized by the cannabis community in the form of several awards. They entered their first cannabis competition in 2017 and medaled in The Secret Cup, as well as winning a couple High Times Cannabis Cups. Their strains are clone only and will not be found elsewhere, in spite of the fact that others may sometimes share a common name.

You are invited to stop in and check out Paul’s Boutique storefront which is located at
8 Crimson Drive in Windham. They are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also visit www.paulsboutiquenursery.com