Monday, October 26, 2015

Business spotlight - The Man Cave Hair Lounge

On September 5th things finally fell into place for Dennis and Sheri Bragg of Windham. They opened the doors of their new business, The Man Cave Hair Lounge. 

“We wanted to own our own business. We thought about what’s going to make us different, our niche,” said Sheri. What she found was that men needed a place where they could go to enjoy getting a haircut. At The Man Cave, located inside the Windham Mall, near Smitty’s, men can spend time on themselves. It’s a place where getting a haircut becomes a positive experience rather than just something to check off the to-do list. 

“Men need a place of their own. A lot of men get haircuts because they have to, not because they want to,” said Sheri. “This is enjoyable. A place they want to go. It’s their place.”

The Man Cave is full of masculine touches from the authentic sports memorabilia, hardwood floors and black leather chairs to the styling products geared toward men. 
“Men like sports, comfy seats, recliners and leather. The Man Cave is not girly in any way. It’s pleasant, but masculine” said Sheri. Each client is offered a complementary beverage. Choices include a beer, coffee, soda or 100 percent juice juice box (for the smaller men). Another highlight is that they can catch the game on their flatscreen TV’s while waiting. The atmosphere is very relaxing with dim lights and aromatherapy. The service includes hot towels and a shampoo, something most other barber shops do not do.  “We want them to feel man’pered,” said Sheri. “We are full service.”

Cuts are offered as a drop-in service or by appointment for now.  Services may take 35 to 40 minutes for a typical cut.

They offer “man’pering” services, which include scalp treatments, hand and foot grooming, along with beard/mustache trim or shave. Their “man’scaping” menu consists waxing services from a simple brow wax to a full body “man’zilian”. With the full body hair removal, it is done with a product that is much less painful then traditional waxing, she added. 

The Man Cave partnered with Saint Joseph’s College recently for student cuts, which is the signature cut at discounted rates. “We recognize students have a strict budget and we’re very appreciative of the partnership,” Sheri said.
The locals from Windham, Raymond, Portland, Westbrook and other towns are happy to have a place just for men that they don’t have to travel too far to get to.  

The six employees, who are cosmetologists, have a combined 40 plus years of experience. Sheri and Dennis both work behind the scenes, Sheri, who once worked for a disability insurance company, is in charge of all the behind the scenes day to day details. Dennis who still works as a plant manager does the financials.

“You’ll leave happy no matter who you see,” Sheri said. “I want guys to know it’s a place for them and know that they can leave here with a great haircut, have a unique experience and want to come back,” she added. They won’t come back just because they need a haircut. They’re going to want to come back.

Cutting the clientele by 50 percent is risky in any business, but it was a risk the Braggs were willing to take to offer something new to the area. The Man Cave carries products from Woody’s, American Crew and Paul Mitchell. They also carry LayRite Pomade products. In the future, The Man Cave hopes to have a massage therapist available. They also have a refund policy for their products. If it doesn’t work, they will exchange it for something that will work better. 

The Man Cave is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more, visit Facebook or to book an appointment call 893-CAVE.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Business spotlight - College Knowledge LLC - By Michelle Libby

Phyllis Worthley has been in the education world for 40 years as a teacher and guidance counselor. Four years ago she noticed that there was a need to help families and students make informed decisions about college, the military and what careers might be best for their futures. The new retiree is ready to help clients from sixth grade to high school graduates with College Knowledge LLC, college guidance counseling equipped for success. 
“It’s of extreme importance to serve families to seek higher education and transition from high school,” said Worthley. “I work with them to make sure they understand why they’re going and what their passion is.” 

Whether it’s the military, a 2-year school or a 4-year school, Worthley will help them find the right fit and transition them into the next step. Most of the students need help with college planning. “If a child is not focused on themselves, it’s harder. All the parent knows is that I want my kid to go to college,” she said. The colleges need to fit the family as far as budget and a good school. “It’s not the best school unless it’s the best fit for your child,” Worthley said. 

She uses many tools for narrowing down college searches, the first being College, where the students can do a demographic search for schools that meet what they think they want. She gives the parents and the students a check-off list about their fears and concerns moving forward. After that Worthley checks out the college to make sure it offers the right major, matches transcripts and makes sure that the student and family step foot on the campus before making a decision. “They don’t go to the college if they haven’t stepped on the campus,” she said. 

Worthley has her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, a Masters in counseling from UMaine at Orono and a Certificate of Advanced Study from USM in leadership in computer education. She is prepared to help all students from the average to the ones who want to play Division I or II sports. She also guarantees at least one scholarship per child that can help cover the cost of her help, and she helps the families figure out financial aid and award letters from the colleges.   
“This is a very individualized service. They get what they need,” she said. Most students will meet with her once a week, then every other week and then once a month to check in. She helps with job applications, military selection and getting the students off to college. “I hold their hands right to the end when they get their acceptance and award letters,” she said. She helps families decipher the award letters and will even call colleges to see if they can do better than what they’ve offered. 

“One of her greatest strengths is staying abreast of the information while utilizing the available technology to organize and present accurate information while synthesizing the difficult transition process for her clients,” she said.

“I so respect high school guidance counselors. They’re overwhelmed with testing and crisis’. I have no trouble working late at night or getting up early in the morning, she said. “Some get lost in the shuffle,” she added. It’s those kids she can help the most. 

“Community colleges are the best buy in the State of Maine,” she said. “In state Maine Schools have great offerings.” Community college tuition is a common theme in this presidential election, she said. The thought is to make community colleges free.  

Some parents do not have a college degree or know how to prepare a child for college. “These people just don’t know there is something else,” she said. 
College Knowledge LLC offers time. That’s the biggest thing, she said. It also offers organizational skills and time management guidance. She teaches her clients how to keep track of everyday activities.  Anxiety is also a problem she sees now. She can take the anxiety out of preparing for college. 

For middle school students, Worthley helps them choose their classes, encourages them to participate in activities and figure out how to help them build leadership skills. She also does personality work to help them get to know themselves, she said. 

The fees range depending on what work is needed. Worthley asks for half up front and then the second half when they are officially in the school, gotten the job or gone to the military. She meets at public places. She lives in Windham, but is willing to travel as she likes to work face to face with her clients.
For more information on the company and services, visit She can be reached at or call 720-0598.

Business Spotlight - Bomb Diggity Bakery & Cafe - By Michelle Libby

Bomb Diggity Bakery & Café is more than just stellar food with unique pairings and clever names, it provides a positive work environment for people of all abilities. Bomb Diggity means awesomeness in its purest form, according to the Urban Dictionary. 
Bomb Diggity was created five and a half years ago with the intention and goal to employ people with disabilities. The business started out in Portland as a wholesale bakery. It made a name for itself selling its fresh baked goods to businesses. Less than a year ago, the parent company that owns Bomb Diggity, Momentum, decided to open the café in Windham. 

“We have multiple goals,” said Dennis Strout, director at Momentum. “We provide exceptional food to the community and we use local and organic ingredients whenever possible. We also focus on what people can do, not what they can’t do.” 

The food they serve comes from local farms. They use cage free eggs, whole wheat from Aurora Mills in Northern Maine, they use local distributors who carry local produce and all the meats they serve are Boar’s Head brand. 

“We offer culture and an option for food. We want you to come here because the food is killer,” Strout said. 

Bomb Diggity serves Coffee by Design and makes their own coffee flavoring syrups. House-made breads and English muffins are steadfast popular items and can be purchased to take home. They also have a grab and go breakfast warmer for those mornings when there’s no time to wait. 

“We are always trying to create and recreate ourselves. The staff is extremely tight as a team,” said Strout. At each staff meeting, which happens quarterly, the group focuses on who they are, what they are about and what their future goals are. 

“As a company who works with adults of all abilities, we keep a very positive atmosphere for our customers and employees. We’re happy, real, upbeat and relaxed for everyone who enters our doors,” said employee Katie Cleaves. “I’m happier in this job. They enabled and encouraged me to be involved in what goes on.” 

The bakery and café has 13 employees. From bakers to dishwashers to front of the house, the team works together regardless of their abilities. Some employees have a support person who works with them. 

Starting Sunday, October 18th Bomb Diggity will serve brunch all day on the weekends. Some of the items planned by general manager Meara Smith are house-made breads, huevos rancheros, eggs benedict, lunch burritos, seasonal salads, coffee drinks, hot cider and much, much more. 

“Meara gets all of it, from the people to the food to the mission and passion,” said Strout.

The most popular item on the menu is the Frye’s Leap with Boar’s Head turkey, Cabot cheddar, Chipotle mayo and house made focaccia bread, according to Smith. Her favorite is the coffee, but second is the Foothill Fury and the breakfast burrito. 

“Everyone loves our cinnamon rolls,” said baker Emily Symonds. She also said that she loves the blueberry lemon scones with lemon glaze and now the apple turnovers made with fresh puff pastry. 

Right now the menu at Bomb Diggity features seasonal goodies. Smith listens to the community and customers on what they want to see on the menu. There are also daily specials.

Symonds is creative with her baking and plans to make more seasonal items that will change almost every day from pumpkin scones to seasonal pies, which can be ordered for take home. 

The hours are changing on October 18. Visit Bomb Diggity at or on Facebook. <

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Business spotlight - Lavish Dog Day Spa - By Michelle Libby

They are the first ones to greet you at the door. They love you unconditionally. All they need is some love in return and perhaps some pampering at Lavish Dog Day Spa. Owner and groomer Caitlyn Brundage has been grooming for eight years and just opened Lavish to fill a need in the grooming industry. 
“I really want to have dogs have a good experience. I cater to dogs that have aggression and anxiety,” she said. Lavish only sees one dog at a time and grooms them from start to finish. She does not crate dry them and spends quality one on one time with each dog. 

The location, 1004 River Road, in the area of Birchwood Nursery School, is accessible and has plenty of parking. Once inside, it’s obviously not a corporate salon. Lavish has lavender aromatherapy and music to help calm the dogs. It has complementary tea, coffee and hot chocolate for the owners and treats for the clients. There is also a bench to wait on and free guest wifi. 

“I have seen a difference in the dogs I’ve seen before who followed me. They are a lot more relaxed,” Brundage said. 

Brundage’s husband was in the Navy when she fell into her current profession. She filled in bathing dogs for a woman who was out. Then they asked if she wanted to be a groomer. She spent a lot of time learning through the company’s academy. 

“I’ve been continuing my education. I’ve worked under groomers that have experience in the show ring. I’ve picked up things from different people,” she said. 

The basic package for grooming includes a luxury shampoo used for competitions that will be a great conditioner for the coat. She can use a shed release condition that is tailored to the dog’s coat. She uses an enzymatic dental gel to help clean the teeth without brushing and gives the dog a blueberry facial scrub. 

The prices vary on the breed, coat and temperament. She does not groom cats. 

She also offers nail grinding and ear cleaning. Need a little more conditioning? Lavish offers a mud bath which helps to restore the coat, revitalize and bring back moisture. It even works on hot spots. There are warm towel wraps to finish up the pampering. 

Lavish hopes to have a paw soak to help soften the paws and deal with fungal issues. She also would like to dabble with pet safe dyes and feathers.  

Brundage is well versed in many breeds. She does hand scissoring for poodles and is a pro at working on Great Danes, like her dog, Mak. She wants to start simple with what she offers and then as people request different services, she’d like to expand her offerings. 

“I love dogs. I love a dog coming in and make them look their best. I’m constantly improving my skills to make them look the best,” she said. “I love my job.” 

In the near future, Brundage would like to expand to a second groomer and receptionist.  For now the hours are by appointment Tuesday to Fridays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays by request only. Appointments are best scheduled a week in advance for specific times. 

Lavish will host an open house on October 24th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be cookies, human and dog, beverages and “a howling good time.” 

For more information or to see examples of her work, visit Lavish Dog Spa on Facebook or visit For appointments, call 572-4084.