Friday, October 30, 2020

Business Spotlight: Downeast Energy

In a day and age when personalized attention is often neglected and customers are searching for a
reputable business to turn to for reliable delivery, expertise in all facets of heating systems and the best possible price for heating fuel, Downeast Energy is a leading choice to serve the needs of Windham and Raymond residents. 

Downeast Energy offers superior residential and commercial heating service and fuel and specializes in the delivery of propane and heating oil. As a full-service company, Downeast Energy provides 24/7 emergency service to its customers and sells and installs all types of propane and oil heating and water heating equipment, along with offering generous rebates of up to $1,500 for converting from oil to propane for central heat and hot water.

Consistently rated year in and year out as one of the top business in the state for exceptional customer service and friendly employees, Downeast Energy aims to exceed the expectations of every customer and fulfill their needs in a timely and professional way.

“We want everyone to know that we are here for you. We have been around for many years,” said Chris Blake, Customer Service Center Manager for Downeast Energy. “We have the local feel but the support of a national company that provides us with greater supply and resources allowing for greater peace of mind to the customer.”

Blake said heating your home safely and efficiently is not a concern when customers choose Downeast Energy and he attributes one specific factor among many that distinguishes them from competitors.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to respond to customer’s needs faster and smoother than the competition,” he said. 

Originally known as Brunswick Coal and Lumber, Downeast Energy has been in business for more than 110 years and offers services from Bangor to Dover, New Hampshire and everywhere in between. It has central offices located in Windham, Brunswick, Hallowell and Kennebunk with several other smaller offices located throughout the region.

In Windham, the Downeast Energy office can be found at 34 Manchester Drive, next to Lowe’s.

Blake said Downeast Energy employees place a value on quality work in everything they do and strive to ensure that their customers are satisfied in all aspects of service they receive.

“We have always held ourselves to the highest standards in all that we do, otherwise we wouldn’t have been around for 110-plus years,” Blake said. “We consistently receive positive feedback from our customers.”

Those trying to get the best possible available price for heating oil and propane won’t be discouraged by the competitiveness of Downeast Energy, Blake said.

“We encourage anyone interested in becoming a Downeast customer to call and see what we can offer,” he said. “We’re confident you won’t be disappointed.”

He emphasized that Downeast employees are highly skilled, experienced and stand ready to assist customers seeking a reliable and energy efficient heating system tailored to meet their individual needs and budget.

“All of our Fuel Delivery Drivers and Oil & Propane Service Technicians are fully trained and licensed in the state of Maine,” Blake said. “We service and install products that customers can feel good about. And we are there, 24 hours day on call to lend a hand when needed.”

Licensed installers from Downeast Energy perform all the work no matter if it involves replacing parts, upgrading an old system or creating a new one. Extended warranties are available as are energy efficient furnaces, boilers, water heaters and vented space heaters.

According to Blake, Downeast employees study the latest trends in heating systems and delivery in order to give customers the best experience and service possible.

“In 2021 we will be offering an all-in-one web based app to our customers to order fuel, pay bills and monitor the fuel level in their propane tanks, all at the push of a button,” he said. “We’re very excited about this, stay tuned.”

To learn more about Downeast Energy, visit www.downeastenergy.com or in Windham or Raymond, call 207-892-4806. < 


Friday, October 16, 2020

Business Spotlight: Nicholas Jobin State Farm

In playing college basketball for St. Joseph’s College, Nicholas Jobin quickly learned that success was
always possible if he and his fellow players worked together as a team.

For the past year Jobin has applied that same philosophy in Windham, providing State Farm insurance and financial products for residential and business customers. He’s assembled a skilled team of licensed experts who are knowledgeable in all forms of insurance and financial planning to serve the community.

“We help our clients navigate which options fit their current and future circumstances, follow up semi-annually to make sure their needs are being met, and assist them in the event one of our products is needed,” said Geoff Grigsby, office manager for the agency. “These are often sensitive or emotional occasions, so we do our very best to meet them where they are at. We are not a brokerage, so we exclusively provide State Farm products, which have proven to be the most trusted in the industry.”

Grigsby said Nicholas Jobin State Farm is licensed to sell auto, home, and business insurance, as well as financial products and has customers in every corner of Maine, but its primary focus is the Lakes Region.

“The insurance industry is massive, and massively competitive, but over the last 100 years State Farm has become the largest insurance provider in the United States. One of the primary reasons we have become the most trusted company nationally is because of the strong presence in our communities, and that’s true at the local level as well,” he said. “Our agents volunteer with local organizations, especially around youth sports, donate to local fundraisers, and sponsor events and teams in the Lakes Region. Another difference from many of our competitors is that in the (usually unfortunate) event our insurance products are needed, our customers know who will pick up the phone or answer the door.  They don’t have to call an 800-number, provide an incident number, and speak to a different person every time explaining their situation.  We believe that’s incredibly valuable in stressful times.”

Nicholas Jobin

According to Grigsby, State Farm’s pricing is amongst the most competitive in the industry, although being the lowest priced provider is not their primary goal.  

“We strive to provide the best value in the industry, and achieve that with a strong local presence, high standards of professionalism, and a wide variety of products so our clients’ needs can be met in one trusted location,” he said. “Amazingly, we often find we save our customers significant money over companies with a strictly online presence and far fewer overhead costs.”

He said the underlying principle of Nicholas Jobin State Farm is being responsive to customers and service on their behalf.

“We care and we want to help. Our office is a tight-knit group, and we discuss how important it is to be there for our customers when they need us,” Grigsby said. “The nature of our business is that when people actually use the products that they purchase from us it’s usually not for a good reason. They just got into a car accident, there was water or fire damage to their home, or they lost someone in their immediate family and it’s incredibly important in those moments for us to not only make sure their insurance needs are met, but that we do it with a professionalism, patience, and empathy. We care to do our very best to meet that standard.”

Many customers of Nicholas Jobin State Farm may not be aware that the company offers a variety of life insurance plans, including whole life policies, term life policies and universal life policies and that life insurance is a really an incredibly important part of every family’s financial planning.

“Life insurance is often what pays the mortgage, keeps the lights on, puts food on the table, sends the kids to college, and takes the financial stress off the table when tragedy strikes,” Jobin said. “One of our, if not our most important, duties to our clients is to have an in-depth conversation about life insurance. Planning for that inevitable day not only puts them in a position to live the life you hope for them, but also gives you peace of mind while you’re still here.  In that way it’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

Nicholas Jobin State Farm is at 8 Turning Leaf Drive, Suite 1 in Windham. Call them at 207-572-1009 or visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/my207agent/ <

VIP Tires and Service conducts ribbon-cutting for new Windham location

PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
The owner and founder of VIP Tires and Service, John Quirk, and VIP President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Winkeler, join employees and Windham Store Manager Joshua Martin in a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the grand opening of the new VIP Tires and Service Store at 2 Amato Drive in Windham on Oct. 8. 

The business relocated next door to a renovated 2,600-square-foot former Tim Horton’s site and added a 7,400-square-foot service center to the facility. 

VIP has 60 stores throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts and is now able to service up to 50 vehicles a day at its new location. 

VIP Tires and Service is the largest independently owned automotive aftermarket company in New England and the 14th largest in the United States. 

Founded in 1958, VIP Tires and Service is based in Auburn and the new Windham location features state-of-the-art technology, highly skilled and experienced technicians and a warm and welcoming reception area and a comfortable waiting area for customers. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Nonprofit Spotlight: Move Windham Forward

Now in its second year, Move Windham Forward seeks to provide candidate forums for fall elections.

Maggie Terry, owner of Legal Leaf LLC, and fellow chamber members Jonathan Priest and Heidi Anderson, have been working together to “Move Windham Forward,” giving voice to the thoughts and concerns of the community.  

The organization Move Windham Forward (MWF) is a non-profit, non-partisan group of residents and taxpayers that have come together for what has been identified as common goals and interests of the residents of Windham. The mission as is stated on the website: “We seek to have a better understanding of the issues we face as a community while we contemplate our decisions on leadership, community planning, land use, infrastructure, taxes and technology changes.”

MWF will offer two “meet the candidates” for Town Council and one for the candidates for School Board. Windham residents will have the opportunity to virtually meet, speak to and address concerns with the candidates running for Town Council office and School Board. The purpose of these meetings is to allow residents to get to know the individuals they are voting for so they can make their own personal and well-informed decisions at the local level in November.

Due to the restrictions currently in place on social gatherings, the three meetings will be held virtually via Facebook Live and Zoom.  The School Board candidate meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. The two Town Council candidate meetings will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 and Wednesday, Oct. 21.

“We want to make it clear that Move Windham Forward is a non-partisan organization,” said Priest. “We do not endorse or oppose any candidate running for Town Council or the School Board. We just want to provide the opportunity for residents to ask questions in order to be well informed as they vote in the elections this fall.”

“We also want to eventually hold Town Hall meetings to provide ongoing conversations in a positive way,” Terry said. “This is a future goal we are working on. Right now, we want to focus on our virtual meet and greet gatherings so they can be as successful as possible.”

MWF emphasizes a core set of concerns that include: Unity, Growth, Taxes and Environment.

Briefly, and as stated on their website:

1)      Unity: North Windham. South Windham. East Windham. West Windham. In such a geographically large town made up of a growing, diverse population it is often easy to fall into our divisions and not feel as one. Especially over the last few years. It is important that we remember that mostly - we all agree on more than we disagree on starting with this; we all love Windham.

2)      Growth 1: Everywhere we look something new is being built; a house here, a subdivision there. It all adds up. What brings many people here is the rural feel but, ironically, as they come that rural feel disappears a little more for someone who was already here. What is the answer? Unfortunately, this is not an old question, it has been around for decades - but to date has been without a real solution. Some say stop growth completely, some say have zero regulation and let landowners do as they wish. The answer is somewhere in the middle.

3)      Growth 2: Windham is one of the fastest growing towns in Maine for residential housing but is significantly lacking in commercial development. Commercial development such as retail, service businesses, restaurants, office space, manufacturing and high density residential are the keys to our economic future. This development would benefit our town, by bringing more of a sense of community and a place people want to be, by helping create new revenues to offset the residential tax burden and by encouraging growth in the places we want, instead of the places we don’t want.

4)      Taxes:  We can’t seem to avoid them, but we can certainly have more of a say in how they are spent. The town budget should reflect the needs and goals of the taxpayers, for today and tomorrow.  Our elected officials and town staff should be constantly working to maximize the return on every tax dollar by spending wisely for today and investing smartly for tomorrow.

5)      Environment: Our environment in Windham is our greatest treasure and must be protected. Windham has some of the most beautiful farm space, open space, forests, water bodies and animal habitats; it’s a large part of why many of us chose Windham. These assets need to be protected, especially our lakes, streams and ground waters, many of which are already on state impaired lists. It is in our control and our responsibility to preserve our environment for Windham’s next generations. 

For more information, peruse the Move Windham Forward website at www.movewindhamforward.org 

We are always looking for volunteers and appreciate any financial support as a working non-profit. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Business Spotlight: Robbins Property Services

Brody Robbins, the owner of Robbins Property Services is committed to being a trusted partner for
residents with homes and businesses in Windham and Raymond and providing dependable service that exceeds the expectations of customers.

In business for the past two years, Robbins has watched his business grow by offering superior mowing, mulching, seeding lawns, tree trimming, tree pruning, junk removal, yard and site cleanups, along with snow plowing and sidewalk shoveling in the winter months. His commitment to excellence and making prices competitive is unwavering.

“At Robbins Property Services, our intent is to make every customer feel like they are the most important customer we have and we do that by paying attention to detail and exceeding expectations on each job,” Robbins said.

According to Robbins, reliability, work quality and dedication to customer satisfaction is the cornerstone of Robbins Property Services.

“We are fully licensed and insured and we want the same things everyone else does,” Robbins said. “Our pricing for what we do is extremely competitive, reasonable and fair.  We love to work outside every day and to keep our customers happy.”

A former landscaping foreman for several large landscaping companies, Robbins said he learned a great deal about how to successfully operate a business and dreamed of an opportunity to launch his own company before striking out on his own in 2018. Now he employs a staff of four and Robbins Property Services is rapidly cementing a reputation for honesty and impeccable work.

He said as the word has gotten out about his business, he continues to find customers who may not be aware of the extent of landscaping services that Robbins Property Services  offers to the community.

“Everyone typically thinks we just mow lawns,” Robbins said. “But when they discover we can help them in so many other ways, they ask why we didn’t let them know about those other services much sooner.”

For example, Robbins makes his own mulch and can deliver and place it where it’s needed so customers don’t have to make a trip to a box store and do-it-themselves. They also offer an environmentally friendly and carefully blended mixture of salt and sand to help protect driveways and sidewalks during the harshest of winter conditions.

The company also features an array of great deals and discounted costs, such as making available to the public a 14-yard roll off all-inclusive dumpster for up to five days that holds 1.5 tons of waste or trash.

Right now, Robbins and his crew are getting ready to perform fall cleanups and preparing lawns and yards for winter. The company also is lining up customers for winter plowing services.  

Robbins Property Services offers free estimates and are available to work throughout the Sebago Lake Region.

“I founded this company to deliver quality services with the knowledge and experience needed for this community,” Robbins said. “We do what we say we will. And we can be counted upon to get the job done, no matter how tough it may appear to be.”

For more information about Robbins Property Services, call 207-787-1469 or visit them online at https://robbinsps.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/robbinspropertyservices/ <