Friday, October 26, 2018

Business Spotlight on Montecito Market by Briana Bizier you drive along Route 302 between Windham and Portland, you’re in for a treat!

Montecito Market, a newly opened store offering take-out food located at 1102 Bridgton Road (Route 302) in Westbrook, offers a plethora of delicious treats to brighten your commute. Even if you haven’t yet set foot in Montecito’s bright and sunny market, you’ve probably noticed Rudy the Rooster, the enormous rainbow-colored rooster statue proudly standing at attention in front of the market.

 “Everyone loves Rudy,” Julia Havers, co-owner, tells me, explaining the colorful statue is part of their new social media marketing strategy. “If you stop by to take a picture with Rudy and post it on our Facebook or Instagram pages, we’ll give you a free 8 oz. bag of Montecito Roadhouse tortilla chips.

Twenty years ago, Julia and co-owner/husband Scott Rehart moved from Santa Barbara, California to Portland in order to be closer to Julia’s family. Julia began work as a clinical social worker at Maine Medical Center, and Scott decided to rent a “day table” from the now-defunct Portland Public Market.

We’ve always loved Mexican food,” Julia tells me. “Every time we went out to a restaurant, we’d choose Mexican. But then I would say, ‘This isn’t half as good as what you can make at home.”
Scott’s rented “day table” at the Portland Public Market included a microwave oven and an array of enchiladas displayed on tubs of ice. Scott baked his enchiladas at home, set them on ice, and allowed customers to warm them in the microwave.

“I sold out the first weekend,” Scott says. “Then I sold out again the second weekend. By the fourth weekend, I decided I wanted a permanent stall in the market.” Scott operated his El Mirador Mexican Deli at the Portland Public Market for six years.

Montecito Market Owners, Julia and Scott with "Rudy".
“I made tortilla chips like we did growing up in California, and just tossed a handful on the combo plates. Customers began requesting them by the bagful. I had a customer who liked my El Mirador chips so much she brought bags to the Cape Elizabeth IGA,” Scott recalls. “I should have given her a finder’s fee for securing the account! Our chips are still sold at that IGA only now as Montecito Roadhouse.”

Scott and Julia bought the property on 302 which had formerly been Westbrook Pool and Spa. After renovating the building, the couple is looking forward to growing their Market. It features Montecito Roadhouse tortilla chips, as well as a wide range of take-out meals and other local products, from maple syrup, mustards, salad dressings, spice packages, cheesecake and lava cake mixes, to hot sauce and salsa.

We’re trying to showcase other Maine-made products”, Scott says, “since we recognize how much hard work is behind it. There is a real respect and appreciation when local vendors go out of their way to visit and get to know their customers.” Julia has enjoyed meeting the owners of Mother’s Mountain, Jarva Cakes, Raye’s Mustard, and Coopers Maple Products.

Montecito Market’s take-out menu includes Mexican favorites such as chile rellenos, burritos, and the same enchiladas that were so popular when Scott set up his first “day table” at the Portland Public Market. However, the menu also includes other comfort foods.

“That’s part of what makes us special,” Julia explains. Chicken pot pies, Tennessee meatloaf, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and a range of soups and chilis join the Mexican meals in their take-out menu, ensuring that Montecito Market will have a delicious meal to please whomever is waiting for you at home!

Scott tells how the couple drove through Louisiana a few years ago and stopped at Café du Monde, a New Orleans landmark that specializes in beignets, the state donut of Louisiana.  Returning to Maine, Scott began making his own beignets. He is making them at Montecito Market both plain, and with various fillings including crème brulee, cream cheese, and jalapeno jelly that he makes at the Market. In the name of journalism, I made sure to sample a beignet. It was delicious enough to make me wish my morning commute followed 302!

When I asked if he missed the Santa Barbara sunshine, Scott laughed. “The sunshine gets boring,” he said. “The weather is always the same in California.”

“We do have a lot of people comment after eating Scott’s food, “This tastes just like California!” Julia adds.

We may not have Santa Barbara's sunshine but, thanks to Scott and Julia’s Montecito Roadhouse, southern Maine can now have a taste of California!

Montecito Market has had a soft opening to meet their neighbors and invites you to its Grand Opening this Saturday, October 27 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Julia and Scott and 207-856-6811 or follow them on Facebook.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Business Spotlight on Windham Christian Academy Briana Bizier
As a parent, one of the hardest decisions you face is choosing the school your children will attend. Jaclyn Sands, Principal of Windham Christian Academy (WCA), would like parents to know that academics with a Christian-based curriculum is an option, and that there are many ways to make a private education affordable.

As we sat in her office and listened to the sounds of the WCA band practicing in the shared gymnasium and worship space for the Windham Assembly of God church, Sands explained that WCA teaches students to look at Christianity as their “blueprint of life.”

The Academy offers classes from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Our pre-k program is growing in leaps and bounds,” Sands said, adding that the school is considering opening a program for three-year olds.

Overall, Windham Christian Academy has 65 students, from towns as far away as North Baldwin and Bridgton, with seven full time teachers. Part time teachers also join WCA to lead courses in math, science, Spanish, and Latin.“The kids love Latin,” Sands added.

Despite the relatively small size of their school, students at WCA are exposed to a wide variety of activities, as evidenced by the tremendous number of trophies in their lobby.

We participate in the Maine Christian Schools Sports League,” Sands explained, which gives WCA students the chance to join soccer, basketball, and disc golf teams. They also partner with other Christian schools to offer academic activities like spelling bees.

I did finally have to put some of the trophies in storage,” Sands admitted as we began our tour of the school.

When WCA students reach their final two years of high school, a dual accreditation program with Saint Joseph’s College allows them to take college classes at a fraction of the regular cost. WCA’s graduates can leave high school with as many as twelve college credits, and two of last year’s four high school graduates are currently enrolled at Saint Joseph’s, with another at the University of Southern Maine and the fourth working for his family business.

We hear great things about our students from the professors at St. Josephs,” Sands stated.

In addition to their full-time students, Windham Christian Academy partners with local families who home school their children. Their Day at WCA Home School Program welcomes home schooled students from the community to join Windham Christian Academy classes on Wednesday morning for extracurriculars such as gym, music, art, band, and library.

I was treated to some of the robust music program at WCA as Sands led me through the building and the classrooms. The school offers two public concerts a year; if you are interested in seeing the students perform, their winter concert will be held on December 13.

WCA’s focus on Christianity as the “blueprint” for life emphasizes service and giving back to the community. In addition to their academics, each grade at WCA has a specific ministry. For the kindergarten through second grade, this involves visiting the Casco Nursing Home once a month to bring crafts and sing songs. When I visited the kindergarten through second grade classroom, where the students were practicing math facts with their foster grandparent, Grandma Nancy, teacher Mrs. Dodd showed me the paper scarecrows the class created to share with the nursing home.

My first graders are very excited to start spelling,” Mrs. Dodd said, with a smile.

Third and fourth graders join the Windham Matters ministry with the Windham Assembly of God, where they provide monthly snacks and encouragement to public servants such as police officers and fire fighters. The fifth and sixth grades help unload donations and stock shelves at the Casco Alliance Food Pantry, while the seventh and eighth grade classes have a ministry dubbed “LOL” where they learn to juggle and perform magic tricks, occasionally involving a real rabbit or dove, in order to spread a ministry of laughter and levity to the community. This month, “LOL” will be visiting Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.

As a parent,” Sands adds, telling me her two children are also students at WCA, “I love knowing that my children are safe, and knowing they’re cared for.”

If you are interested in Windham Christian Academy, please contact Jaclyn Sands at (207) 892-2244 or visit

Friday, October 12, 2018

Business Spotlight: The Beauty Barr

By Lorraine Glowczak

Are you confused with today’s terminology surrounding hair color?  Balayage, Root Shadowing, Multi-Dimensional, and Session Work?  If so, then the newly established salon, The Beauty Barr, located at 57 Tandberg Trail, Suite 7 in Windham may be the solution and attention your once beautiful hair needs. Amy Barr, the owner and stylist with over 30 years of experience is just the person who can provide that professional touch that will turn the heads of your friends, family and coworkers.

“I love making people feel good and there is nothing like a great color and cut to do just that,” stated Barr. “Hair is an accessory that is meant to be changed and updated from time to time in order for an individual, and their hair, to remain fresh and alive.”

Barr officially opened her own salon on September 4th. “Although I enjoyed and had a great time renting my own booth and managing at other hair salons, I was ready for the next big step in my career.”

Barr’s career has expanded and grown in three decades. She is trained professionally with a concentration on hair coloring.  She is also an educator, teaching a four-day color certification program with Coastline Enterprises through KoLab Education.

When speaking with Barr, it is very evident that she is passionate about hair color and making sure her guests, as she refers to her business clients, get the best service possible. “I do a very thorough consultation with my guests,” she explained. “I determine the fabric of the individual’s hair and the lifestyle one prefers. I discover whether my guests want a ‘get up and go’ approach or if they enjoy taking an extra 10 minutes or so in the morning to add a little flair to their hair.”

During your consultation, Barr can determine her guests’ hair characteristics and preferences.  From there, she works closely with them to meet their ideal color and cut. “We [the guest and I] will work together to achieve their goals and ideals, usually based upon a picture that was discussed during the consultation,” she explained. Sometimes these goals require session work.

Barr extends her consulting services to include skin tone analysis that helps a guest to determine and choose the best hair color for their palette, enhancing the individual’s authentic beauty. “I discover which ‘season’ my guest’s skin undertone is and from there we determine the color and tone that appears best for that individual.”

As part of the hair coloring process, Barr uses a warm steamer. “It is much like a hair dryer, but uses moist heat, an effective tool, which is less time consuming.”

Barr also provides an “at home hair guide” with suggestions on Ph balanced products to maintain their color and cut to the utmost in between appointments.

Barr educates her guests about the science behind hair and hair color, thus recommending shampoos and conditioners which are best for the user. “There is a big difference between curly hair and straight hair,” Barr explained. “Straight hair lacks protein and thus a protein-based product is recommended. Curly hair is dry in nature and therefore, I recommend a moisture-based product.”  Barr also believes clarifying one’s hair is the most important thing one can do to maintain healthier hair.

One may wonder how Barr remembers all the details of her individual guests and their hair care needs. “I keep thorough records,” she stated. “That way, I know what I have discussed with my guests, what we have learned together, and what the next step may be.”

Whatever your hair care needs, book a consultation with Barr today.  If treating yourself to a clarifying and deep conditioning treatment with steam processing is what you are looking for, mention the ad below when booking the appointment to receive the discount. This discount is available until December 31st, 2018.

The Beauty Barr is open on Mondays by appointment, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Make an appointment today and fall in love with your hair all over again. Call Amy Barr at 207-809-7009.


Friday, October 5, 2018

Business Spotlight: Clark Insurance Lorraine Glowczak

Clark Insurance is not your average, run of the mill insurance agency. Besides being able to meet important insurance needs for business, personal, life and health insurance, there are two things that give the company an edge above the rest - commitment to community involvement and the integrity among staff.

“One of the core values at Clark Insurance is giving back to our communities,” stated James Brissenden, Director of Business Development. “We participate and give back in areas that allow individuals to achieve independence through efforts and organizations that provide food, shelter, clothing, education and wellness.”

Community involvement is only one important contributing factor that makes Clark Insurance one of Maine’s largest, independently owned agencies a leader in the insurance business. Clark Insurance has been an employee owned company since 1992, a defining characteristic of Clark’s culture of teamwork. Then, in 2016, the officers of the company made the decision to transition into a 100% Employee Owned Company.

“Employee Stock Ownership provides a culture that attracts the right type of individual who is engaged in helping others,” explained Brissenden. “Clark Insurance’s employee/owners not only help through community efforts but have the ability and foresight to identify clients’ needs and find solutions that the customer can afford. They have these characteristics because they care and have integrity. That’s the type of individual Clark Insurance attracts.”

Presently, Clark Insurance has 110 employees from offices in Portland, Saco, Windham, Gorham as well as Manchester, NH and Lowell, MA. It started out as a small company by Richard Clark in Monument Square in Portland 87 years ago.

Darlene Lacadie (pictured here) and Dianne Baggs are available to meet all the insurance needs of Windham, Raymond and other Lakes Region residents.
“Clark began as a small business in an office at Monument Square,” began Brissenden. “We kept growing and were required to move a number of times to bigger spaces to accommodate our success and growth.” That continued success and growth is what led Clark to open its doors in Windham in 1972.

The latest move occurred in March of this year to a newly constructed building at 1945 Congress Street. “We now have a conference room available that has been designed for community use,” stated Brissenden. “The room is dedicated to our past President, Richard Clark, and has been used thus far by organizations such as The American Red Cross, Spurwink, Woodfords Family Services, the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as the Maine Real Estate Development Association.”

Presently, the Windham branch is located at 766 Roosevelt Trail with its offices in the Gorham Savings Bank branch. Darlene Lacadie and Dianne Baggs, Sales and Service Account Managers, are available for the insurance needs of the Windham, Raymond and surrounding Lake Region residents. Both Lacadie and Baggs have been providing personal insurance services as well as coordinating business, life, health insurance as well as employee benefits for the past 20 years.

You may see them around town as they are actively involved in the Lakes Region community. Lacadie is the President of her BNI-Maine Windham Chapter, a local marketing and referral organization. She has also participated in the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce’s Amazing Chase event that raises funds for the Feed the Need campaign and has also contributed $1,000 toward the Windham Food Pantry the past couple of years.

They both enjoy working and volunteering in the Lakes Region community. “My favorite thing is being local,” stated Lacadie. “Building relationships with local people, where they can stop in and have a conversation, without an appointment. You can also bump into them at the grocery store and because you’ve invested time into them, they know you and feel comfortable saying hello.”

Lacadie and Baggs are an example of the many employees/owners that make up the Clark Insurance team. They are committed to their customers and are dedicated to Clark Insurance’s guiding principles of ethical behavior, professionalism, respect, passion, knowledge, experience, and teamwork.

For those in the greater Windham, Raymond and other Lakes Region area who are interested in learning more about the many benefits Clark Insurance has to offer, can contact Lacadie and Baggs at 892-8541 or