Friday, July 12, 2019

Business Spotlight: Northeast Laboratory Services 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 or call (866) 591-7120. <

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Business Spotlight: Paul’s Boutique Nursery 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

Friday, June 28, 2019

Business Spotlight: The Sebago Center’s ‘From Our Roots’ Summer Event Series at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine Lorraine Glowczak

Whether you are a year-round resident or a visitor who is vacationing in the Sebago Lakes Region for the first time, summer in Maine is a perfect place for creating memories with family and friends. 

Whether your preference is music performed at outdoor lakeside venues, a family-style cookout with yard games, a moonlight kayaking adventure or enjoying locally grown foods made by culinary artists and served in a six-course fashion, The Sebago Center at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is for you. The center and its ‘From Our Roots’ initiative will provide remarkable summer opportunities to help you create fond memories that will last for a lifetime.

Briefly, The Sebago Center is a learning destination located on the campus of Saint Joseph’s College, 278 Whites Bridge Road in Standish that sits on Maine’s second-largest lake, Sebago Lake. 

“The purpose of The Sebago Center and its ‘From Our Roots’ summer event series is to gather the community together with the intention of strengthening the local food systems – all the while supporting the regional talents of culinary artists and musicians” stated Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Saint Joseph’s College, Peter Nielsen. “One way we accomplish this is hosting a series of summer events, using the many resources available on the Saint Joseph’s College campus.”

The following are social and enriching activities scheduled throughout the summer:

Outdoor Concerts:
A variety of American roots musicians will make their appearance on campus this summer. The evenings will include farm-inspired, pizza handcrafted with ingredients grown and raised by local farmers, as well as a selection of craft and domestic beer and wine – all with the intention of providing an intimate concert and food experience. With the exception of the first and last concerts, performances will take place outside at the Normandy-style Stone Barn every Sunday beginning July 7 with the last performance on August 25. Start times are 4:30 p.m. The first concert performed by The Ballroom Thieves and the last concert performed by Muddy Ruckus will be located on the campus’s lakeside beach.  FMI and to purchase tickets:

Whether it's an outdoor cookout, a concert, a moonlight paddle
 or an elegant dining experience - the 'From Our Roots"
series at Saint Joseph's College will provide summer fun
for everyone in the Lakes Region area.
‘From Our Roots’ will also offer weekly backyard barbecues at the Stone Barn, farm-to-table, style. The cookouts will be prepared outdoors with live action fire cooking using foods foraged nearby and sourced from Lakes Region farms. Picnic tables will be available, but one can bring their own blanket to have a full picnic-style experience. Lawn games are available for both adults and children, providing a perfect experience for the whole family. “As a mother with three young children, I get to have a relaxed and laid-back meal with my husband while our kids run and play with others,” stated Senior Director of Customer Experience, Ashley O’Brion. “The cookouts are a great way for parents to have a hassle-free dinner in an easy-going atmosphere. It is also a way to meet other young families in the community, too. I have already met a few people while our children played lawn games together.” The cookouts are offered every Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the food is purchased at the event a la carte. FMI:

Stone Barn Dinners:
For a more elegant culinary experience, ‘From Our Roots’ will offer a six-course farm-to-table meal that will include the season’s local harvest. Esteemed Chef, Mary Paine will craft a meal with her finds from local farmers and fishermen. The sustainably sourced foods will be served fresh with wine, providing an opportunity to connect with local farmers who are shaping the local food movement. The dinners are offered on Thursdays beginning a 6 p.m. FMI on costs, reservations and dates:

Lake Side Experiences:
For those who enjoy kayaking on the lake under the night sky, ‘From Our Roots’ will offer guided moonlight paddles. The event will begin an hour before sunset with a campfire on the beach as experienced guides prepare participants for the adventure. Kayaks will be provided.
If being on the water is not your thing but you appreciate astronomy, a stargazing opportunity awaits. Led by faculty astronomer, Dr. Ryan Dorland, guests of all ages will enjoy looking through telescopes set up along the shore of Sebago Lake as Dr Dorland shares his knowledge of the night sky. FMI:

The Sebago Center and the ‘From Our Roots’ initiative along with the activities it offers, acts as the cultural intersection of Portland’s urban population hub and western Maine’s rural communities. “Without having to travel to Portland or Boston, a fun cultural experience is right here in our own backyard,” O’Brion said. “Saint Joseph’s offers so much in the areas of local food systems, culinary art, music and nature. These shared values and enriching experiences are what bring a community together.”

Let the Sebago Center’s ‘From Our Roots’ series events create summer memories for your family and friends, while at the same time, making a new friend or two in the process.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Business Spotlight: Pawsitive Canine Care and Training, LLC Lorraine Glowczak

Although there are an abundance of doggie day cares in our midst who provide attention for our lovable pooches as we go about our busy work schedules, Pawsitive Canine Care and Training at 301 Roosevelt Trail in Windham is a step above the rest. How?

“There are no official certifications or regulations in Maine in regard to dog training and care,” stated KT Benard, who co-owns Pawsitive Canine with her husband Jon. KT is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT - KA). “To be certified takes about 500 hours of training and study as well as a four-hour intensive examination process that is difficult to pass.”

Not only does KT hold herself accountable, nurturing the four-legged among us - but her employees are also either certified or are working toward their certification through internships, providing the same meticulous care.

“Since there is a lack of regulation, we want to become a dog training facility, offering internship opportunities for those who wish to become certified in dog care,” KT said. “We provide opportunities for our staff to attend seminars and work closely with local veterinarians when medical intervention is necessary. Our staff is CPR trained and we have veterinary assistants on board with us. All of this, in turn, provides the ultimate and individualized care for the dogs who stay with us.”

Pawsitive Canine Care and Training’s “cut above the rest” proficiency doesn’t end there. Not only is certification the key to their success, but hands-on knowledge and compassion play an important role, too. In addition to being certified, KT, Jon and employees also have long-term experiences with animal care.

For KT, her experiences began at the age of 18 when she worked at a dog daycare center. “From that center, I adopted a pit bull,” she began. “I named her Diamond and she provided the greatest training possible for my future career. In fact, she is the motivating force in creating Pawsitive Canine Care and Training.”
Owners KT and Jon Benard with their family

Although her calling in life was dog care, KT became a behavioral health care specialist working with homeless youth for the State of Maine. “As part of their personal recovery process, I was steering the children to work with dogs in shelters. It dawned on me after a while, that I was actually steering myself in that direction.”

She left the field of young adult behavioral health and moved toward her vocation, assisting with dog adoption and behavioral training, working at various dog care centers, pet shops, shelters and veterinarian hospitals in the greater Portland area.

Jon, who is also trained as a behavioral health care specialist, had passion toward working with dogs, too. Due to Jon and KT’s mutual inclination for dog care, their paths crossed, and they began working together in business and …in life, eventually getting married. And thus, their dream of working together caring for dogs began.

Pawsitive Canine offers a variety of services from your typical doggie daycare and training options to more complicated behavioral health assistance. One of the most challenging, and yet endearing, stories include that of Walt “Walty” Whitman, a canaan – which is a very ancient breed from the Middle East. Molly Chancey and her husband, Michael, of Portland explain how KT and Jon prevented Walty from a death sentence.

“I credit KT and Jon with saving Walty’s life,” Molly began. “He was a sick, starving, traumatized puppy when my daughter rescued him from a war refugee zone in Amman, Jordan. She brought him to us when he was six months old. We love dogs, but after a while we were ready to give up. Walty was aggressive, fearful, and unpredictable. KT was recommended to us, and she worked with us to transform the situation. I am thrilled they have opened their business. They have made it possible for us to start healing this sweet dog’s life!  I can never thank them enough.”

KT and Jon’s level of knowledge, caring and commitment to a dog’s life and that of their owners is impeccable. In just six months’ time after opening their doors in December, the Benard’s business has grown rapidly. They, along with certified trainer, Mim Coward (CPDT-KA) currently offer a variety of training services to include but are not limited to: Puppy Socialization and Manners, The Adolescent Dog, Family Dog and Adult Manners, Shy Dog Training and much, much more. For more information, call 207-893-8676, email at or peruse their website at

If Walty’s story still does not convince you, perhaps Kate DiBiase, whose three dogs enjoy time spent at Pawsitive Canine, will: “We never have to worry if our babies are being taken care of. We drop them off in the morning and can go about our day. Everyone is super friendly and helpful, consistently going above and beyond. We always look forward to the end of the day, when we receive the report card- with pictures of them playing, notes of what they did, and who they played with. We are so grateful to have Pawsitive Canine in our lives.” 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Business spotlight: Shamos Paving and Sealcoating the business world, a company’s growth is not only a sign of success but indicates quality work
that is trusted by the community at large. Shamos Paving and Sealcoating has done just that, creating a reliable name for itself in the sealcoating industry – and now - in the paving business as well, providing both services to residential and commercial clients.

Andy Shamos first began his sealcoating company when he was only 18 years old. It was his summer job and he was able to make it successful through his college years. Shamos was a special education teacher for five years, doing sealcoating during the summer until 2011, when he moved the company to fulltime.

“I enjoy it. I liked growing it, so I stuck with it,” Shamos said. Shamos Paving and Sealcoating now has 12 employees, the most they have had, which includes a fulltime office manager and a fulltime estimator. And – they are still hiring!

His crews not only work on patching, sealing, crack filling and line striping anything from a small path to a 100,000 square foot commercial parking lot but also provide pavement services as well.
Last year, we added paving to our list of options,” explained Shamos. “Not only did I have the vision to expand my services to include paving, but it was often requested by many of our clients so it seemed like the perfect time to move forward.”

Providing meticulous customer service is their key to success. “One thing that we pride ourselves on is our attention to detail - from the first phone call, right up to the completed project - we focus on the big things, and the little things,” stated Office Manager, Katie Sherman. “When it comes to sealcoating a driveway, or repairing a parking lot, or installing a new driveway - the details are what matter the most, and we work really hard to ensure our customers are satisfied with our work. We’ll be carrying over that same attention to detail, and satisfied customer mentality, to our paving side of the company, too.”

Shamos is a value to the community and a benefit for the individual families from a convenience factor. If the homeowner doesn’t have the time or skills to do the sealing, they can rely on us while they go do something they enjoy like head to the beach or go play a game of golf. “You can hire us to come take care of it,” Shamos said. “The homeowner doesn’t have to worry about anything.”
Whether one is a sealcoating customer or a paving client, satisfaction is guaranteed.

"In my 20s, I sealed close to 500 driveways with a large outfit, and can recognize a quality job,” stated a sealcoating client, Jeremy T. “These guys were spot on with the prep and detail work around the house, steps, doors, and walkways. The transition lines from hand to spray were great and the fine work around the concrete was perfect. The modern estimation, quote, invoice system was top notch. Really happy with the work and the price.”

Owner, Andy Shamos
The same high quality work is admired by the following paving customer. “"Amazing work,” stated Karen W. “From the first phone call to the estimate at our home to the finale of the stakes out across the end of our driveway today, this was a very good experience. All the crew was friendly and very reliable. So respectful and professional, I cannot thank them enough for their work. Highly recommended.”

Shamos Paving and Sealcoating uses a commercial grade sealer and provides high quality paving products with precision. If a client is looking for a professional who is insured, Shamos fits that bill. “It’s important to have good people around to take care of the clients,” he said. Because of that, he takes care of his employees with health insurance.

 “Call us if you’re looking to get the best service for the best price. When comparing apples to apples, we do more for your dollar,” he said. Shamos Paving and Sealcoating warranties their work for a year for any defects of sealcoating. “We stand by our work.” They did over 900 jobs last summer and still remained detailed oriented, providing the type of service people trust.  In Maine, these values mean something, he said. “If you want quick and cheap, you aren’t our customers.”

For more information or to receive a free estimate, call 1-800-DRIVEWAY, visit or call 207-749-7058.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Business Spotlight: School Street Pub and Grill Lorraine Glowczak

Known as the pub with a twist, School Street Pub and Grill located at 29 School Street in Gorham lives up to its motto. On the surface, it may appear to serve the typical pub fare, but unlike most pub and grills, the menu not only contains signature food options – much of the choices are made to order and from scratch.   
Owner, Matt Troiano takes pride in their high-quality and reasonably priced menu options. “Everything is made from scratch here,” he began. “For example, the breading on our chicken tenders is made right here in the kitchen. They do not come frozen with breading already on them to be thrown quickly in the fryer. We pride ourselves to take the time to do it right.”

This family-friendly pub and grill is in the center of the quaint and quiet town of Gorham. Into its third year as the town’s go to pub, Troiano became owner approximately eight months ago. “I’ve been here since School Street Pub opened its door,” Troiano said. “I was the bar manager and when the previous owner was ready to sell, he approached me – and I couldn’t refuse.”

Troiano, who is originally from New York, has been in the hospitality business since his college years. He attended Champlain College in Burlington, VT and while working on his degree in pre-law, he worked his way through college by being employed at various restaurants.

In 2010, Troiano moved to Portland and continued working in the hospitality industry, working his way up to manager positions. When School Street Pub was available for purchase, he was ready to take the next step.

Owner, Matt Troiano
Part of that next step is to make School Street Pub and Grill the best it can be. The pub is already a local favorite for many reasons. Molly Adams who frequents the pub on a regular basis stated that it not only offers a family-friendly dining experience, but it is also the perfect place to meet friends for an adult beverage, conversation and laughter. “The cooks always make sure the food is consistent while the bartenders keep a close eye on whether a customer is ready for a drink refill.”

Although a local family-friendly pub favorite, Troiano would like to see more people from out of town enjoy everything they have to offer. It’s starting to happen. “I received a review online from a Portland couple who visited us recently,” Troiano began. “The review stated that it was not only nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of downtown Portland but that they had enjoyed the atmosphere and the food, too – which was of the same quality they would find in Portland. The 20-minute drive was worth it, they said in the review.”

With menu options from pan roasted shrimp and scallops with wilted greens and garlic mashed potatoes and pan-seared steak tips prepared as ordered to chicken wings, poutine, mussels, deep-friend Brussel sprouts and pub nachos, - all made with fresh ingredients and from scratch - everyone’s preferences can be met.

“We also have a few vegetarian options,” Troiano said. “A favorite is the ‘Beyond’ burger. I have to convince people that it is vegetarian because it is so hardy.” As the menu states, the “Beyond” burger is “certified vegan, no soy, no gluten, no GMO – no joke!”

And there’s more. “They offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights with no cover charge so if you feel like dancing, this is a fun locale to do so,” Adams said. Plus, there is music bingo on Wednesday nights, pub trivia on Tuesday nights and on the second Saturday of every month is comedy night.

Last but not least, a pub is not a pub without adult beverage options. School Street Pub and Grill offers 16 local and domestic brews on tap as well as the usual variety of liquor options with one popular signature drink that has become the local favorite – the Dirty Pickle Martini – made with the brine from the house made pickles – no preservatives and no food coloring.

Whether you live in Portland, Windham, Raymond or other Lake Region communities, be sure to check out this local favorite destination in the quiet town of Gorham. The drive will be worth it as you experience the pub with a twist.

Hours for the School Street Pub and Grill are Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, peruse their website at call at 207-222-8090.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Business Spotlight: Delano Architecture Lorraine Glowczak

It may be true that most architectural firms combine engineering, science and technology to design homes and commercial spaces - but at Delano Architecture, the “art of space” has become their mission of how they think differently about creating custom designed buildings.  

“When people dream about building a home, they often start by thinking of a particular style,” began Delano. “But we think of the process very differently. We love the diverse landscape of Maine, so we look first at it to inspire us.” 

Delano studies the entire property for unique features, such as the trees, topography, the quality of sunlight, any distant views, or special places on the property. “We are listeners first before we begin any design,” stated Delano. “We find out what is important to our clients, both in the present and for the future.” 

Surprisingly, Delano works out the living spaces first.  “Our top priority is creating beautiful spaces for people that connect seamlessly with nature. The interiors come first, then the outside forms - this surprises many people.” 

Delano’s passion for art and architecture began in high school while taking art classes. “My art teacher told me directly, ‘Chris, you are going to be an architect.’  I think I already knew it, but having a mentor be so direct, gave me the clear confidence to go ‘all in’ with it.

Delano, who is originally from upstate New York, received his Bachelor of Arts in architecture from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and a Master of Architecture at the University of Washington in Seattle. After living in Maryland and North Carolina, Delano and his wife moved to Maine in 2002, making Windham their permanent home in 2003 with their three children. “I had developed a fondness for Maine as a child by vacationing every year near Castine with my grandparents and family,” he stated. “I was an early riser then and used to spend hours walking the rocks along Penobscot Bay and in the woods before my parents woke up. The stillness and quality of light in the early morning is something I still can’t get enough of.  I bring those memories into every home we design.” 

Since his time here, Delano Architecture’s highly-regarded reputation has grown substantially, designing homes, waterfront and hospitality projects in many parts of the state, winning a citation award from AIA (American Institute of Architects) with feature articles in the Portland Press Herald and Maine Home and Design magazine for the design of a new house in Gorham and the recently completed, Roots CafĂ© in Westbrook.

Chris Delano
Delano begins the process with his clients by pulling together a ‘wish list’ of their goals and ideas, and adding in photos of spaces and materials—things they like from all areas of their life.  They use these images, ideas, and a realistic budget to establish a course and to give them direction in the design process. They use this information and start with the big ideas first, layering in more detail as the clients see success. “We are very visual,” stated Delano. “We bring in all kinds of drawings and models to both generate and present ideas. We place these in the center of the table with our clients and then talk about them, the good and bad, where they come from, and why they matter. It moves forward and back like this until we hit all our targets.”

‘We are passionate about buildings’ the website states.  Truth be told, Delano is passionate about many things—people, nature, science, art, cities, mountaintops…  For them, buildings are the way of engaging with these things.  “They are the touch-points for our relationships, activities and the natural world,” Delano said.  “Regrettably, I think many homes miss this potential.”   

One local client, Steve and Pam Rich, speaks highly of the Delano process. “Chris was able to take our thoughts and ideas to create the home of our dreams. … we can’t thank him enough.” 

If you are considering a new home, renovation, or business and wish to incorporate the “art of space” into the process, Delano Architecture can meet all your needs – as well as respecting Maine’s natural beauty. For more information, contact Chris Delano at 207-892-1643, or peruse the website at Also be sure to follow him on Instagram.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Business Spotlight: The Sebago Center

By Lorraine Glowczak

There are a lot of innovative and fresh ideas happening these days at Saint Joseph’s College— all with the intention of strengthening community. Diversifying the student body and becoming a 21st century exemplary learning center are key goals of the 107-year old institution. The latest transformation taking place and officially launching today, Friday May 24 is the The Sebago Center.

“The Sebago Center functions as an extension of Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and is the latest expression of the college’s long-standing commitment to community, one of our seven core values,” stated Jim Dlugos, President of the College.

As stated on its website—— The Sebago Center grew from the strategic vision of Saint Joseph’s College of Maine to seek the highest and best use of its resources, core competencies, and legacy to provide new learning opportunities for a changing society, support the growth of Maine’s emerging economies, and create sustainable enterprises as models for replication and scale.

“By working with leaders in industry, education, non-profits, municipalities, federal and state government, and other cross-sector alliances, the Center is able to synthesize global and local initiatives and leverage the resources of the College to make the greatest contribution to broadly shared goals,” said Peter Nielsen, Executive Director & Entrepreneur-in-Residence.  “Together with our valued partners, we seek to apply ourselves and commit our resources to the advancement of a sustainable environmental, economic, and social ecosystem.”

Sustainability in a changing society is one of the motivating forces for establishing The Sebago Center. Nielsen explained that resilience in a transforming economy, shifting population, and changing climate is necessary to community success. One path to success is by taking advantage of the resources already available on campus. “The campus and its infrastructure will be complemented by new programming in the Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation, Institute for Integrative Aging, and the Institute for Sustainable Hospitality,” Nielsen began. “By combining these efforts along with partners in the community, The Sebago Center will act as an innovation hub for a resilient Lakes Region in a changing and often unpredictable world.”

Nielsen further explained how the Center will achieve their goals by addressing the needs of an ever-changing society. The Sebago Center’s three visions to success include the following:

To create learning opportunities not only for students on campus but for life-long learners. “The opportunities for learning are not necessarily for credit. We will provide a broad scope of learning experiences that are for skill building and career development,” Nielsen stated. “For example, we are developing curriculum for hydroponic farming, senior fitness training, and aging in place home design.”

To help meet and address the needs of the state’s emerging economy by providing tools for economic development. One avenue to address and meet these needs is through the growth of an entrepreneurial hub and culture that will provide a community of support, skill development, and resources for startups in the food, hospitality, and longevity economies. By gathering people with varied skills and interests, but all with the common goal of innovation and enterprise, we will build an environment that generates new business and regional growth.

To create a more sustainable institution. It is no secret that higher education in America must evolve to meet the demands of a shifting population and economic pressures. Colleges across the nation—particularly rural colleges—must find innovative ways to heighten their social and economic impact, and the Sebago Center will be a vehicle for Saint Joseph’s to do this work.

Perhaps more importantly is how this positively affects the lives of those who have a long history of living in the Lakes Region area. Ashley O’Brion of Raymond, Senior Director of Customer Experience at The Sebago Center stated that she came on board because she valued the center’s mission and its contribution to her family’s future.

“The mission of The Sebago Center is the reason I am here,” O’Brion began. “Yes, I am here as professional in my field, but I’m also passionately motivated to be a part of The Sebago Center on a personal level. As a mother who wants her three children to grow up in a sustainable and successful community and who has a husband with roots in the Sebago Region, I want to be a part of making our community vibrant and thriving for all the families in the Lakes Region.”

For more information about the organization and its schedule of community events occurring this summer, peruse their new website at <

Friday, May 17, 2019

Business Spotlight: Raymond Car Wash and Detailing

 Click to email
Click to email or schedule your appt.
By Lorraine Glowczak

Raymond Car Wash has been a trusted Lakes Region business with happy and steadfast customers from the greater Raymond area, as well as to summer visitors, for the past 16 years.

And now - as a result of the many requests by area patrons, Raymond Car Wash has recently incorporated an additional service. “We have been asked for a long time to add detailing services to the car wash,” stated Owner, Drew Taylor. “So, last spring I decided to accommodate those requests and now offer express detailing and complete detailing packages for most vehicles including boats. We are now in our second year and are already taking appointments for two weeks out.”

Being a full-time entrepreneur who owns the building and storage units next door to the car wash, Taylor, married and a father of two, also keeps busy as the owner of Kingsley Pines Camp. Knowing that his schedule would not allow his own personal touch to detailing on a daily basis, he sought out another local entrepreneur who knows the importance of customer service and satisfaction to manage the demand for service.

Melissa Duchesneau, Raymond Car Wash and Detailing Manager is a Maine girl who works hard at making sure customers drive away happy – and are proud owners of their “like new,” clean vehicles once they leave the lot. She began managing last spring after taking courses on detailing and working at other shops to gain experience and expertise.

“I tend to be very meticulous,” stated Duchesneau, who also owns MidRidge Farm in Casco with her husband. “Owning my own business, I can’t help but bring the level of detail and customer satisfaction from that area of my life to this business as well.”

Melissa Dechesneau, manager and
Drew Taylor, owner
This is what makes Raymond Car Wash and Detailing stand out – the quality of service they provide as well as the care and personal touch they add to each vehicle that comes through their detailing doors. “We are not in the business of rushing a vehicle in and out,” Taylor stated. “We often like to have the vehicle come to the location prior to the appointment so we can take a close look at all the areas of concern. Each vehicle is unique, and each requires different attention. By examining the vehicle prior to detail cleaning, we are able to set the right expectation and the customer can then leave with that expectation met and be ecstatic with the service we have provided.”

This type of quality relationship with the customer is their driving force to success. Paul Druchniak became a detailing customer last year and has had three vehicles and a boat detailed at Raymond Car Wash and Detailing. “I tried most of the detailers in the area and Raymond Car Wash is by far the best!”

Nina Kamman concurred with Druchniak’s assessment. “Melissa met and exceeded my expectations,” Kamman said. “Close attention to detail was very evident. I would highly recommend Raymond Car Wash.”

Below is just a small list of the various detailing options one can obtain at Raymond Car Wash and Detailing:

Express detail includes wash, wax and vacuum. The vehicle will be washed and scrubbed with an express wax and protectant on the exteriors. This service also includes window cleaning (both inside and out) as well as interior vacuuming, dash wipe down and cleaned tires. This service begins at $99.
Other options include a complete exterior detail, complete inside and out reconditioning and complete interior detail. Theses services begin at $139.

When asked what the most difficult cleaning service they offer was, there was an emphatic, “Tree sap removal,” from both Taylor and Duchesneau. How do they successfully remove tree sap? “It’s a secret,” joked Taylor. “We can’t give away our secrets.”

Duchesneau also stated that dog hair removal is a close second to sap removal in terms of difficulty.

For a spotlessly cleaned vehicle or boat – and personalized service to boot, contact Taylor or Duchesneau by email at or by phone at 207-655-4643 to make an appointment. Detailing services are offered from May through October, weather permitting. Hours are 9 to 5 on Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays. The self-serve wash remains open 24/7 year-round.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Business Spotlight: Sara’s Sewing and Creation, LLC Lorraine Glowczak

It’s a professional talent that is slowly diminishing as a much-needed trade that is difficult to be found, but there is one local and gifted person who is bringing it back to life. Seamstress extraordinaire, Sara Bruce of Sara’s Sewing and Creation, LLC has taken her long-time hobby of stitching, needlework, sewing repair and embroidery and created a business right here in the Lakes Region.

“I learned how to sew over 30 years ago in Home Economics class by a teacher who wasn’t a fan of cooking,” Sara stated. “I wanted to learn how to cook but instead, I inherited her passion for sewing, and I have made it a part of my life ever since.”

In February of this year Sara took the leap from her hobby/home business and opened a sewing studio located at 57 Tandberg Trail in Windham. Whether it is replacing a zipper, mending a shirt, wedding, or formal dress, Sara can do it all. “I also love to make bags, pillows, curtains and machine embroidery,” she explained. “I make and sell these items but can also do special requests and custom-made pieces.”

It all started when people realized she enjoyed sewing. “People started asking me to do projects for them that they either didn’t know how to do or simply couldn’t find the time,” Sara stated. “It got to the point that I realized I could make a business out of it. When my daughter went to college, I realized I wanted to take the next step and have a real studio and business.”

In only three months since she’s opened shop, her business is booming. “I’ve been a bit busy lately with altering prom dresses” she said. “I’m so happy that it has been successful so quickly. I also have some wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses that I will be working on next but am always looking for more ways to help with many sewing needs.”

There are many local customers who have found Sara’s techniques and talent to be among the most professional and would highly recommend her services. Jonathan Priest, a Windham Insurance specialist with MetLife whose success is reliant, in part, on a professional looking appearance has used Sara’s Sewing and Creation to his advantage. “Sara has hemmed many of his wife’s skirts and has repaired seams for me,” began Priest. “She has done so in a timely manner and in the style of an expert. In fact, when I bring my items home, my wife is always taken aback because it is as if they came directly from the factory itself. Sara is super approachable and really nice. I highly recommend her and her sewing services.”

Connie Ayotte is another customer who raves about Sara’s expertise. “I am a dance mom and Sara has altered a dozen or more costumes for me,” Ayotte stated. “She is amazing and fast – with a quick turnaround. It always comes back to me perfectly. I highly recommend Sara because she is experienced and knows how to fix the most difficult situations – always thinking outside the box to solve a problem. And just as important – she is local!”

Sara’s talents do not end here. She also teaches sewing at the Fiddlehead Art and Science Center in Gray in their afterschool enrichment program. “I also am looking into teaching adult sewing classes at the local Adult Education Centers in the near future,” Sara stated.

Sara is originally from the Madison, Maine area, graduating from Carrabec High School. Upon graduation, she attended Beal College in Bangor and gained an Associates Degree in Office Management. “Then we moved to Windham and I received my Business Degree at Saint Joseph’s College,” Sara explained. “I’m now putting what I learned as a business major into action with something I love to do.”

For any sewing project or custom-made items you may have, Sara Bruce of Sara’s Sewing and Creation, LLC is at your service. You can follow her on Facebook, give her a call at 207-415-1511 or email her at Services are by appointment only. Her website is now under construction and will be up and running soon.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Business Spotlight: Brook Trout Electric

By Lorraine Glowczak

Whether it is as simple as replacing or adding an outlet or a more complicated and time-consuming
project as rebuilding old wiring in your home, working with electricity is dangerous and requires the work of a Master Electrician.

Ben Emmons, co-owner of Brook Trout Electric of Windham, a third generation Master Electrician
who has been working in the field of electricity with his grandfather and father since he was 15 years old, has opened his own shop. “The only time I took a break from working with my family was when I joined the Army in 2003,” Ben said.

Ben and his wife, Simone who co-owns the business, also joined the Army and are both 2002 Windham High School graduates. Ironically, it wasn’t until Ben returned from tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and who was stationed for a time in Vicenza, Italy that the husband and wife team met for the first time at Pat’s Pizza in Windham.

Upon his return, the veterans married, and Ben continued working in the electrical business while obtaining his Master License. Four years ago, Ben and Simone, set out into the world of family and locally-owned entrepreneurship, starting Brook Trout Electric to meet the needs of the community and surrounding areas. “There are very few certified electricians out there,” explained Ben. “And those who are in the business now will soon be retiring. So, we felt like now was time to follow in my grandfather’s and father’s footsteps.”

Afterall, how many of us can - or want - to do without electricity? Ben is certified and offers the following services:

*New and rebuilt home wiring.
*Repair electrical damage caused by rodents.
*Upgrading electric outlets, etc.
*Installing solar panels.
*Connecting generators.
*Adding pole lights in both residential and commercial properties.
*Connecting heat pumps.
*Install electric car hooks up at home or the office.
*Swapping the house or office over to LED, providing energy audit rebates.

And, this is just the beginning of the many services available which includes going above and beyond what is expected. Learning from his ancestors, Ben knows the importance of giving it your all to the customer. What makes Ben and Brook Trout Electric standout? Besides having the owner of the company enter your home and providing superb quality work with honesty to boot, he gives where most companies do not give. “I do my best to be available at all times of the day,” began Ben. “I am flexible with my schedule and my extended hours sets us apart from most companies,”

Simone, who is the office manager extraordinaire, laughed and quickly added, “If you call him while he’s fishing on a weekend day and spending a moment with his family, he will be there for you – but he has to reel that big fish in first.” Although they both laugh, family is important to them. Simone and Ben have two children – a one-year old son and a three-year old daughter. It is their goal to create a successful and well-trusted business their children will be proud of and who might wish to be owners of Brook Trout Electric someday - thus creating a fourth generation of electrical professionals.
Ben Emmons (with a brook trout in the background).

Although only four years into their business as Brook Trout Electric, they have received many accolades. Rick Damon of Windham stated that “Ben is professional, reliable and is reasonable with the cost of his services. Mel Greenier, Commander of American Legion’s Field Allen Post 148 in Windham concurred with Damon, stating that “Ben is exceptional and capable of all things electrical.

In his over 20 years of experience, Ben has many stories to share regarding those who believe they can do electrical work on their own. “Safety really should come first,” Ben stated. “Many people think there isn’t much to doing small electrical repairs or installing a generator safely. But if you are not careful, you could not only cause a house fire or death in your own family – but if one forgets to turn off the main circuit when using a generator, it can back feed and cause the death of a CMP [Central Maine Power] linesman.”

Put safety in the hands of Ben, Simone and the locally, veteran-owned Brook Trout Electric where pride in work well-done is first and foremost. To have Ben give you a free quote or for more information about availability and rates on any electrical services, call Ben at 207-807-9282 or email him at For more information, be sure to peruse their Facebook page and their website at