Friday, June 29, 2018

Business spotlight O’Shea Builders by Michelle Libby

With more five-star reviews than anyone in Maine, it’s no wonder O’Shea Builders is booked months
in advance for its quality work. Warren O’Shea has been a builder for most of his life. The company is a big name on, has been seen on the HGTV show “Vacation House For Free” and on Food Network’s “Restaurant Impossible.”  O’Shea has also done segments on local stations helping with DIY tips and helping consumers recover losses from shady contractors, he said.

With the big reputation, O’Shea Builders is purposefully a small company. “It’s to keep the quality where it should be,” said O’Shea. “We’re not flashy.” There are three employees in addition to O’Shea.

O’Shea Builders, which began in 2002, takes only one or two jobs at a time to focus on providing excellent service and meeting the needs of its discerning clients. O’Shea has found his niche and is only doing renovations and doesn’t want to be thought of as a cookie cutter builder. O’Shea makes sure he is involved in the design process from start to finish.

“We have experience dealing with old buildings and we’re comfortable coming up with new solutions,” he said. The oldest house they have renovated is a house built in 1726 in Yarmouth. O’Shea and his team loved peeling back the layers of the house, finding colors and wallpaper from the eighties, forties and then back to the “hand-honed beams.” He feels like the older homes have a heart and soul and he wants to be a part of bringing that back to life in a new way.

“We look for real transformations worthy of being in a magazine. I want to be proud of what we’ve done and accomplished,” O’Shea said.

Warren O'Shea
“When it comes to our suppliers, we don’t come up on their radar often. We don’t give them high volume sales, but we use high quality supplies,” O’Shea said. The company is also described as well organized and neat. They exclusively use Crown Point Cabinetry a high end, handmade quality product and are a Kohler certified installer. 

“We don’t put signs up in people’s driveways. People find me because I’m easily found in searches. I respect people’s privacy,” he said. Many of the company’s clients are from out of state. Trust can be an issue for them. “They’ve researched many other remodelers. My profile lends itself to be transparent,” O’Shea noted.

He uses Skype or FaceTime to make sure his clients keep up to date on all of the progress. O’Shea makes sure they’re comfortable all the way through the process.

O’Shea Builders works on projects from the northside of Sebago Lake and towns surrounding the lake to Portland. They enjoy working on lakefront and waterfront properties, especially.
O’Shea has two new businesses that complement the renovation work he does. O’Shea Residential Consultants and O’Shea is a certified home inspector.

O’Shea became certified in home inspections for the knowledge of all the other trades, he said. He is able to help steer his clients in the right direction. He does not do inspections for hire.
“I’m an expert in my field, for my field,” he said.

As a residential consultant, O’Shea helps homeowners or buyers navigate the process of remodeling a home, camp or vacation cottage. He can come in before a project or after the home inspector, when a client is making a purchase, to provide suggestions and a general estimate on the cost of the renovations.

For those looking to renovate a kitchen or bathroom, visit for 7-page checklists on those projects.

The company is booking six months in advance. “Planning your project is key,” said O’Shea. “I truly want to help people.” Due to the size of the company, they don’t do typical carpentry projects like decks and steps unless it is part of a larger project. O’Shea Builders has been described as “high-end exclusive.”

O’Shea encourages all prospective clients to do research on their builders. “I’ve been on TV a lot, but that shouldn’t be why you hire me,” he said. General contractors and inspectors are not licensed in Maine, but there are websites that can warn about Maine contractors who have been unethical. All homeowners should interview three contractors for any job, O’Shea said.

He continues to keep in contact with his clients and takes care of their building needs.
O’Shea Builders doesn’t advertise much, but can be found online on its Google page, and under searches for renovation contractors or general contractors. For an estimate or to ask a question, visit, call 207-838-1370 or email

Friday, June 22, 2018

Business Spotlight: Paradigm Window Solutions - Job Openings Today Lead to Rewarding Careers

jmorin@paradigmwindows.comParadigm Window Solutions, located in Portland, has set the highest standard in the industry for vinyl custom windows since 1981. The company manufactures custom sliding doors, double hung windows, single hung windows, picture windows, bay and bow windows, among other products, all of which can be painted any desired color including maple, dark oak and mahogany wood grain textures.
Behind all of this, of course, is a growing workforce of manufacturing professionals. With the company now in peak production season, Paradigm is looking for new team members who are excited to build a career and develop valuable skills within Paradigm.  

“We look to grow our employees and their careers,” said director of human resources Jennifer Morin. “For example, our plant manager, Julka Arsovski, began her career at Paradigm in 1999 making screens. Ted Sanborn, our continuous improvement supervisor, and Warren Winchester, our vinyl line production manager, both started at Paradigm out of high school and have been with us for 20 years and 13 years, respectively.”

“It’s not just a job,” said Winchester, “I made a career out of it.”

Paradigm currently employees about 230 staff at its plant located at 56 Milliken Street, which is off from Riverside Industrial Parkway in Portland. Arsovski plans to bring on an additional 15 to 20 employees over the next few weeks.

The company offers challenging and rewarding work, training support, and competitive compensation and benefits. Open positions include: first and second shift production jobs, as well as administrative, and driver openings, and a customer care position. Employees are cross-trained and work in teams; eventually, employees can perform almost every function at the plant.

Asked what they look for in recruits, Winchester said, “We are looking for individuals who enjoy a fast-paced, team-oriented environment. Arsovski, who started on the production line and now oversees the Portland plant, looks for people who “want to influence what happens in their work environment,” adding that she appreciates when people bring ideas to the table.

Paradigm has an excellent training program in place to support even those with either basic skills or are transitioning from other professions. New employees are supported by team mentors who lead orientation and training. With a steady and long employment history, some of the company’s most experienced employees have been with Paradigm for 40 years.

“Our employees bring a diversity of educational backgrounds and career experiences, from high school graduates to newcomer professionals with experience as doctors, engineers, accountants, and more,” explains Morin.

In addition to providing stable, year-round employment, Paradigm offers a robust benefit package with medical, dental, and vision, tuition reimbursement, and overtime opportunities.

Employees also enjoy the satisfaction and pride of seeing the products they’ve created installed in homes, businesses, and institutions around the country; for example, Paradigm has worked on special projects at Elmira College and Collegetown near Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
Paradigm also delivered oversized windows to the Augusta Airport, and has replaced windows at local mills. Every Paradigm product, including painting, Gold Label-certified by the American Architectural Manufacturing Association, the leading trade association representing window, door, skylight, curtain wall and storefront manufacturers and their suppliers.

If you’re looking for a great opportunity, take it from Warren Winchester: “I like the product we build, the people I work for and those I work with.”

For information on applying, call Jennifer at 207-747-5833 or stop by the showroom for an application. For more on the company, visit

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Business Spotlight: Legal Leaf LLC by Michelle Libby Leaf LLC, at the corner of Route 302 and Whites Bridge Road in Windham, has all the supplies anyone might need to create a garden and grow plants. Owned by Maggie Terry, Joanne Mattiace, Chase Hutchinson, and Brett and Amanda Beauchemin, Legal Leaf sells all growing supplies, including soils, systems and greenhouses.

“Legal Leaf is a store aimed at people who want to grow or be knowledgeable about any type of cannabis or hemp, as well as anything you want to grow,” said Terry.

Terry describes Legal Leaf as a grow store like garden centers in big box stores, but the difference is the equipment and quality of substrates are more specialized to enhance the growing experience and achieve better growth. The staff at the store also have knowledge that other stores don’t have. 

Whether a grower wants to try hydroponic, organic or greenhouse growing, Legal Leaf can help.
They carry different types of lighting from LED to high pressure sodium lighting.

“Our goal here is to be of service. Service to people growing for medical uses,” Terry said.
Terry opened Legal Leaf to help teach her sons the value of owning and operating their own business. Terry also owns Legal Label in the same building. She chose to enter the cannabis growing business because it is an emerging industry and offers a lot of opportunities for those who are seeking new stuff, said Terry.

Terry has been surprised at the customers she has serviced. Most of them are older, she said. “I’ve turned away 200 people looking for medical marijuana for health issues in their forties, fifties and sixties,” she said. Legal Leaf doesn’t sell marijuana or hemp. They strictly sell the products to grow and process the plants.

Even the name, Legal Leaf, was chosen to help reduce the stigma of cannabis, to make it more normalized and more accepted, Terry said.

They service commercial growers in the industry. They find solutions for mold, air issues or light issues. “We want to be a resource and build that trust and relationship,” she said. The company also sells packaging including child proof packaging and labeling.

“Branding, logos and helping businesses with regulatory labels and management of licenses,” Terry said, in discussing how her businesses work together. Now, Legal Label will help the cannabis and hemp industry, too. 

“We have a whole packet of resources,” she said. The laws are constantly changing, so Terry and her team stay on top of the most current laws. They have contacts in all industries. Terry will do special orders and obtain special nutrients if that’s what customers want, she said. “It’s an investment to grow,” she added. “This business is an investment.”

Legal Leaf has plans to expand and bring in new products to help with other aspects of the industry.
“Brett grows, I grow. It’s fun,” Terry said. “It’s like the wild, wild west. God put this plant on the Earth for these reasons, to help medically and emotionally. And, he made it stink so we could find it.”
For those who like to cook with cannabis or hemp, the store carries molds for magic butter or gummies.

For those thinking of getting into growing plants, seek out the professionals who can help get the right products to make a garden grow.

“We’re driven by service and tremendous resources,” Terry said. “It’s a very exciting time because of all the potential that can come from the industry.” The store opened on April 20, 2018.

Legal Leaf is open on Mondays for professional growers or those who want to make a grow plan. The team will meet one-on-one with growers. The store is closed for drop ins. It’s by appointment only. The store is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are closed on Sunday.

For more information, call 207-572-1550 or email

Friday, June 8, 2018

Business spotlight: Bean Group by Michelle Libby a Realtor® can make the difference between a good deal and a not so good deal. At Bean Group, formerly The Maine Real Estate Network, the 22 agents are so diverse that matching clients to a Realtor® who specializes in their needs is easy.

“Although residential homes are the majority of sales, each agent has their own expertise for areas they’re familiar with or have experience in, from camps in Northern Maine to homes in Southern Maine,” said Bean Group Windham Office owner Yvonne Myer, who has 20 years of experience in the industry.

In the fall of 2017, The Maine Real Estate Network was acquired by Michael Bean, the owner of Bean Group Real Estate. The new Bean Group became the largest independent company in New England with 800 agents. On May 1, the branding became uniform and all of the 37 offices in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Northern Massachusetts began working together as Bean Group. 

Although agents work independently, they have an expert company backing them with Bean Group and have the opportunity to use any Bean Group office for meetings, including the four corporate owned offices in South Portland, Cumberland, Auburn and Bangor.

Myer loves when clients stop by the office and encourages anyone with real estate needs to stop in or give us a call. There’s always an agent in the office to help or answer your call, she said. The office doesn’t have one specialty, although they do mostly residential and waterfront homes. They also have agents who do development projects and commercial properties. “We pretty much have an agent here who can do anything,” Myer said. The team has a combined 150 plus years of real estate experience.

They also have a diverse population of clients like local homeowners looking to upgrade or downsize. Also among their client list are those looking for multi-unit or investment properties, or clients from away who are looking to relocate or find a summer cottage. From commercial developers to first time homebuyers, Bean Group can make the right connections for their clients.

It’s a seller’s market, and inventory is very low, Myer said. Buyers are getting into multiple offers on properties and sellers are able to reap the benefits of the stiff competition. That being said, “There are always deals to be had in real estate,” Myer said. “Having a great agent to watch out for you is how to win them.”

When looking to purchase or sell property the first thing to do is talk to an experienced agent about what your needs are. “We can help them get everything in order for a smooth transaction,” Myer said. “We can help with the pre-qualification process even if there’s a credit issue.” 

Sellers are encouraged to reach out before putting their home on the market, so the agents can help prepare the house so it’s saleable and attractive to buyers, said Myer.

All of the agents use different lenders in the marketplace to suit the clients individual financial situation.

“We have the expertise, the knowledge and experience to help clients with successful transactions,” she said. The Sebago Lakes Region is a friendly, fun community for all seasons for activities in the summer and in the winter. And, Windham is centrally located to provide residents with almost anything they could need without having to go too far.

When looking for property outside of Maine, Bean Group can help with that as well. “We are a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of The World and can refer our clients anywhere to other expert Realtors®,” Myer said.

Bean group will hold an open house on Tuesday, June 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m. The event is open to the public.

For more information on Bean Group, walk into the office at 887 Roosevelt Trail or call 207-894-5722. Each agent uses his or her own email address.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Business spotlight on Aloha Maine Gifts and Gatherings by Michelle Libby Maine! is an eclectic shop with a mix of products and services from Hawaii, the Pacific and New England regions, but all centered around the theme of LOVE. Owner Renee Conlogue has dreamt about having a shop for thirty years. Between 1988 and 1998, she lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she learned about and fell in love with the people who live there.  The Pacific island lifestyle, especially that of the native Hawaiians is rich in spirituality and a peaceful way of being.  “I want to bring that sense of tropical beauty and spirit of the islands here.” Aloha, means much more than just hello and goodbye.  Aloha is love.  “Alo” means present, front, face and the “ha” in Aloha is the breath of life.  It says, you’re here, present and alive now,” she said.  Living Aloha is a way of treating each other with care, love and respect. Its deep meaning starts by teaching ourselves to love our own beings first and afterwards to spread that love to others.  It is sending and receiving positive energy, creating harmony and being kind. 

Renee rented the space at 51A West Gray Road (Route 202) in Gray, back in July. A soft opening took place on December 31, 2017.  “Of course, I was terrified, but I have had a lot of family support to help this dream become a reality. We were open part-time in the evenings. Now, I’m curious to see what will happen with the tourists coming into town,” she said.   

Renee is originally from South Portland and since returning from Honolulu, she has taught at Bonny Eagle Middle School for the past 20 years. Four or five years ago, she learned to play the ukulele and joined the SLUKES (Sebago Lakes Ukulele Society) that play the first Thursday of every month at Pat’s Pizza and they perform at a variety of functions as well.  This year, they will be performing at the 4th Annual Casco Bay Uke Fest held in Portland this July. 

Aloha Maine also offers ukulele private or small group lessons for beginners. Renee helped Librarian and SLUKE member Darcel Devou at the Gray Public Library with a ukulele donation to start a uke lending program.  She hopes to expand her outreach to homeschoolers.  She wants to be a positive force in this area. “There is no need to have musical ability to play the uke and no need to be able to read music”, she said.  All you need is the desire to learn and some perseverance to practice.  In the fall, she wants to start a group for Hawaiian quilting, and classes for sewing and knitting with wool and fabric from the islands. 

The store is a peaceful, kind and loving gift store and gathering place.  Renee has big plans for social and educational gatherings starting in the fall. For now, she is content to sell items like Kona coffee, “Hawaiian Bath and Body” products, Koa wood jewelry, chocolate macadamia nuts and “Amahi” ukuleles.  She now carries the entire line of “Ka Ora” Bracelets designed by Audrey Lovering from Standish.  Each bracelet is handmade using 100-year-old tools and methods.  Each of her designs are beautiful, inspirational, durable and sentimental like the women who inspired them.  In addition, “Love Rocks Me” cards, notepads, coasters and trivets are the designs of Ellen Thayer in South Portland.  She uses heart rocks shaped by the surf along the coast of Maine to create artwork that she photographs.  

In addition, Aloha Maine! is now an official “Life is Good” retailer.  She carries the newest line of women’s apparel and accessories.  The company spreads good vibes, sharing how optimism can empower us even in the hardest of times.  Ten percent of their net profits go toward helping children in need.  “Everything in the store is meant to inspire ourselves and others,” she said. 

Renee has had a difficult start to the business when recently, her oldest son, Royce, committed suicide while away at college. This devastating blow has made focusing on the shop a necessity to continuing with life for her and her son Reid.  “There are days I feel like curling up on the floor and staying there,” Renee said. “These two communities, Gray and New Gloucester, I just can’t say enough wonderful things about them.” She has received support from all of her friends, Royce’s friends, along with people she has never met. “There’s so much love here.  It is what is holding me up” The senior class of GNG High School is gifting a baby grand piano in Royce’s name to the school.  He was passionate of performing for others no matter the size of the stage.

On June 3rd, there will be a benefit concert for the Royce Foreman Memorial Scholarship held at Spring Meadows Golf Club .  Mele’uhane, a Hawaiian Father-Sons Trio from Kona, Hawaii will perform.  From 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. there will be a meet and greet with cocktails and appetizers and from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. will be the concert. The cost is $10 at the door.  This year two GNG Seniors will receive $1,000 scholarships in his memory.  In addition, there will be a raffle for an Amahi Koa Ukulele, where the proceeds will be given to a family in Gray whose mom is battling cancer.  She has school-aged children and every amount of help is appreciated.  

For more information about Aloha Maine or the fundraiser, visit them on Facebook, email or call 207-808-9642. The shop is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.