Friday, January 25, 2019

Business Spotlight on Windham Work Lounge Gayle Plummer

Windham Work Lounge, Windham’s first co-working facility will be opening soon! A growing Windham will soon have space to offer people, with creative business ideas; a place to go to develop their businesses without necessarily taking the large financial risks of renting individual office spaces. 

 “We want people envisioning a comfortable, stylish business community atmosphere with amenities rather than thinking about office cubicles. Co-working spaces are the next logical progression in evolving an ideal work environment and we are pumped to be creating one for Windham” stated Kate Hebold, start-up manager for Windham Work Lounge. She continued, “The hours will vary depending on the membership type that one purchases. Our Basic Members will have key fobs (small security key device) that grant access from 6 am to 6 pm. However, we have great private offices available as well, and those tenants will have increased accessibility to their suites. Along with more accessibility, they will also be entitled to the same basic member benefits such as booking conference rooms, a kitchen, the co-working area and the outside patio. The private office suites upstairs are ideal for people who are more established in their business fields but still would like to walk out of their offices and feel the energy of being amongst their creative peers, all pursuing their own unique goals.”

Dennis Strout, (Contact/Team Member) has a recently vacated building that wasn’t being utilized.  After some discussions with locals and friends, such as Thomas Bartell, Director of Economic Development in Windham, Dennis realized how much enthusiastic support and input was forthcoming and it didn’t take long to start working on this concept, due to this motivating idea that Windham could definitely benefit from such a place.

Kate Hebold
The team that has been putting all the pieces in place consists of Strout, Hebold and Andreas Aronsson, who is the web site creator.

And now, this team is setting up for their open house scheduled for Wednesday, February 27 from 1 pm to 5 pm and they are located at 102 Tandberg Trail, Windham.

Strout and Hebold agreed that the agenda of a co-working venue is not really to be standing around talking; yet there is always going to be a natural type of networking that will be taking place that can help, inspire or connect some of the folks within the co-working facility.

As an example Hebold shared that she and her brother did exactly that in another co-working facility. “My brother and I are business partners in an asset management company and we frequently book times to catch up, at a private conference room in the Portland co-working facility, Cloud Port; I highly recommend folks check it out. A conference room there can easily be booked remotely; and this is a service that we will also have available at Windham Work Lounge. It feels great to just roll in, grab a free coffee and have a private room all reserved for your business needs. While we were there, my brother met an individual who was a great web designer and a creative thinker. We liked connecting with him immediately, both in passing and during lunch. My brother really appreciated his ideas and his vibe, so it was effortless to ask if he could assist us with a website and ad campaign.

Andreas Aronsson
Knowing this person up front took the sting or risk out of commissioning a site blindly or via the arduous process of: finding someone online, setting up a meeting, then hoping it was a fit; if it wasn’t a good match, then one would have to find a diplomatic way of saying ‘we are not interested or this is not a good fit.’ A co-working atmosphere can lend itself to some simple networking that will take some of this kind of stress off.”

Strout and Hebold feel that the Windham Work Lounge will play to its strengths of being located in a rural town. For instance, there is the large, backyard patio area where folks can work, meet or run workshops. The more secluded area will lend itself to a membership application process where the team will accept a limited number of folks and create a more robust intake process that will provide harmony and safety. The team is also looking to acquire some local artisan furniture and artwork that will harmonize with their theme. They would like to offer the furniture for sale by consignment as well. They are motivated by the area’s talent and feel they want to promote local folks to get their crafts out into the world.

Strout and Hebold agreed that, “Mainly, we just want Windham to have what most cities have access to: an affordable space for a diverse group of people who are just looking to foster their ideas in a professional, comfortable, sustainable atmosphere.”

To learn more about this new work space, contact Dennis Strout, Windham Work Lounge, 102 Tandberg Trail, Windham by calling 207-712-7889 or email at or visit their website, which will soon be found at

Friday, January 18, 2019

Business Spotlight on Maine Dance Center Gayle Plummer

The new year is here and many of us have some fresh new goals or visions for ourselves, or maybe we just want to perfect something we love doing - maybe dance. There is a new business in the area that can help. If you have or someone you know has a love for dance, then the new Maine Dance Center (MDC) is very close by and would love to help. Center Stage Performing Arts, ran for 15 years and is now under new management and has a new name. It is now the Maine Dance Center and it is in the same location in the Raymond Shopping Plaza, and now entering its 16th year.

Rhiannon Pelletier, Artistic Director of the Maine Dance Center has been completely dedicated to dance for as long as she can remember. Rhiannon has been classically trained in ballet by Linda MacArthur Miele (a former pupil of George Balanchine and Artistic Director of the Maine State Ballet). She has also been formally trained in tap, jazz and musical theater.

“Our focus at MDC is for all of our students to develop a lifelong love of dance. Anyone, at any age, can enjoy dancing and our goal is to nourish that joy in a wholesome family environment; while encouraging our more serious students to become the best dancers they can be. We offer an educational, challenging and fun classroom environment, conducted by an outstanding teaching faculty,” Rhiannon said.

About the faculty, Rhiannon reports that, “Maine Dance Center has added some of the greatest talents in the state to our team. In our first year we have quickly established a diverse, yet cohesive team of professionals that are passionate about their work and want nothing more than to see their students thrive. The emphasis here is that this dance center is fresh, redesigned and revamped; it is not the same dance studio it was before. However, at the same time, there are many of the same, familiar faces that the community knows and loves. We all have a clear vision for what we want to do at MDC.”

Rhiannon’s background is extensive with experiences that demonstrate her love of dance. She was born, raised and trained in Maine; and reached the pinnacle of her ballet career in her home state by achieving the title of Principal Ballerina with the Maine State Ballet at the age of 19. She was one of the youngest dancers to join the Maine State Ballet Company at age 14.

By age 21 she expanded her repertoire to include roles such as: Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty,” Swanhilda in “Coppelia,” Sugar Plum and Dew Drop in “The Nutcracker,” Kitri in “Don Quixote. She was also soloist in Balanchine’s “Serenade,” Princess Odette and Odile in “Swan Lake.”
This spring she will add the title role of “Cinderella” to her repertoire. She has been in programs with the American Academy of Ballet, Boston Ballet and continues to expand her training by attending workshops in Portland, Boston and New York. She has taught classes with local studios for over eight years and loves working with children of all ages.

Rhiannon Pelletier
Rhiannon also has a passion for entrepreneurship. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College in writing/publishing and a minor in business administration. She runs her own online business as well as balancing Maine Dance Center and her involvement with Maine State Ballet. However, Rhiannon says, “Maine Dance Center is the first priority for me because I’m thrilled to be able to give back to the Southern Maine community through an art form that has given me so much.”

There is excitement in the air as Maine Dance Center will be releasing the summer schedule very soon. They will be hosting a Leap! Camp and a Princess Camp for little ones. There are many guest teachers planned as well as a lot of fun projects coming this summer!

To learn more or to register for classes call 207-655-1600, email or visit The studio is open weekdays from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Business Spotlight on White Rock Outboard Auto and Marine Gayle Plummer

What do little girls and auto, marine and recreational products have in common? Well, the answer is plenty! At least that’s how it is when it comes to owner, Sally Gherardi and her successful, family-owned business that is located at 351 Sebago Lake Road in Gorham on Route 237. “I basically grew up at the shop with my Dad, so I’ve been around the business all my life.  I have had the opportunity over the years to learn about the business and take that knowledge and apply it today,” Sally tells us.

Sally’s parents, George and Brenda Gherardi started the business in 1969 by selling Snow Prince and Moto Ski snowmobiles. Later they took on Glassmaster boats and Chrysler outboards and boats. In 1989 George and Brenda added the Manitou pontoon boat line, since they were starting to be a popular choice for boaters. It was in 1993 they began selling Stingray power boats and in 1997 added the Arctic Cat line of snowmobiles and ATVs to the inventory; along with all the parts and accessories to go with each line they carried. The business still sells Manitou pontoon boats, Arctic Cat snowmobiles and ATVs, Stingray power boats and Mercury outboards today.

White Rock Outboard Auto and Marine is a full service repair shop for all of the products they sell, including Ariens snow blowers along with other small engines.

Sally Gherardi
“All of our current employees have considerable work experience in their fields and are the “best of the best”. Customers come back to us repeatedly due to the exceptional service they receive. We are very well known for our service,” Sally shared.

Sally said, “When my folks owned the business my Dad would always go that extra mile to make a customer happy; whether it meant staying open later or delivering a boat after hours. I want to make sure customers have that same experience in the years to come.”  Surpassing customers’ expectations is what White Rock Outboard staff strives for; and they want the experience to be fun for the customer as well.

Just some of the services offered are: Winterization and storage, de-winterization, boat detailing, fiberglass/gelcoat repair, emergency pick-up, tire repair/installation, shrink wrapping, summarization, full engine repair, pre-season inspections and boat launch/haul out service; just to name a few. The sales department for all units offers both new and used units to sell and White Rock offers the latest innovations in boating technology.

Sally says, “I plan to continue running the business as it currently is, with the hopes of expanding the used car sales portion. We have been a used car dealer for over 30 years and I would like to see that continue into the future. One thing that makes us stand out above other similar businesses is our Service Department. Not only do we service snowmobiles, ATVs and boats but we also have a complete Automotive Service Bay. We do anything from alignments and brakes, to engine and drive train repair. We have a highly qualified mechanic, Brian Bragg who has been with us since 1995. All of our technicians take pride in the work they do and strive to complete jobs in a timely manner. All of my employees are always willing to help out when needed. We continue to earn new customers through word of mouth from people not only in the area, but also out of state.”

This year will mark 50 years of business for White Rock Outboard. Come join in the big celebration planned for the end of the summer or early fall! The 40 year celebration was a huge success and White Rock is inviting all of their customers, and potential customers, to come have lunch with them and help them celebrate 50 years of being a family owned/operated business. Sally says she is very much looking forward to this year’s big event!

Please feel free to visit their website at: for more information.
Their hours are: Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 until 2:00 p.m.  Email address:, or call them at: 207/892-9606.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Business Spotlight on Mattress By Appointment Gayle Plummer

There are always the typical large purchases we all must make in life: cars, appliances, furniture and mattresses. Usually those buying experiences are not fun experiences for us. After all, they require research, dealing with aggressive sales people (most times) and of course, parting with a large amount of our hard-earned cash.

One new business in the area is helping the community alleviate all the above problems when it’s time to buy a mattress. Dewey and Denise Kopenga are a husband/wife team who has opened Mattress By Appointment in the Windham Mall (near Smitty’s) at 795 Roosevelt Trail.
Dewey and Denise have another store in Biddeford that has been open for a year and they offer all the major brands at far below traditional retail costs. They can offer 50 to 80 percent off retail prices every day.

Dewey states that they maintain extremely low overhead by reducing high overhead costs. They have no employees, large fancy storefronts and they don’t run expensive TV ads or do any major advertising. Dewey says, “Our store is no frills. You won’t see balloons, free coffee and cookies or sales people in suits here; we keep our prices low by cutting costs and keeping overhead as low as possible. Also, we have huge buying power with the manufacturers, every mattress is made in the United States and they all come with warranties.”

Mattress By Appointment offers a wide variety of mattresses. Styles include pillow tops to gels and everything in between and in twin, full, queen and king sizes. They can also offer special sizes for campers, camps and summer homes.

Box springs or foundations are always included in the price and they also offer delivery, in most cases, the same day.

“We want folks to have a smooth, easy, stress-free transaction,” shared Denise. “Let’s face it, buying a new mattress is not fun for anybody. If you let us help you, we can save you money, time and stress by using our formula which is:  Step 1-Call or Text 207-423-8434. Step 2-Come in and choose your mattress. Step 3-Take it home or have it delivered. We do offer financing with a $40 down /100 days, same as cash financing. That’s all there is to it.”

Owners, Denise and Dewey Kopenga
Because their storefront is pretty much non-existent, Dewey reported that, “. . . at first some people were skeptical of the business model but once inside they quickly change their minds and they came out with extra money in their pocket and a new, quality mattress to sleep on in approximately 10 -15 minutes, which is typically all the time it takes.”

Dewey and Denise had both come from the corporate world, for over 20 years, when they became interested in the mattress business. Dewey says, “We wanted to be involved in a business that would allow us to spend more time with the family while offering a product that everybody needs at a fair price. With Mattress By Appointment, I feel that it is a win/win situation for us and the customer.”

Dewey and Denise are excited to serve this community as they have been doing in Biddeford for the past year; and they are hoping to grow their business to other southern Maine locations over time.

You can find lots of great reviews on Facebook and you are invited to visit the website at: or call for an appointment at: (207)423-8434. Visit both locations: 1) Windham @795 Roosevelt Trail, Windham Mall; 2) 40 Main St. Biddeford – Inside the Pepperell Mill.