Friday, July 27, 2018

Business spotlight on Freedom Boat Club by Michelle Libby has a new way to get out on the water without the hassle and cost of traditional boatownership. Freedom Boat Club gets people into boating with a different approach that provides the opportunity to try out boating or continuing boating without having to worry about maintenance or storage after the season is over.

“A new way of boating is coming to Maine,” said Tracy Coughlin, marketing director for Freedom Boat Club.

Freedom Boat Club is a membership-based club that offers all the perks of boat ownership without all of the details. When a member wants to take a boat out, he uses the app on his phone or makes an online reservation. Dockhands will greet the boaters at their car, help carry the bags to the vessel and then check them in. It’s as simple as that. From 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. boats can be taken out seven days a week.

Members show up after work to take a boat out for an evening cruise on the water, sometimes on the lake and other times on Casco Bay. They just make a reservation.

“There’s no better place to go boating than Casco Bay and the lakes region,” said Steve Arnold, who bought the Freedom Boat Club franchise for the whole State of Maine and has two locations for members to enjoy at this time, one at Yarmouth Boat Yard at 72 Lafayette Street in Yarmouth and the other at Moose Landing Marina, 32 Moose Landing Trail, Naples. One membership gives boaters access to both locations.

“It’s turnkey. We’re getting a lot of people on the water,” Arnold said. “It’s hassle-free, maintenance-free boating.”

Members pay an entry fee, then a monthly charge for all of the services. Freedom is always offering membership specials and packages that can be tailored to meet the needs of the clients.

Each member gets free Coast Guard training on boat safety and operation. There’s a classroom portion and then an on the water training. Once the members are signed off by the Coast Guard captain, they can take a boat out as often as they’d like. It’s unlimited and the only thing they pay for is the gas they use.

“It’s a great tool to give people the confidence to get out on the water,” he said.

Many members are thankful for the training and respond really well to it, Coughlin said.

More women are going boating with their friends after taking the trainings, Arnold pointed out.
Once the training is taken, members can take boats out anywhere there is a Freedom Boat Club. There are 165 clubs in the United States. Members have reciprocal rights at any location. If on vacation in Florida during the winter, a member can take a boat out from any nearby location. They only pay for gas. It’s a large savings when traditional boat rentals can run approximately $700.

“The process is a guaranteed great experience,” Arnold said. From car to boat and back, members are treated with first class service.

“People are attracted to the ease of it, making boating so simple,” said Coughlin.

With 40 members, Arnold has exceeded his expectations during this first season. His membership executive Ed Bernard has taken care of the members, planning monthly gatherings year-round. The members represent a wide variety of the population men and women, singles to families, and with ages ranging from 30 to over 80.

“It’s a different subset of boaters that don’t want to own a boat,” said Arnold.

There are currently seven brand new boats in the fleet, but that will increase as the membership list does. The member to boat ratio for Freedom Boat Club of Maine is 6 and a half to 1. The boats in the fleet are always new. Each boat comes with lifejackets, throwables, VHF radio and lists of phone numbers to call if members need assistance while on the water. They also have charts of the area and a top 10 list of points of interest from beaches to dinner places. 

“[Freedom Boat Club] makes it that much more approachable. It lets them try it out to see if boating is for them,” Coughlin added. “If they’re not experiencing Maine by water, they’re missing out.”

Members are even allowed to trade in a boat for a membership in Freedom. Or, the membership fee can be put toward a boat if members decide they want to own their own vessel. The contract can be cancelled at any time. Members are not locked in.

“I see people getting into boating and then getting out because of the cost. Freedom gave us the opportunity to approach it differently,” Arnold said.

For more information, call Ed at 207-650-9374 or email Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Business spotlight on Bear Mountain Inn by Michelle Libby searching for a place for a romantic getaway, family vacation or a location for a destination wedding, Brian and Julie Sullivan at the Bear Mountain Inn and The Barn in Waterford, have the tranquil, rustic chic setting for gatherings from one to thirty-six.

The Bear Mountain Inn is located just outside of the village of Harrison sitting amongst Bear Mountain and Bear Pond. The updated farmhouse is idyllic in its appeal.

“We’re a modern farmhouse, but keep the charm,” said Julie. Julie and Brian bought the property 15 months ago and have touched each part of the structure, painting, redesigning and perfecting it for the guests, highlighting the authenticity of the area and personality within. From the quaintest of rooms to the suites, the goal was to bring the outside in, and they have succeeded with barn-board accents, beautiful hues of nature, fresh wallpaper and special touches throughout. Of the 11 rooms, most have a view of the lake.

“This is a great place for those who want to get out of the rat race,” Brian said. The inn, barn and outdoor space has hosted family reunions, retreats, weddings of up to 250 and corporate gatherings up to 36 people, which is the maximum number of beds on the property.

The farm house originated in 1820 and in 1957 was owned by Oscar and Mary Andrews. Mary, 98, returned to the inn recently. She told the Sullivan’s about the history of the home.

One of the most used spaces is the elegant barn. The rustic structure with two ornate chandeliers is the perfect place for a wedding reception. This was the first part of the property that was renovated. The Sullivan’s bought the property in April 2017 and held their first wedding a few short months later at the beginning of June that year. Dogs are allowed in the barn for weddings as well as in a few of the suites, which provide all the amenities and space needed for a true Maine experience.

The two-story, vaulted ceiling post and beam accommodation called Evergreen, was built in 2003 and the Sullivan’s added an additional bathroom. The space sleeps eight people and has a full, top of the line kitchen. It has a two-night minimum.
Owners Brian and Julie Sullivan

The Sugar Maple Cottage used to be a shack to make maple syrup, however, it’s been converted into a quaint cottage with a fireplace and kitchenette. It also has its own private gas fire-pit overlooking the water.

“We’re in the field of hospitality. It’s all about the guest experience,” Brian said.

A garden shed used for help years ago, is now the massage cottage. The divine expansive outdoor space hosts a patio overlooking the water with a fire-pit and chairs set up for conversation. Closer to the barn is another patio area connecting the indoor space to the outdoors, with easy flow of gatherings. On the waterfront there are kayaks and canoes, paddle boards and docks. Throughout the property, there are places to sit and collect ones thoughts as well as ideal sites for wedding ceremonies.

The Sullivan’s knew they wanted to be in the hospitality industry, starting their search looking at RV Parks around the country. They spent 15 months traveling the country in a 40-foot fifth-wheel RV. Missing New England, they returned back to their roots to find the Bear Mountain Inn. “We fell in love with the property. We’re finding our niche here,” Julie said. “Fifteen to twenty years ago, we said we hope to retire in Maine, now we are lucky enough to have a business and be living in this beautiful state.”

“I like being party of a small town and small community,” said Brian. He believes in using local craftsman whenever possible. They carry Swift River Coffee from Raymond, mugs from Lynn Curran’s pottery studio and BeeKind Products that gives money to help the health of honey bees.

The inn serves breakfast from chef Terri, who makes homemade granola, bread, yogurt, fresh fruit, strata, any style eggs or creative breakfast sandwiches like avocado on toast with egg. Not to be missed are the French toast and blueberry pancakes.

“We like all the interesting people you meet. When we were closed a few months this past winter for renovations we said, we can’t wait to have guests again,” said Julie.

This coming winter will be their first open as it is now a year-round destination property.  The inn is 15 minutes from Shawnee Peak. It has 25-acres for cross country skiers and is a haven for snowmobilers, being right off a snowmobile trail. Most people stay for two or three nights at a time.

In 2019, Real Maine Weddings will give away a $100,000 wedding giveaway. The wedding will be held at Bear Mountain Inn and The Barn at the end of March 2019. They will be featured in a 20-page spread about the event in the magazine. Molly Breton will be the photographer.

The Sullivan’s also hope to put up glamping tents if they can get the permits. Glamping is a form of camping that is less roughing it and more glamorous than traditional camping.

For more information on the inn or to book the barn space, visit or follow them on Instagram or Facebook. Brides can find them on Wedding Wire or The Knot. Also, call 207-583-4404 or email to schedule a tour.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Business Spotlight on Maine Power Wash Pros by Michelle Libby is when Mainers emerge from their homes and see what has happened to the exterior of their houses over the past year. Moss growing up the sides, black soot and lichen on the roof and an overall dull look to the house demand attention. Maine Power Wash Pros can help change the look of the house without the costly time and repair of a full renovation. After only a few hours, Maine Power Wash Pros can transform a home’s exterior, roof and decks back to something a homeowner can be proud of.

Brian Condon and Mike Morin opened Maine Power Wash Pros seven years ago.

“We worked really hard for other people. Now we work really hard for ourselves,” Condon said. He admitted there was a learning curve and they took classes and seminars to improve their knowledge. “Everything’s going so good right now,” he said.

The business is seasonal from April to October, and in that time they will clean around 700 homes and 200 to 300 roofs from Waterville and mid-coast, to Kittery and all of western Maine. With five employees working in teams of two, they cover a lot of ground to service Maine.  Maine Power Wash Pros work on residential homes and commercial properties, including condominium complexes.

“Some people are do-it-yourselfers. Power washing homes is a dangerous venture for homeowners to take on themselves,” said Condon. Condon also stated that an acquaintance once saw a homeowner fall off a ladder, while power washing his home and the man broke his back. “We don’t stand on ladders to wash homes,” he confirmed.

Brian Condon
The services offered by Maine Power Wash Pros starts with washing houses. Using a bleach solution they clean vinyl and wood siding, eliminating it of mold, mildew and dirt. They also do a low pressure roof cleaning that uses less pressure than a garden hose to clean shingles. “We go by the National Roofers Association guidelines,” said Condon. “It’s a different process. Pressure washing is not for roofs.”

They also wash decks, full surrounds and more. “We are very careful of the homeowner’s home. We leave the property in better shape than when we arrive,” said Condon. They are careful not to disturb flowers and shrubs as they are working.

The employees are referred to as co-workers and most are back for their second and third seasons. All are well trained and insured.

“Every job has its challenges. There’s nothing the guys haven’t seen before,” said Condon. Part of their jobs is educating the homeowners that if there’s moss, lichen or algae on a roof, a simple roof treatment can take care of the issue. They don’t have to put on a new roof, he said. “We’re very particular. Whatever we see – we take care of.”

Mike Morin
“There are challenges that some people face, but we don’t have those problems. We have the equipment to be prepared. We’re ready for it, ready for anything,” Condon said.

Most jobs will take between one and two hours to complete, unlike when it might take a homeowner a whole weekend. Don’t spend valuable time doing this job, have Maine Power Wash Pros professionally take care of the power washing and leave your house with a restored beauty and curb appeal.
Don’t take our word for it. They are accredited through the Better Business Bureau. And if that’s not enough reassurance, please visit their website to read the many testimonials from homeowners just like you.

Maine Power Wash Pros offer free estimates. They accept Visa and Mastercard.

To contact the company, visit them at or call 320-1801. You can also find them on facebook. When you call don’t forget to mention their $50 off coupon and ask about their senior discounts. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Business Spotlight on Command Pest Services by Michelle Libby

awilde01@maine.rr.comBugs, bees and termites, oh my. Once spring and summer arrive, so does the inevitable invasion of bugs, rodents and other pests that make life challenging. Command Pest can help homeowners, landlords and business owners make their dwelling nuisance free with one simple phone call.
Alan Wilde and Terry Colby teamed up in 2007 to incorporate Command Pest. Wilde has been in the field for 20 years now.

Command Pest takes care of all insects, rats, mice and snakes. They do not work with squirrels or large vertebrates like raccoons or skunks. This has been a busy year for mice, Wilde said. The business is very seasonal, but there are certain pests that are more active in different weather. Now, it is carpenter ant season, which will be followed by bee and wasps season. In the fall, mice and other wintering pests like ladybugs, wasps and cluster flies are looking for places to keep warm during the winter. In the spring, watch out for flies being born.

Wilde sees a lot of bed bugs, and ninety percent of all of those calls are in apartments.

 “I didn’t expect it to be a career, but it turned out to be a career afterall,” said Wilde. Wilde likes the job because every situation is different. He admits he got “creeped out” at first, but now it’s all part of the job. He got into the industry after taking a break from his sales job. “I kind of fell into it,” he said. “I saw there was a lot of money to be made in this field. I absolutely love my job now.”

Knowing how to treat different bugs is key to a successful business. For example, to rid a building of cluster flies treat the exterior of the house to kill them inside.

“You need to know the biology of the creature you’re treating for,” Wilde said.  It’s the same with ants. Certain ants you can spray with treatments, but others you must use bait methods. “Call a professional who will know these things,” Wilde said.

Command Pest is built on the principal of honesty. Wilde has seen other professionals lie about infestations just for the sale. “I’m not going to say you have bed bugs if you don’t,” he said. “I will also tell you if you can take care of something yourself.”

Command Pest works with commercial customers like grocery stores, restaurants, and different property management companies. “I’m there for folks who have something they want to get rid of,” Wilde said.

For those just opening their summer home or camp, Command Pest can make sure it’s pest free before arrival day. The company uses treatments that are designed to break down and dissipate. They follow the directions on the containers for how long before animals or people can return and it’s usually only a few hours.

“It’s not like the chemicals of the sixties and seventies. It has to get past the EPA,” Wilde said. Wilde uses the same treatments the big companies use, but because Command Pest is owner owned and run, customers have personal contact with the owners. “We like having our hands on everything while we’re in the field. Questions go to the top guy. People have brought us on because they’re dealing with the owner,” Wilde said. Command Pest is insured and licensed by the State of Maine for structures, termites and biting and stinging insects. Each year they have to acquire points through trainings to sustain their license.

Command Pest travels to most of southern Maine. They have customers in Cumberland, Oxford, Kennebec and Androscoggin counties, Portland, Lewiston, Auburn and all towns in between. Most estimates are free and can usually be done over the phone. They have seasonal and maintenance programs or can visit for a one-time treatment.

To schedule an appointment or ask questions, call 657-7144 or email The office is located in Gray at 5 Tripp Lane.