Friday, August 26, 2016

Business spotlight - Mainely Vapes - By Michelle Libby Vapes, next door to the Windham Post Office, is open for business selling electronic
cigarettes and vaping apparatuses.

“Vaping started with E-cigarettes as a replacement for cigarettes,” said owner Ryan Miniutti. “It evolved into a quit smoking aid.”

Miniutti was an avid smoker and hearing that this new trend could help him quit, he took the leap and started vaping. Through the various flavored juices, he was able to get the right amount of nicotine to calm his cravings. The juices have different levels of nicotine and some have none at all. He has been smoke free for five years. 

The most common tool is the E-cigarettes. Hardcore vapors prefer the box mods that have unique styles. These are battery operated and more powerful than the pens. There are others that are tanks or drip modules. Some are combinations with rebuildable deck atomizers (RDA) or rebuildable tank atomizers (RTA). The juices which come in various sized bottles are a liquid that can be put directly into the water chamber or on part of the box mod giving the flavor to the vapor that is sucked in to the lungs.

Mainely Vapes has 85 flavors for sale and approximately 100 in their tasting bar. Some of the juices have no nicotine and the highest is 12 mg of nicotine in an entire bottle of juice. This is compared to 18 to 22 mg of nicotine in one cigarette, Miniutti said. The idea is to be able to decrease nicotine intake until you are not dependent at all. There are thousands of ingredients in cigarettes to only four or five in vape. There is nothing artificial. Mainely Vapes carries a line of certified organic liquid. They also carry CBD oils.

Juices or E-liquid as it is also called can be purchased online, but Miniutti said that “You don’t know what you’re getting.” Even if it is a reputable site, there is the wait time of having something shipped. At Mainely Vapes, it’s cash and carry. They stock a variety of juices from the top of the line to a nice general mixture with names and flavors like Ki-berry Yogurt, Morning Wood (cereal flavor), coconut conniption, wicked watermelon and more. They also have one that tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and one that’s like a rocket pop from the ice cream truck with one flavor on the inhale and two on the exhale. They are constantly getting new flavors.  Mixing them yourself can be dangerous especially when adding nicotine. “One drop in pure form can give you a heart attack,” said Miniutti.
With equipment, buying online is not only time consuming, it can also be dangerous, Miniutti added. “You’re not sure what you get. It can blow your hand off.” Mechanical mods are the dangerous ones that look great and can be cheap, but are for advanced vapers only. 

Mainely Vapes carries only certified and accredited equipment. With new federal regulations, vape shops and the product makers are scrambling to make sure they meet the new laws. People who want to buy equipment must be 18 years or older or with a parent. In Portland they must be 21 years old. Miniutti said he cards everyone who looks under 27. 

Michelle Sass, Miniutti’s fiancĂ©, said she loves smoking and didn’t want to quit. Now through Mainely Vapes, she has not had a cigarette in two months. According to Miniutti, more than 6.5 million people in America have quit smoking thanks to vaping. 

“We will educate everyone,” said Sass. “These are basically little computers.” 

Vaping is now huge on the social scene in colleges and out on the town. There are competitions on who blows the best clouds. 

Many of these types of people have zero nicotine and have never smoked in their life, but do it because of the flavors and it’s fun to do, Miniutti said. 

Every vape shop is a little different. With Mainely Vapes it is the customer service that makes them stand out. They treat each customer as an individual and they will educate customers on the equipment they have. Other vape shops are no longer helping customers get started with vaping, instead, they sell them the supplies and it’s up to the customer to figure it out. Liability is the reason they no longer are willing to help. 

“I feel it’s more of a liability not to,” Miniutti said. 

The store is set up with a vaping lounge for those who want to socialize. 

“Don’t be afraid to try it,” Miniutti said. “It took vaping to get me off cigarettes. It wasn’t willpower. It was not going to happen without something like this.” 

For more on the shop, visit or find them on Facebook, Google + or Yelp.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Flip to a Different Eagle Section

Business spotlight - Lavish Dog Day Spa - By Michelle Libby

Having a dog groomed doesn’t have to be stress for the owner or for the dog. At Lavish Dog Day Spa dogs are treated with love and respect as they are groomed one-on-one from start to finish. Lavish owner and stylist Caitlyn Brundage has worked in the industry for nine years and has seen what some grooming styles can do to the stress level of dogs. She opened Lavish to be an alternative to large corporate groomers. At Lavish each groomer sees only one dog at a time and grooms them from start to finish. She does not crate dry them and spends quality time with each dog. 

Recently Brundage brought on a second stylist Briana Ring, who works three or four times a week.

“I’ve had pets my entire life. It’s great to hang out with people’s dogs,” said Ring. 

 “I like dogs being able to bop around. It’s relaxing and comfortable,” said Brundage. Since opening last year, Brundage said she has gotten a lot of positive feedback. “A lot of people say their dogs are normally not good for groomers, but now they are.” She especially sees a difference in the dogs that followed her from her last grooming job due to spa-like environment she provides. Atmosphere makes all the difference. 

Grooming can take anywhere from between 1 ½ hours for a small or medium dog to up to three hours for a Newfie or other large breeds. 

“We want to make it as easy for the owner as possible,” she said. They keep their clients informed with an active Facebook page and post pictures of “the cuteness” as often as possible.

The basic package for grooming includes a premium shampoo and conditioner for the coat. Each dog that is “extra furry” gets a shed-less bath to reduce the amount of hair left around the house. The groomer brushes the dog’s teeth and does a blueberry facial scrub. They also grind their nails and clean their ears. One of the best treatments is the mud bath which helps restore the coat, detoxify, nourish, protect, decrease smell and overall rejuvenates the dog. It also works on hot spots and dry skin. Prices for the mud bath vary depending on the coat and size of the dog but range between $10 and $25 on top of the groom. 

One of the unique services is pet safe dye. The non-toxic dye shows off the human and dog personalities. This type of creative grooming is safe for the dogs. “Some enjoy it. They love the attention,” said Brundage. “I try to familiarize myself and excel in all areas of dog grooming,” she added. 

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

New features this year are a chip card reader or pay with phone options. They are also doing online booking, which gives dog owners the option to check their schedules and book 24 hours a day, when it is convenient for them. Through the booking site, which is linked to the salon website, clients can get an idea of the cost of the services they are signing up for. 

Lavish is looking forward to having a professional photographer take pictures of the dogs one Saturday each month and grooming appointments will book up quickly.

The salon hours are by appointment, but they try to be as flexible as they can. Regular hours are generally Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Evenings are available by request. Visit them at and click on the book now button. Choose the closest breed to what the dog is. Brundage will take phone appointments for multiple dogs or those uncomfortable with online booking at 207-572-4084. She returns phone calls as soon as she is in the salon. 

Lavish Dog Day Spa is celebrating their first year anniversary in just a couple weeks. If you haven’t had your dog groomed there you don’t know what you are missing. It’s an experience your dog will be begging for. Make an appointment for fall grooming now, as their schedule fills up fast. They are located at 1004 River Road in Windham. Don’t forget to like them on Facebook to keep up with their work and maybe even see pictures of your dog!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Business spotlight - Performance Auto Worx - By Michelle Libby

When Jamie Beaulieu walks into work each day, he is grateful for his life, his family and his business
and he has made giving back a priority to his customers at Performance Auto Worx. 

“It’s the start of a new life for us. I decided to give back with free inspections and rates that are so cheap,” Beaulieu said. 

After an accident that broke his back, Beaulieu has fought his way to back to doing mechanic work. He wants to do more than just fix cars however. He is looking at sponsoring baseball and soccer teams and being a contributing member of the community. 

“We will explain (the work) to you. We don’t just look at you like dollars and cents,” he said of his customers. When someone brings their car to Performance Auto Worx, Jamie or his mechanic, work on the car and bill based on the computer time it should take to complete a project plus the low hourly wage that beats most if not all the competitors at $45 an hour. 

“We’re staying busy, especially with a lot of garages closing in Portland,” said Beaulieu. The shop opened in April and Jamie has been slowing seeing an uptick in his business. 

“It’s a passion. It’s a new challenge every day,” he said of the work. He gets to know his customers and is willing to work with them to make sure they are driving safe, reliable cars. 

“When you almost lose your life, you look at things differently. I want you to feel comfortable with me that I’m not going to rip you off. We care about everybody. I’m glad to be here and have a purpose in life,” he added.   

Performance Auto Worx does all types of mechanic work including performance work for fuel economy and increased performance, transmissions, $20 oil changes, body work and everything in between. They might not do all the work themselves opting to sub contract some of the work that needs to be done and still only charging the Performance Auto Worx hourly rate. Their specialty is suspensions, rust repair and ultimately, customer service.

Jamie even offers to take photos of before and after work if preferred, to ensure you know the job is being done right and as promised. Too often garages say they do something and results down the road prove they didn’t. He wants his customers to have faith in him that he will always do exactly what he says and what you are paying for.

Beaulieu is working on purchasing a Mandrel bender for doing custom exhaust systems, which in the long run will save the customers money. “They will last two times longer and will be two times as cheap,” he said. 

He is hoping to expand the business in the near future, bring on more mechanics and increase the work load. He has 25 years of mechanic experience and considers himself a journeyman. He expects that every car that leaves his shop will be in great working condition. He refuses to fix something “just for now,” he said. 

After his accident, Beaulieu’s friend became paralyzed. The friend’s greatest wish was to race in his race car again. The problem was that the race car was out of state and not drivable. Beaulieu picked up the car and towed it back to Maine, then fixed it. “I fulfilled my best friend’s dream of driving 100 mph around the track,” he said seriously. “Now if I can make an honest living and put a smile on people’s face. That’s what I want.” 

Performance Auto Worx is located on Route 302 on the Windham/Westbrook line at 12 Roosevelt Trail. 

“Anybody that wants quality work at an honest, reasonable price, Performance Auto Worx is for you,” Beaulieu said.
Performance Auto Worx is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays by appointment. They can accommodate night and weekend appointments too if that is the only way you can fit the work into your schedule. He understands what it is like to have a family and only have one vehicle. Being a local Windham guy makes scheduling for off times easier than with most garages. The $20 oil changes are mostly scheduled on Fridays. To schedule an appointment call 892-7600

Friday, August 5, 2016

Business spotlight - Clay Run Studio Arts - By Michelle Libby certified art educator and a licensed clinical professional counselor with a full time practice in the
area, Jesse Romanoff Burton opened Clay Run Studio Arts to form a community collaboration for artists all around the lakes region. The foundation of the studio is choose and paint pottery. The bisque pottery is selected, painted with the special paints and then is fired in a kiln. Within two weeks, artists return to see their beautiful art work.

“I’d like it to be very cooperative and community based to make art accessible,” said Burton. She plans to gear the business toward a non-profit business model as soon as she can. 
“It’s art for art sake,” she added. 

The bisque painting is the most obtainable art and is available whenever the studio is open. The price on the piece is the entire cost for painting, firing and taking the project home. Artists are welcome to come in anytime the shop is open, no reservations are required. In addition to the bisque, there is a growing variety of other projects. 

Clay Run is now offering naked fish painting, where artists put their own touch on different sizes of cut barn board. There are many designs to copy or create your own. The fish and a few other painting projects can be taken the same day. Mosaic picture frames and mirrors can be completed in one class.
One of the special touches from Clay Run is the option to have the pottery mailed home for those artists visiting from away. Since the kiln is only fired when it is full, it could take up to two weeks for a project to be completed. Burton creates the availability for vacationers to experience this form of art.    
She would like to see art teachers and those working toward teaching degrees teach classes at the studio. Burton is open to collaboration with local artisans and also offers individual art lessons. 

The space is not only a studio, it is a place for local artisans to display their work. Local artists showing their work now are painter Bonnie Spiegle, sculptor and painter Nevison Daley and artisan jewelry on display by VRDesigns and Waters Edge Studio by Ivy Jordan.
“This studio is for people who love making and learning through visual art,” Burton said. 

Twice a month, the second and last Friday of the month, the teens and tweens take over the gallery to paint pottery and socialize. 

There are plans to have a night for exchange students “What better place than for people from all over the world to come create art,” Burton said. There will be a ladies night once a month, but the dates haven’t been set yet. 

She also teaches a class for students with intellectual disabilities. The current class focuses on the master painters. With all the classes Burton meets the students where they are at in their artistic abilities.
“It’s all about making the art accessible,” she said. “There’s an artist is everybody.”

And, if there’s not enough time to create a personalized piece, original pieces are available to purchase.
On Saturdays there are walk-in art classes from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with a variety of mediums. Most projects take about an hour and a half to complete.
Burton has a fire arts degree and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. Burton grew up in Portland, but has lived in this area for 24 years and knows what the community needs for artistic expression. 

Future plans involve wet clay throwing and jewelry making classes. “It’s a call to artists and artisans, for teachers and those who want to be a teacher,” to come show the community different art forms and techniques, Burton said. “This is for people who want to learn different types of art.” 

Private parties are encouraged. She asks that you book in advance to reserve space for a birthday party, bachelorette party, family reunion or any special occasion. Burton will also travel for large groups to their location. Need 100 plates for a family gathering? She can bring them, fire them and deliver the finished products. 

The studio is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evening. Stop in to learn more and to pick up a unique gift for someone special. For more updates on classes and schedules, visit Clay Run Studio Arts on Facebook or text 207-693-8916 for more information.