Friday, April 16, 2021

Business Spotlight: Alternative Essence

 The dream of helping others alleviate chronic pain and suffering through offering quality medical cannabis products has become a reality for employees of Alternative Essence in Windham.

Greg Veshinfsky helped opened the business for owner Andrew Keeley in November 2020 at 839 Roosevelt Trail in Windham next to Pratt Abbott and employs a staff of seven. Alternative Essence specializes in offering premium cannabis products at affordable pricing on site along with a user-friendly online ordering system and website. 

“The best thing about what we do here is helping patients and giving them more knowledge when they need something for specific pain,” Veshinfsky said. “It’s gratifying to help find the right dose for them.”  

In an ever-changing cannabis landscape, Veshinfsky says his greatest challenge in operating Alternative Essence is finding the right high-end products for the store.

“Our quality of products and price points distinguish us from our competitors,” he said. “We offer very competitive pricing on all our products and we like to carry products with different price points for different budgets.”

Medical marijuana is a plant-derived medicine obtained from Canabius sativa or Cannabis indica plants and contains three major active compounds including THC, CBD and CBN.

It is frequently used by patients dealing with pain; nausea, muscle spasms; anxiety; multiple sclerosis; low appetite; sleep disorders, autism; epilepsy and other ailments. Research has shown that the health benefits from the use of medical marijuana include pain relief and overcoming nausea commonly associated with chemotherapy cancer treatment and anorexia.

Benefits of medical cannabis include improve immune function, emotional and mood regulation, neuroplasticity, better vascular health and digestive function. Researchers at the American Academy of Neurology have also found that medical marijuana in the form of pills, edibles or oral sprays seem to reduce stiffness and muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis and stimulate appetites among HIV/AIDS patients and others who have a suppressed appetite due to a medical condition or treatment.

Medical marijuana has also been used through the years as a treatment for glaucoma, which is an elevated pressure in the eyeball that can lead to blindness. Products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, have been shown to offer therapeutic benefits, but don't leave people feeling high.

Researchers have found that medical marijuana can be used successfully to lessen tremors experienced by those suffering from Parkinson’s disease and for those with fibromyalgia, endometriosis, internal cystitis and many other debilitating conditions where the common denominator is chronic pain and suffering.

According to Veshinfsky, Alternative Essence has a strong customer following in the Lakes Region and also in the greater Portland area, as it used to have a store in South Portland.

“We are available seven days a week for all of our patients’ needs with a smile on our faces, even under the masks,” Veshinfsky said. “Our quality and prices speak for themselves.”

He said he places a strong emphasis on customer service and being attentive and listening to all customers. 

“We are compassionate, knowledgeable about the products we offer,” Veshinfsky said. “Visitors to Alternative Essence will find smiling and helpful employees, and a clean store with many different choices and quality options.”      

The business is registered as a caregiver in the state of Maine and all Alternative Essence employees are classified as assistant caregivers.

“We strive to be the front runners in all cannabis-related products,” Veshinfsky said. “Our extraction team at Xtracted Labs is top notch and is always coming up with the best products possible.”

Since opening the business, Veshinfsky said that Alternative Essence has helped many people.

“We have received great feedback from our customers,” he said. “We have a lot of returning customers looking for specific products and strains that we carry,” he said.

Misconceptions are common about what the business does, Veshinfsky said.

“A lot of people see it for party people just wanting to get high, but it’s really quite different in reality,” he said. “It’s really about people wanting to get rid of pain through the quality Ironlung products we offer.”

Alternative Essence can be found online at, on Instagram at altessence_me or by phone at 207-204-9665.

The store is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. <

Friday, April 9, 2021

Business Spotlight: A-Z Water Systems

Clean water is a fundamental element of our existence and essential to our health and well being. Maintaining the purity of the water we drink, shower, and cook with through proper filtration has been proven to have a significant impact on our daily lives.

A-Z Water Systems leads the way in the Lakes Region of Maine in assisting customers in ensuring that their water is the cleanest and safest in can be. With locations in both Standish and Greene, A-Z is a full-service water and radon air company and offers the latest technology, innovation, equipment, and services required to keep the water we drink and air that we breathe as pure as possible. 

“We help our customers with anything they may need, from drilling a new well, to ‘out of water’ calls, to filtering the water that they drink & bathe in to be sure it is contaminant-free and safe for them and their families,” said A-Z owner Carl Levesque.   

A-Z offers well drilling; hydrofracking; water pump installation and service; water tank installation and service; water testing; and water filtration installations and service. They provide annual service on all types of filtration systems to keep them in tip top shape; conduct Radon air testing; identify Radon air and offer mitigation; answer out of water calls; perform well inspections; well chlorination; and work closely with Realtors to be sure their closings are not held up because of any water issues. 

According to Levesque, A-Z services quite a wide area in the state.

“We work in Cumberland, Androscoggin, York, Lincoln, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec, Sagadahoc, Waldo and Somerset counties,” he said. “We are one of the few companies in the state that does everything from drilling the well all the way down to the water filtration and everything in between. We also specialize in Radon Air Testing & Mitigation, so, one call really does do it all.”

The most significant aspect of the business remains water filtration and water pump replacement and repair,” Levesque said.

“Our prices are extremely fair and competitive,” he said. “We also always make sure the customer knows exactly what they are getting and what it's going to cost ahead of time. We are a local company that prides ourselves in our knowledgeable team and customer service. Integrity is important to us and our customers always come first.

Heidi and Carl Levesque are the owners and 
operators of A-Z Water Systems. 
Levesque and his wife, Heidi, founded A-Z Water Systems from scratch in 2010 and have been in business locally for almost 11 years. Since then, this business has grown by leaps and bounds. They have expanded by purchasing Clearwater Well Drilling of Hartland, along with acquiring Alpha Water Systems of Sebago and Affordable Water Treatment & Maine Radon of Greene. Carl Levesque is a master well driller and has been in the well drilling and water business for 35 years.

A-Z now employs 12 fulltime workers and Levesque says the best aspect of the business is helping customers resolve their water issues.

“Our customers often tell us how knowledgeable and efficient our technicians are in the field and how extremely helpful our office staff is. In today's market, it's not always easy to get someone to answer the phone or return your calls, so we take a ton of pride in having someone in our office that is solely dedicated to answering our phones and returning calls,” Levesque said. “We also have extremely high Google and Facebook ratings and get thank-you calls and letters all the time.”

To ensure their staff are able to adapt to discern and resolve issues, A-Z technicians obtain all required licenses and keep up with continuing education requirements.

“The State of Maine Well Driller's Commission requires us to have a Master Well Drillers License and a Master Pump Installers License which multiple people in our company have,” Levesque said. “The State of Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation Office of Professional & Occupational Regulation Plumbers Examining Board requires us to have a Master Plumbers License which we have. The State of Maine Department of Health & Human Services Radiation Control Program requires us to have Radon Air & Water Mitigation Licenses which we have multiples of in our company. We also have employee's that are apprentices and journeymen working toward getting more of these licenses.”

For more information about A-Z Water Systems, call 207-268-2987 or visit their website online at or on Facebook at <

Friday, April 2, 2021

Business Spotlight: TS Staging and Design

Attention to detail and the insight into knowing what converts a house into a home have led Windham residents Theresa Bouchard and Stephanie Eklund to share their passion for interior decorating in a new business called TS Staging and Design.

Serving all of Cumberland and York counties, TS Staging and Design provides an array of helpful services ranging from home staging to interior redesign, color consultation, Airbnb design, personal organization and holiday decorating and event planning. Bouchard and Eklund opened TS Staging and Design in January and say that the most significant aspect of their business is their creativity. They take pride in their creative talent and channel it by making spaces beautiful with color, design, décor accessories, and proper room arrangement.

With home staging, TS Staging and Design assists clients in selling their homes. They work with real estate agents and sellers directly. They stage spaces in homes for professional photos, open houses, and work with both occupied and vacant spaces. Clients looking to refresh their homes use TS Staging and Design for interior redesign expertise such as room layout and décor guidance based upon a client’s requirements and design aesthetic. TS Staging and Design provide their clients with a detailed proposal that includes their recommendations based on the discussion during the client consultation and an estimated cost of the project.  They offer shopping services and all the final touches to make a client’s house a home. 

As color consult experts, TS Staging and Design provides interior color advice factoring in the client’s color likes and dislikes, size of the rooms, lighting, and more. They work with Airbnb owners to offer initial decorating or redecorating ideas based upon property owners’ vision or requests. Bouchard and Eklund also offer organization services for closets, pantries, and other spaces in their home.  Finally, TS Staging and Design can assist with home or office holiday decorating and event planning.

They first met as neighbors who admired each other’s home decorating tastes and their similar interest in staging and design led them to form TS Staging and Design.

“It doesn’t feel like work, these are things we like to do,” Eklund said. “It’s something new every day and we get to have fun doing it.”

Bouchard said that although interior design is creative and fun, it does have its challenges.

“What can be challenging is working with a couple that have completely different expectations and styles.  They look to us to be the deal breakers to prove who is right or wrong!” Bouchard said. “We listen to each of them and develop recommendations factoring in all ideas to reach a common agreement they can both be happy with.”

Both Bouchard and Eklund say that when a client hires TS Staging and Design, they are guaranteed to love their space no matter if they are planning to sell it, give it a new look, or rent it out.

“We provide a very personal touch and build a strong professional relationship with our clients.  We pride ourselves on listening to our client’s ideas while offering our expert advice to enhance their overall goals,” they said. “Our goal is to understand their vision and exceed their expectations.”

Their pricing is reasonable and comparable to other companies providing the same services. Their competitive costs allow their work to be affordable to many in the community.

“I love getting to know a person and what their vision is for their home,” Eklund said. “Each situation is different. Redesign is the focus for many people in their homes right now. Spaces have become much more multifunctional with many of us spending more time in our homes and it’s affected how we approach our work.” 

According to Bouchard, TS Staging and Design is cost-conscious and respectful of a client’s budget.

“We do our due diligence and research décor items that will not only look beautiful in our clients’ homes, but will fall within their budget guidelines,” she said.

Certified through Home Staging Resources, TS Staging and Design delivers the highest quality of services and prides themselves in their attention to detail. They have received numerous reviews that have highlighted their swift and thorough response to calls and emails, for their courteous and friendly customer service, and for their expansive creative design ideas.

Staying up to date on trends is what their work is truly all about. Using Houzz and Pinterest to name a few, they are always educating themselves on the latest styles, most popular looks, favorite furniture, hot color fads, and what’s hot and what’s not. To promote and highlight their work, they use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms.

For more information about TS Staging and Design, visit their website at or on Facebook at homestaginganddesignjustforyou or call 207-400-9393. <