Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Business spotlight - Timberland Home Care - By Michelle Libby years of working in a nursing home, sisters Sonia Frye and Michelle Reed decided there had to
be a better way to keep seniors in their own homes with one on one care that meets the individual clients’ needs. In 2008, they opened Timberland Home Care in the Mount Washington Valley. They run the leading 24 hour, non-medical homecare business in that area. Coming back to their Maine roots, Frye and Reed are opening an office at 585 Roosevelt Trail in Windham. 

The company offers companionship, hygiene assistance, laundry and so much more. 

“We’re an alternative to a nursing home. Most of our clients are elderly, but some are disabled,” said Frye. “We knew we were ready to expand. We are providing the best possible care.” 

Clients can receive a variety of services from one five hour shift to 24/7 care, Timberland can be there to provide light housekeeping, medication reminders, meal preparation and transportation. 

“We become everything to them so they can remain in their home,” Frye said. Their tag line is “home care providers…so you can continue doing what you love…” 

Whether it’s a weekly companion to play games, read to them or do crafts, they can meet those needs. They have also worked extensively with the elderly with Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

“We realize no two people are the same and everyone’s needs are different. With that in mind our services range from extensive care to having a companion. We are very versatile in the care that we give,” they added. They can provide respite care for those taking care of aging loved ones. 

When Frye and Reed worked in the nursing home, there was no time for one on one care, where they would get to know the residents, their likes and dislikes, their habits and their stories. They said that some days they left crying. They didn’t want to do that anymore. 

“Our business is very family oriented,” said Reed. They are privately owned, and not part of a larger corporation. “We’ve been in the trenches.” They still work directly with the clients, if needed. 

At this time, they are looking for employees to start work in this area as soon as possible. They prefer employees with a CNA/LNA license or medical experience, but would take on someone with experience in the field or who is a PCP. All employees have criminal background checks, reference check and must have a clean driving record. They have employees from ages 20 to 80. 

“You can teach all the basics, but you cannot teach somebody to be a caregiver,” Frye said. They try to match the right person with the right client. Each client receives a free in-home assessment. Reed and Frye said they would not send a caregiver into a home that was unsafe. 

Care is offered all over the Sebago region from Bridgton and Naples to Westbrook and Gorham. For all of the towns they serve, check on their website. The company is licensed and insured in Maine and New Hampshire. They take both private pay and long term care insurance. 

“It’s a business of the heart,” Frye finished. “It’s such an honor to be a part of people’s lives.”

For more on Timberland Home Care, visit, email, or call the office at 207-893-0800 starting December 1.

Community and business this Black Friday - By Don Hutchins

As we approach the 24th of November, Thanksgiving shopping and preparations have begun to plateau with last minute pickups as folks begin to shift their focus to Black Friday sales and shopping strategy. With a number of local businesses opening their doors to purge this years’ stock for pending Christmas inventory, this is a great opportunity to support community business endeavors without breaking the bank and traveling far and wide for holiday goods and services. 
In Windham, Mills & Company will be opening at 9 a.m. on Friday, with sales on home goods, from comforters to knives, lasting until they close at six. Reny’s, a must-stop Maine shopping experience, is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; with a 20 percent off sale on all toys, winter boots and Christmas inventory lasting from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday morning. Blossoms of Windham provides for not only full-service floral needs, but just recently introduced their Christmas stock and encourages folks to come in anytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a look-see. 

For those out and about on their own on Black Friday, a variety of deals are being offered by Heaven & Earth Day Spa and Wellness Center: Including a 75-minute massage and moisturizer for $99, a spa pedicure and hand massage for $35, and a spa manicure with a foot soak at $55– anytime from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m! 

It can get tiring and stressful when you’re out shopping for holiday gifts, so why not break to treat yourself while you’re already out? If you prefer to stay in avoiding the consumer chaos, drop into The Craft Shop between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. for a wide range of creative activities any time before Thanksgiving or during Black Friday– they always have something going on!

If you’re out and about with the family, Smitty’s Cinema is a great dinner-theater experience likely to please anyone. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday, the cinema will be offering an online-only gift card sale lasting until Monday, the 28th, at 11:59 p.m. More details will be released on its Facebook and webpage on Thanksgiving at 4 p.m. Don’t miss out! If you find yourself stumped on a gift idea, or wanna prepare for any last minute surprises, think: Who doesn’t like dinner and a show? 

In Raymond, Cricket’s Corner toy shop is offering sales from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, which is bound to have something satisfactory for any youngsters in your life. And if you find yourself hungry in that area, Cafe’ Sebago is open from 6:30 a.m. to their regular closing time and is awaiting details on delicious daily specials for the Black Friday crowds.

The Aging Crow, a family-owned country-style and primitive decor business, will open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m, offering a number of locally made home furniture and accent pieces. 

Essentials Gift Shop will offer diverse inventory, from toys and skin care products to home decor and Stephanie Dawn purses, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Check out the bags made from recycled sails and the Sea Rope Maine bracelets. 

Mexicali Blues is offering a 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. sale of 25 percent off everything in the store– with goods ranging from apparel and jewelry to bags and home decor. 

With a variety of goods typically available at a low cost, Family Dollar will be running two ads this week– one Monday and one Wednesday– outlining deals for their 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. hours on Black Friday.

While there are plenty of retailers, storefronts, and businesses to choose from on Black Friday, local businesses such as these– and many others– depend on every little transaction; each one sustaining the dreams of their owners and furthering the development of small businesses and their employees that strengthen our communities and our economy.

Local businesses benefit our communities with job offerings, economic security, and through their unique products and services that differentiate them from other in the marketplace. Their efforts, their sacrifices, and the fruit of it all stimulates a holistic sense of value, from your shopping experience to the products you bring home. Every dollar spent/earned, every interaction, counts towards fulfilling a dream, and it can all happen right close to home.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Business Spotlight - The Boat Launch Cafe, Pub & Variety - By Michelle Libby

Maine, the way it should be at The Boat Launch Pub & Variety. Locals and tourists can pick up their  
favorite beverage, a burger and bait for fishing locally on one of the many lakes. This one-stop shop is part convenience store, part pub with great food and a wide selection of beer and wine, and, of course, bait for a fishing trip.
“I’ve waited for this spot for over 20 years,” said owner Dan Roberts, former owner of Maine Street Grill, which went out of business. Now that he has the location at the corner of Routes 35 and 114 in Standish, he plans to make the most out of the location and the great locals and tourists who travel that area on their way to the lake, the trails or the mountains. He brought his head cook and three other staff members from Maine Street Grill to run The Boat Launch. 

“We’re Happy Days all grown up,” he said. The pub offers pizza, awesome burgers, fish and comfort food. There are televisions all over the shop and a jute box has a place of honor in the back of the pub.  

“We simplified from what we were doing at the Maine Street Grill,” he said. They have worked on the menu for the past two months, perfecting what people wanted. 

“It’s not your normal sandwich shop.” They offer an outstanding LA Bomb, a loaded steak and cheese sub with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, pepperoni, hot cherry peppers and bacon. Their sirloin burgers are half a pound in two patties piled high. “They just want to jump in your mouth and fall off your face,” Roberts said. 

“We brought the restaurant quality here,” he said. “We’re a restaurant hidden as a convenience store.” From the $5.95 Italian to the bread on the BLT, The Boat Launch has received rave reviews. The pizza they make has won seven awards when put up against pizzas from all over the lakes region.
The Boat Launch offers seafood in the summer and he hopes to get a lobster tank and ice cream bar, but acknowledges that he can’t do everything at once. They use their own fresh breading on the thin cut onion rings and fried pickles. 

“They’re going to be surprised about our pizza and calzones. It’s good food, good times and good friends,” Roberts said. “It’s comfort food, not fancy.” 

He subscribes to the “cornerhood bar theory.” Everyone needs a local place to hang out, meet up with friends and get a bite to eat. It’s a great location to meet people and for networking. The bar serves 20 beers on tap and at least 10 different bottles of wine. Happy hour is between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily.
The Boat Launch offers breakfast until 11 a.m. every morning, which is the only place the Standish side of the lake that offers breakfast, he said. The breakfast menu can be found on their Facebook page. They have a selection of grab and go breakfast sandwiches. For those who want stay and eat they offer a breakfast deal, $5.99 for a breakfast sandwich, home fries and coffee. They also have eggs, omelets, French toast and pancakes and $5 mimosas every day. 
“Even when it snows, I’ll be open,” he said. “Plow people need a place to get food and a hot drink,” he said. “We’ve also always been that good stop for the bikers.” 

Roberts is a Mainer at heart. He returned to Maine 15 years ago with his two children. He enjoys fishing by himself or with his customers. That is one of the reason he offers bait for fishermen. For ice fishing he will have shiners and smelts. There is plenty of parking and he is quick with a smile or a joke. 

Roberts has many plans to make life easier for boaters, fishermen and others who enjoy the outdoors and want to stop in for a quick meal. 

The Boat Lunch is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for grab and go food or to stay and visit in the pub section. Place orders at 207-648-4378.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Business spotlight - Village Donut Shop and Bakery - By Michelle Libby an old machine repair shop sits one of the hidden gems in Raymond, the Village Donut Shop and
Bakery, with its sweet and savory delights for locals and commuters. Bruce Wiley worked in a donut shop as a teenager and never forgot the personal experience of serving donuts with a side of hot coffee.
“It was in the back of my mind all these years. It’s time to make the donuts,” he said. The shop opened in 2013 and became an almost overnight hit. He spent his off time searching for equipment. “I didn’t have to buy it (right then) so I got good deals,” he said. With some thought on traffic patterns and locations, he settled on the perfect spot, 1246 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond. He and his family took five months to get the space ready. As a construction worker for 30 years, Bruce worked outside in the cold and dirt. He knew how important it was for the community to have a place to pick up a hot coffee and a baked good.

“His dream was to be open early in the morning when contractors are traveling. They pick up a cup of coffee and something quick to eat in their car on the way to their next job,” said Bruce’s mother, Carolyn Wiley. “Then the ladies come in and retired families. The offerings change as the day goes on.” 

The first wave of customers come in right after they open to pick up fresh donuts made in the shop overnight by Bruce’s brother Todd Wiley and baker Theresa Egan. Theresa’s scones and apple fritter donuts sell out before noon. The scones are very popular, Bruce said. “Even people from England say it’s the best they’ve ever had.” 

The business is very family-oriented with Bruce’s mother, Carolyn, and father, Dean, spending a lot of time working. Carolyn bakes on Mondays and Tuesdays, often different selections from the rest of the week. 

Village Donut is very community focused and donates to local churches and schools. “The community has been so good to us,” Bruce said. He works with summer camps, hospitals, Saint Joseph’s College and other businesses. 

New hours have begun for the shop, with increased winter hours to cater to the locals. With the longer hours, Village Donut will now offer soups, stews, chowders and lunch specials like chili, pigs in a blanket, sloppy joes and chicken pot pies, single and family servings. They will be baking bread and having that available as well. Crunched for time? Someone could stop in, pick up a meal, bread and a dessert and not have to worry about cooking that night. 
The donuts draw people in, but the scones and muffins, coffee cakes and whoopie pies keep them coming back, Bruce said.  

Village Donut doesn’t keep around day old donuts, choosing to donate them to senior home and senior meals in the area. “We try to make use of them. We’re too Yankee to throw things away,” said Carolyn.
This fall the Village Donut is taking pie and platter orders for holiday meals or parties. Large or small, they take special requests with 24 hour notice. They also do cakes, but nothing fancy, Bruce said. 

The working team includes Todd, Theresa, Sarah Paul, Terry Daily, Diana Burrington, Mom and Dad and Bruce. “Everyone is glad to be here,” Bruce said. Even after they leave the shop, people notice them. One man followed Todd in the grocery store, turned to Carolyn and said, “Boy he smells good. I’d follow him anywhere.” 

On Thanksgiving stop by to experience all the Village Donut Shop and Bakery has to off or visit them for their annual tradition of free coffee and donut in the morning. They will have bread and rolls available first come, first serve. To guarantee they have what is needed for dinner, call ahead. Many times when regulars are going to be late to the shop, they call to ask to have something set aside for them, said Carolyn. 

Soon Bridgton will know the delights of Village Donut Shop and Bakery when Bruce opens a shop there. 

Bruce wanted to throw out a thank you to Chris for helping the shop get started in Raymond.
Village Donut is on Facebook or to place an order, call 655-4444.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Business spotlight - Investment Executives - By Michelle Libby financial planning comes to mind, we often think of Dave Ramsey or Suzie Orman, however,
they would never have time to meet and give advice one on one - and – they don’t have the necessary licenses to provide the right services for the advice they hand out. When it comes to financial decisions, look local. Find a company, like Investment Executives and Craig Dickson, who works with individuals and families to help them meet and exceed their financial goals. 

Craig Dickson works with individuals and families to create a smart, easy to follow, easy to do, money plan. From insurance and financial services to real estate and social security maximization, Dickson can help find missing money or help steer a client to take notice of options available to them. He can help people with rolling over a 401K plan or even sell a home through The Maine Real Estate Network, where he is an agent.

Investment Executives is based in Biddeford, but has a satellite office in Windham, on Route 35 next to Gilbert’s Chowder House. Dickson’s goal is to have four offices in key locations to best serve Western Maine foothills and Southern Maine. 

With 15 years of experience, Dickson can help frugal blue collar families or business executives reach their financial goals. “I have earned the credentials to offer several financial services products in Maine,” he said. “It’s easy to plan with a lot of money. I work with local people where frugal is the Maine mentality. I appreciate that, I grew up in a mill town. Both grandfathers, my dad, and my brother all worked or continue to work in the mill,” Dickson said. 

Dickson is able to help clients with bill reduction. “We’re getting nickled and dimed to death,” he said. “I want to help Mainers create a life time of income they don’t have to worry about running out of - while concentrating on family life.” He also acts as a broker looking for the best deals on life and long term care insurance. 

Dickson is also the creator of “The Maine Money Academy,” which teaches students through on-site training from a plethora of classes like Tax-Free Retirement, The Personal Pension Plan and Life Insurance. The motto of the program is “More – Intelligent – Money”. The trainings take place at Central Maine Community College and Southern Maine Community College in Brunswick. Classes are also available, at work sites, upon request. 

Dickson is also a real estate agent who works for buyers and sellers. He started in real estate mostly to help his clients sell properties from estates. He will list properties, but will refer those who have more needs when it comes to buying and selling. 

Through Investment Executives, people can also connect with Enrolled Agents for filing their taxes. EA’s can provide the same filing services as a CPA, and often times are more affordable. The EAs are perfect for individuals who might need help with tax preparation including college deductions or small businesses who need to fill out Schedule Cs. The EAs are federally licensed tax practitioners that not only help with filing, but are also empowered by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers for audits.

 “We want to be a one stop shop,” he said. Investment Executives is known as “The Complete Advisor” and “The “Green” Advisor” who can help people “reduce, reuse and retire.” That’s reduce debt and monthly bills, reuse by using the savings in a different, more profitable way, and retire on time, early or with enough money for life.  

“This is the green that matters to hard working Mainers,” he said.

It’s never too early, or too late, to start putting away some money from the first job or the fifth. The impact of time can not be understated. Even if it’s $50 per month or a minimum of 10 percent, they will see a difference, said Dickson. 

When the economy is in turmoil and heading in the wrong direction, some people take the money and run, instead of taking the opportunity to grow the money. Dickson can help clients make informed decisions about their money. 

“The hard part is getting started. They don’t miss it when they make little adjustments in their monthly budgets,” Dickson said. 

For more information on The Investment Executives or The Maine Money Academy, visit or Dickson can also be emailed at or by phone at 1-855-625-3736 (toll free) or 207-807-2738. They can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.