Friday, February 23, 2018

Business spotlight First Portland Mortgage by Michelle Libby it comes to mortgages, having a professional who knows the ins and outs of the business can make all the difference. The mortgage professionals at First Portland Mortgage are specialists and can help with a home purchase, refinance, investment properties, government loans and construction loans. They’ve been doing mortgages, and mortgages only, for almost 30 years.

While their local physical presence is an office on Route 100 in Falmouth from which they serve the entire state of Maine, they also compete on line with a robust website and application platform called Blink, through which the entire process can be automated to the greatest extent possible. First Portland’s employees actually answer the phone and are available nights and weekends as well.  That’s not something you can expect from your bank or credit union!  

“We’ve been around so long because of the focus we’ve had from the beginning on low rates without diminution of services,” said Eduard van Loenen, who’s been the company’s president since founding the company so many years ago.

First Portland Mortgage provides residential mortgages for one to four family homes. Whether it’s a first home, an upsize or down size home, or an apartment building for up to four families, the professionals at First Portland Mortgage walk customers through the process and are advocates for the buyer in a transaction.

Besides the standard conventional loans, government loans, and jumbo loans, they also take on portfolio loans in house for those who might not meet the regular requirements for traditional loans. In addition, they provide creative construction and renovation loans to help finance their clients’ dreams.

“Because we only do mortgages, and specialize in them, we can be highly efficient and cost effective.  These benefits are then passed on to the customers in the form of lower rates”, said Kristeen Smith.

Rates can of course change from minute to minute, depending on market trading of mortgage backed securities, but First Portland always has the most current rates posted on their website.  Rates can also vary from client to client depending on credit scores. The minimum credit score for all programs is 560. The best rates for a conventional loan are for those with 740 or better and for government loans it’s 680.

First Portland is proud of being known for low rates and high service. After all these years of being in business, many of their clients today are children or even grandchildren or other relatives and friends of their many previously satisfied clients.  “There’s nothing we like better than to get a referral from a happy client”, said Smith, adding, “we are in the business of helping people qualify for a mortgage”.

Using First Portland’s online platform called Blink, customers can get pre-qualified online and work with this sophisticated tool throughout the process.  Folks are of course also invited to call, stop by, or do a combination of these to get the process started.  “We make it really easy to do business here. We don’t make promises we won’t deliver on,” said Smith.

While bank and credit union loan officers are not required to be licensed and maintain annual continuing education credits, First Portland’s mortgage specialists are all licensed after 20 hours of training, and then do continuing education every year in order to maintain that license.

Kristeen Smith has seen purchase deals fall through because the home buyers did not take the trouble to get pre-qualified before going house hunting.  This pre-qualification strengthens the buyer’s possible offer because sellers like to see that the buyer already has financing in place. Smith says, “we’re so easily accessible and make the pre-qualification process very quick and painless, so why wait doing that important step?”.

Refinancing loans for debt consolidation or to purchase another property?  First Portland Mortgage would love to help. They personalize the mortgage process to meet the needs of the client. They work anywhere in the State of Maine and are always available.
For more information, visit or find them on social media.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Business spotlight: Fielding’s Oil and Propane Company by Michelle Libby’s Oil and Propane is a trusted, family-owned, Maine company that services customers all over Southern and Central Maine as well as the Rochester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire areas. The company owned by Bill and Dave Fielding, who bought it from their parents 20 years ago, is one of the top names in fuel.
Whether it’s gasoline, heating or air conditioning service, Fielding’s can help most everyone.
The company runs 30 oil trucks, seven propane trucks, four transports that deliver wholesale fuel and 14 burner service technicians. It also has 20 customer service representatives for a total of 75 employees. They work with residential, commercial and industrial clients.

Fielding’s Oil has been delivering to the Windham area for 34 years. They deliver as far north as Bangor and as far south as Newington, New Hampshire, the Hamptons and all towns in between. Between residential and commercial accounts, they have approximately 40,000 customers. 

“Our name’s been around, so they know us. We’ve been around for 50 years,” Bill Fielding said, who started working as a teenager and was groomed into the business. 

Not everyone is primed for this business, it seems. “Finding truck drivers and employees is hard. No one wants to work hard,” Bill said. There are some strict regulations on drivers, and they are in demand. But despite the fact that it is difficult to find the right people, Fielding states he is proud of those who do work for the company. “Good people work within our company,” he added. 

Taking care of customers heating needs all over Maine and into New Hampshire has been challenging, but the team at Fielding’s Oil makes it seem easy.

“We kept up even when it was 20 below,” said Bill. The recent cold weather struck all oil companies hard, but Fielding’s continued to deliver to all its accounts. 

Fielding’s Oil and Propane has a payment plan for any budget. It works with pre-buys, budget plans, cap program, fixed program, automatic delivery, will call and 30-day and 15-day credit plans. Checks, cash and major credit cards are accepted. 

The best part of owning an energy company is “the freedom of having your own business,” said Bill.
Fielding’s Oil delivers to wholesale fuel accounts, to small businesses like landscapers, excavators, farmers and gas stations. It also works with local contractors to help with new construction installations of propane, oil, diesel fuel and K-1 Kerosene heat sources. 

“We do cleaning and everything to do with service,” Bill said. He prides his company on the customer service and ability to meet the needs of every type of customer.  

The importance of having yearly maintenance is vital and Fielding’s Oil and Propane can keep your equipment running smoothly and competently. The combustion process of burning fuel to produce heat must be precise to maintain efficiency and safety. Even a small problem can lead to gas leaking into your home or dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Fielding’s technicians will do a full check to not only clean but also inspect all parts to catch small problems before they turn into major repairs or safety issues.

It is shown that seventy five percent of no-heat calls in the winter are related to lack of maintenance. Not maintaining your furnace can cause it to run less efficiently, making it work harder and therefore increasing your monthly energy bills. Even if your furnace is new, it still requires inspection as various factors can cause rust and dirt to accumulate. It also keeps your warranty valid. 

Having maintenance done in the spring is a great idea since you have spent an entire season running it. Fielding’s Oil and Propane can check for any damage that may have occurred and then if repairs are needed you can come up with a plan and save for any work that does need to be done before the next snowflakes start falling.

For more information or to place an order, call 892-0200 or 1-800-491-3194, visit them on the internet at or stop by one of the four offices: Scarborough, Auburn, Augusta and Newington, NH. They are currently accepting new customers. All offices are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays during the winter months. There is a 24-hour emergency delivery and service line with technicians always on call.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Business spotlight on Angel Nails by Michelle Libby beautiful nails is about more than just putting color on; it’s about personal connections, care and quality work that keeps people coming back again and again. Angel Nails, 1233 Roosevelt Trail in the Raymond Plaza, pride themselves on the work they do to satisfy each one of their clients.
Owner David Mai has owned Angel Nails for eight years. He has a great sense of humor through his broken English and his smiling face is one of the first things seen when entering the salon; adding the charm of the experience. 

Although Mai has worked at a lot of odd jobs in the 27 years he’s been in the United States -
everything from a fork lift driver to working sea urchin production, to laying airplane windows to a beef cutter; but it is at Angel Nails where he works seven days a week that he has finally found his home.

The salon is a family-owned business. Mai, his girlfriend and his daughter all work there and in the winter there are four employees. However, that increases to six employees during the summer months to handle the extra clientele who visit the Lakes Region.

Angel Nails has what clients want and need - and that includes all types of nail polish. They carry diamond coat (also called dip), shellac, acrylic nails and traditional polishes, as well as a glow-in-the-dark powder and mood changing colors as well. The dip nails can last up to three weeks. Despite the fact that there are thousands of colors, Mai will also mix his own colors to satisfy any client’s preferences. 

The most popular types of colors right now are permanent powder colors on acrylic nails. Mai said he does the best pink and white nails in the area. 

At Angel Nails, they also offer hand painted designs. “It’s a lot harder than before. They [the customer] show you what they want on their phone. Before it was limited and now unlimited. I see a picture, I can almost copy it,” said Mai. 

Mai also pointed out that if a customer wants to support a specific sports team or have a design that a friend created, Angel Nails can do that too.  

There are eight manicure stations and six pedicure chairs. This means there is not a lot of wait time. They also cater to parties - a fun way to come in for pampering. Each service offers three selections, Regular, Premium or Deluxe. The Regular is a spa service. Premium has an extra-comfort massage and the Deluxe offers cooling gel, hot stones and more time with the technician. There’s something for everyone. 

“We have good service, clean, take time and quality work at a fair price,” said Mai.
“We care about the quality, more than the quantity. We like to accommodate your schedule,” said Nguyen. 

Styles and shapes vary in what customers like. Almond and pointy shapes have come back into fashion. At Angel Nails there’s no extra charge for this although there often is at other salons, Mai said. “It takes time and one strong hand to make it come out right,” he added. The coffin shape, which looks like a small lampshade and is wide at the bottom at thinner at the top, with a flat tip, and the traditional rounded are some of the designs being done.

Some clients make a two-hour drive to get their nails done. Acrylic nails can last up to 2 months and there’s no charge to fix them if something goes wrong with a nail. 

“They offer personalized service. You come in two times and they know who you are. They take the time,” said client Nicole Kaltsas. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 207-655-8880 or find them on Facebook at Angel Nails Raymond. Walk-ins are welcome. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Business spotlight Dragonfly Integrative Health by Michelle Libby Gladish and Christina Loveland-Dupuis have a passion for helping people using non-traditional methods of healing and caring. They are both trained doulas, herbalists as well as certified thermographers. Michelle is also a certified medical assistant at Bridgton Hospital.
The work they do is steeped in tradition. 
“It’s a different approach to healing,” said Loveland-Dupuis. Thermography, also call Digital Infrared Thermographic Imaging (DITI), uses digital pictures taken of the whole body or a section of the body to help diagnose and detect inflammation and disfunction in the body. “It detects when the body’s not performing the way it’s supposed to,” she added. 

One of the most helpful benefits for clients is to monitor breast health. Thermography can detect abnormalities in the breasts for men and women years before a mammogram can, Loveland-Dupuis said. “There is no radiation, no pain. You sit on a chair and the camera does all the work.” It’s a great way to detect areas where a client should seek additional testing from their general practitioner and it can be used to support a diagnosis to insurance companies. 

The scans taken at Dragonfly Integrative Health are sent to doctors in Florida for interpretation and conclusions, which are sent back to Loveland-Dupuis and Gladish within a week, to review with patients. The doctors look for patterns in the colorful pictures to see where the scans might not be symmetrical. “Breasts are all like fingerprints, all different,” she added.   

Thermography can help discover diverticulitis, thyroid issues, varicose veins, fibromyalgia, TMJ, sinus congestion and muscular pain, to name a few. The technology has been around for years, but is relatively unknown to a large segment of the population.  Most traditional doctors are taught to treat the illness. 

“Education is part of it. Doctors don’t have time to do the research on their own,” said Loveland-Dupuis. “They got into it because they wanted to help people.” Insurance companies dictate the equipment to be used and the timing of tests. A woman who has a history of breast cancer in her family, should not have to wait until she’s 40 years old to get a baseline scan of her breasts. Insurance companies do not cover thermography, but that doesn’t stop Dragonfly clients from taking their health screenings into their own hands.  

Both women work with area practitioners to get clients the services and treatments they need. This puts people in charge of their own healthcare. Gladish and Loveland-Dupuis will help act as advocates for their clients. 

“We can’t answer questions on the scans, but we can educate without crossing the line,” said Gladish.
Dragonfly Integrative Health keeps its prices low and the services can run between $120 to $625 depending on the type of scan. Many get a baseline full body scan and a year later will go back for a follow up to see if anything has changed. Thermography is safe for all ages including children.

Christina Loveland-Dupuis
Dragonfly Integrative Health also travels to other area practices to share knowledge and do clinics with the thermography camera. The nearest is in Falmouth at Willow Woman’s Health, but they also go to Kennebunk to the Aim to be Well, T. Murray Wellness Center in Conway, NH and Greenwood Herbals in Limerick.

For those who would like to use natural herbs to help with chronic or other issues, they will put together a program for their clients. With the use of herbs in teas, extracts and salves, Gladish and Loveland can help the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous systems find balance.
The third service Dragonfly offers is taking care and empowering expectant and post-partum moms as doulas. 

“We empower the moms. We advocate, providing for them physical or emotional support,” said Loveland-Dupuis. “Hollywood makes (having a baby) seem like a torturous process. There is pain, it’s part of nature. There shouldn’t be fear.” 

Michelle Gladish
The doulas work on a birth plan with the expectant mom about four weeks from the due date. They are on call from then until the baby is born. After, they offer post-partum visits to see how the child is doing at home with pets, to make sure the house is baby proofed and to check on the parents.
The rate is a sliding scale to make the services readily available to people who need it, Loveland-Dupuis said. 

For more about Dragonfly Integrative Health, visit, email, call 207-619-2414 or find them on social media. They will be offering a class at their location at 46 Lott’s Drive in Windham on February 3 on thyroid health.