Friday, June 28, 2019

Business Spotlight: The Sebago Center’s ‘From Our Roots’ Summer Event Series at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine Lorraine Glowczak

Whether you are a year-round resident or a visitor who is vacationing in the Sebago Lakes Region for the first time, summer in Maine is a perfect place for creating memories with family and friends. 

Whether your preference is music performed at outdoor lakeside venues, a family-style cookout with yard games, a moonlight kayaking adventure or enjoying locally grown foods made by culinary artists and served in a six-course fashion, The Sebago Center at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is for you. The center and its ‘From Our Roots’ initiative will provide remarkable summer opportunities to help you create fond memories that will last for a lifetime.

Briefly, The Sebago Center is a learning destination located on the campus of Saint Joseph’s College, 278 Whites Bridge Road in Standish that sits on Maine’s second-largest lake, Sebago Lake. 

“The purpose of The Sebago Center and its ‘From Our Roots’ summer event series is to gather the community together with the intention of strengthening the local food systems – all the while supporting the regional talents of culinary artists and musicians” stated Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Saint Joseph’s College, Peter Nielsen. “One way we accomplish this is hosting a series of summer events, using the many resources available on the Saint Joseph’s College campus.”

The following are social and enriching activities scheduled throughout the summer:

Outdoor Concerts:
A variety of American roots musicians will make their appearance on campus this summer. The evenings will include farm-inspired, pizza handcrafted with ingredients grown and raised by local farmers, as well as a selection of craft and domestic beer and wine – all with the intention of providing an intimate concert and food experience. With the exception of the first and last concerts, performances will take place outside at the Normandy-style Stone Barn every Sunday beginning July 7 with the last performance on August 25. Start times are 4:30 p.m. The first concert performed by The Ballroom Thieves and the last concert performed by Muddy Ruckus will be located on the campus’s lakeside beach.  FMI and to purchase tickets:

Whether it's an outdoor cookout, a concert, a moonlight paddle
 or an elegant dining experience - the 'From Our Roots"
series at Saint Joseph's College will provide summer fun
for everyone in the Lakes Region area.
‘From Our Roots’ will also offer weekly backyard barbecues at the Stone Barn, farm-to-table, style. The cookouts will be prepared outdoors with live action fire cooking using foods foraged nearby and sourced from Lakes Region farms. Picnic tables will be available, but one can bring their own blanket to have a full picnic-style experience. Lawn games are available for both adults and children, providing a perfect experience for the whole family. “As a mother with three young children, I get to have a relaxed and laid-back meal with my husband while our kids run and play with others,” stated Senior Director of Customer Experience, Ashley O’Brion. “The cookouts are a great way for parents to have a hassle-free dinner in an easy-going atmosphere. It is also a way to meet other young families in the community, too. I have already met a few people while our children played lawn games together.” The cookouts are offered every Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the food is purchased at the event a la carte. FMI:

Stone Barn Dinners:
For a more elegant culinary experience, ‘From Our Roots’ will offer a six-course farm-to-table meal that will include the season’s local harvest. Esteemed Chef, Mary Paine will craft a meal with her finds from local farmers and fishermen. The sustainably sourced foods will be served fresh with wine, providing an opportunity to connect with local farmers who are shaping the local food movement. The dinners are offered on Thursdays beginning a 6 p.m. FMI on costs, reservations and dates:

Lake Side Experiences:
For those who enjoy kayaking on the lake under the night sky, ‘From Our Roots’ will offer guided moonlight paddles. The event will begin an hour before sunset with a campfire on the beach as experienced guides prepare participants for the adventure. Kayaks will be provided.
If being on the water is not your thing but you appreciate astronomy, a stargazing opportunity awaits. Led by faculty astronomer, Dr. Ryan Dorland, guests of all ages will enjoy looking through telescopes set up along the shore of Sebago Lake as Dr Dorland shares his knowledge of the night sky. FMI:

The Sebago Center and the ‘From Our Roots’ initiative along with the activities it offers, acts as the cultural intersection of Portland’s urban population hub and western Maine’s rural communities. “Without having to travel to Portland or Boston, a fun cultural experience is right here in our own backyard,” O’Brion said. “Saint Joseph’s offers so much in the areas of local food systems, culinary art, music and nature. These shared values and enriching experiences are what bring a community together.”

Let the Sebago Center’s ‘From Our Roots’ series events create summer memories for your family and friends, while at the same time, making a new friend or two in the process.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Business Spotlight: Pawsitive Canine Care and Training, LLC Lorraine Glowczak

Although there are an abundance of doggie day cares in our midst who provide attention for our lovable pooches as we go about our busy work schedules, Pawsitive Canine Care and Training at 301 Roosevelt Trail in Windham is a step above the rest. How?

“There are no official certifications or regulations in Maine in regard to dog training and care,” stated KT Benard, who co-owns Pawsitive Canine with her husband Jon. KT is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT - KA). “To be certified takes about 500 hours of training and study as well as a four-hour intensive examination process that is difficult to pass.”

Not only does KT hold herself accountable, nurturing the four-legged among us - but her employees are also either certified or are working toward their certification through internships, providing the same meticulous care.

“Since there is a lack of regulation, we want to become a dog training facility, offering internship opportunities for those who wish to become certified in dog care,” KT said. “We provide opportunities for our staff to attend seminars and work closely with local veterinarians when medical intervention is necessary. Our staff is CPR trained and we have veterinary assistants on board with us. All of this, in turn, provides the ultimate and individualized care for the dogs who stay with us.”

Pawsitive Canine Care and Training’s “cut above the rest” proficiency doesn’t end there. Not only is certification the key to their success, but hands-on knowledge and compassion play an important role, too. In addition to being certified, KT, Jon and employees also have long-term experiences with animal care.

For KT, her experiences began at the age of 18 when she worked at a dog daycare center. “From that center, I adopted a pit bull,” she began. “I named her Diamond and she provided the greatest training possible for my future career. In fact, she is the motivating force in creating Pawsitive Canine Care and Training.”
Owners KT and Jon Benard with their family

Although her calling in life was dog care, KT became a behavioral health care specialist working with homeless youth for the State of Maine. “As part of their personal recovery process, I was steering the children to work with dogs in shelters. It dawned on me after a while, that I was actually steering myself in that direction.”

She left the field of young adult behavioral health and moved toward her vocation, assisting with dog adoption and behavioral training, working at various dog care centers, pet shops, shelters and veterinarian hospitals in the greater Portland area.

Jon, who is also trained as a behavioral health care specialist, had passion toward working with dogs, too. Due to Jon and KT’s mutual inclination for dog care, their paths crossed, and they began working together in business and …in life, eventually getting married. And thus, their dream of working together caring for dogs began.

Pawsitive Canine offers a variety of services from your typical doggie daycare and training options to more complicated behavioral health assistance. One of the most challenging, and yet endearing, stories include that of Walt “Walty” Whitman, a canaan – which is a very ancient breed from the Middle East. Molly Chancey and her husband, Michael, of Portland explain how KT and Jon prevented Walty from a death sentence.

“I credit KT and Jon with saving Walty’s life,” Molly began. “He was a sick, starving, traumatized puppy when my daughter rescued him from a war refugee zone in Amman, Jordan. She brought him to us when he was six months old. We love dogs, but after a while we were ready to give up. Walty was aggressive, fearful, and unpredictable. KT was recommended to us, and she worked with us to transform the situation. I am thrilled they have opened their business. They have made it possible for us to start healing this sweet dog’s life!  I can never thank them enough.”

KT and Jon’s level of knowledge, caring and commitment to a dog’s life and that of their owners is impeccable. In just six months’ time after opening their doors in December, the Benard’s business has grown rapidly. They, along with certified trainer, Mim Coward (CPDT-KA) currently offer a variety of training services to include but are not limited to: Puppy Socialization and Manners, The Adolescent Dog, Family Dog and Adult Manners, Shy Dog Training and much, much more. For more information, call 207-893-8676, email at or peruse their website at

If Walty’s story still does not convince you, perhaps Kate DiBiase, whose three dogs enjoy time spent at Pawsitive Canine, will: “We never have to worry if our babies are being taken care of. We drop them off in the morning and can go about our day. Everyone is super friendly and helpful, consistently going above and beyond. We always look forward to the end of the day, when we receive the report card- with pictures of them playing, notes of what they did, and who they played with. We are so grateful to have Pawsitive Canine in our lives.” 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Business spotlight: Shamos Paving and Sealcoating the business world, a company’s growth is not only a sign of success but indicates quality work
that is trusted by the community at large. Shamos Paving and Sealcoating has done just that, creating a reliable name for itself in the sealcoating industry – and now - in the paving business as well, providing both services to residential and commercial clients.

Andy Shamos first began his sealcoating company when he was only 18 years old. It was his summer job and he was able to make it successful through his college years. Shamos was a special education teacher for five years, doing sealcoating during the summer until 2011, when he moved the company to fulltime.

“I enjoy it. I liked growing it, so I stuck with it,” Shamos said. Shamos Paving and Sealcoating now has 12 employees, the most they have had, which includes a fulltime office manager and a fulltime estimator. And – they are still hiring!

His crews not only work on patching, sealing, crack filling and line striping anything from a small path to a 100,000 square foot commercial parking lot but also provide pavement services as well.
Last year, we added paving to our list of options,” explained Shamos. “Not only did I have the vision to expand my services to include paving, but it was often requested by many of our clients so it seemed like the perfect time to move forward.”

Providing meticulous customer service is their key to success. “One thing that we pride ourselves on is our attention to detail - from the first phone call, right up to the completed project - we focus on the big things, and the little things,” stated Office Manager, Katie Sherman. “When it comes to sealcoating a driveway, or repairing a parking lot, or installing a new driveway - the details are what matter the most, and we work really hard to ensure our customers are satisfied with our work. We’ll be carrying over that same attention to detail, and satisfied customer mentality, to our paving side of the company, too.”

Shamos is a value to the community and a benefit for the individual families from a convenience factor. If the homeowner doesn’t have the time or skills to do the sealing, they can rely on us while they go do something they enjoy like head to the beach or go play a game of golf. “You can hire us to come take care of it,” Shamos said. “The homeowner doesn’t have to worry about anything.”
Whether one is a sealcoating customer or a paving client, satisfaction is guaranteed.

"In my 20s, I sealed close to 500 driveways with a large outfit, and can recognize a quality job,” stated a sealcoating client, Jeremy T. “These guys were spot on with the prep and detail work around the house, steps, doors, and walkways. The transition lines from hand to spray were great and the fine work around the concrete was perfect. The modern estimation, quote, invoice system was top notch. Really happy with the work and the price.”

Owner, Andy Shamos
The same high quality work is admired by the following paving customer. “"Amazing work,” stated Karen W. “From the first phone call to the estimate at our home to the finale of the stakes out across the end of our driveway today, this was a very good experience. All the crew was friendly and very reliable. So respectful and professional, I cannot thank them enough for their work. Highly recommended.”

Shamos Paving and Sealcoating uses a commercial grade sealer and provides high quality paving products with precision. If a client is looking for a professional who is insured, Shamos fits that bill. “It’s important to have good people around to take care of the clients,” he said. Because of that, he takes care of his employees with health insurance.

 “Call us if you’re looking to get the best service for the best price. When comparing apples to apples, we do more for your dollar,” he said. Shamos Paving and Sealcoating warranties their work for a year for any defects of sealcoating. “We stand by our work.” They did over 900 jobs last summer and still remained detailed oriented, providing the type of service people trust.  In Maine, these values mean something, he said. “If you want quick and cheap, you aren’t our customers.”

For more information or to receive a free estimate, call 1-800-DRIVEWAY, visit or call 207-749-7058.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Business Spotlight: School Street Pub and Grill Lorraine Glowczak

Known as the pub with a twist, School Street Pub and Grill located at 29 School Street in Gorham lives up to its motto. On the surface, it may appear to serve the typical pub fare, but unlike most pub and grills, the menu not only contains signature food options – much of the choices are made to order and from scratch.   
Owner, Matt Troiano takes pride in their high-quality and reasonably priced menu options. “Everything is made from scratch here,” he began. “For example, the breading on our chicken tenders is made right here in the kitchen. They do not come frozen with breading already on them to be thrown quickly in the fryer. We pride ourselves to take the time to do it right.”

This family-friendly pub and grill is in the center of the quaint and quiet town of Gorham. Into its third year as the town’s go to pub, Troiano became owner approximately eight months ago. “I’ve been here since School Street Pub opened its door,” Troiano said. “I was the bar manager and when the previous owner was ready to sell, he approached me – and I couldn’t refuse.”

Troiano, who is originally from New York, has been in the hospitality business since his college years. He attended Champlain College in Burlington, VT and while working on his degree in pre-law, he worked his way through college by being employed at various restaurants.

In 2010, Troiano moved to Portland and continued working in the hospitality industry, working his way up to manager positions. When School Street Pub was available for purchase, he was ready to take the next step.

Owner, Matt Troiano
Part of that next step is to make School Street Pub and Grill the best it can be. The pub is already a local favorite for many reasons. Molly Adams who frequents the pub on a regular basis stated that it not only offers a family-friendly dining experience, but it is also the perfect place to meet friends for an adult beverage, conversation and laughter. “The cooks always make sure the food is consistent while the bartenders keep a close eye on whether a customer is ready for a drink refill.”

Although a local family-friendly pub favorite, Troiano would like to see more people from out of town enjoy everything they have to offer. It’s starting to happen. “I received a review online from a Portland couple who visited us recently,” Troiano began. “The review stated that it was not only nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of downtown Portland but that they had enjoyed the atmosphere and the food, too – which was of the same quality they would find in Portland. The 20-minute drive was worth it, they said in the review.”

With menu options from pan roasted shrimp and scallops with wilted greens and garlic mashed potatoes and pan-seared steak tips prepared as ordered to chicken wings, poutine, mussels, deep-friend Brussel sprouts and pub nachos, - all made with fresh ingredients and from scratch - everyone’s preferences can be met.

“We also have a few vegetarian options,” Troiano said. “A favorite is the ‘Beyond’ burger. I have to convince people that it is vegetarian because it is so hardy.” As the menu states, the “Beyond” burger is “certified vegan, no soy, no gluten, no GMO – no joke!”

And there’s more. “They offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights with no cover charge so if you feel like dancing, this is a fun locale to do so,” Adams said. Plus, there is music bingo on Wednesday nights, pub trivia on Tuesday nights and on the second Saturday of every month is comedy night.

Last but not least, a pub is not a pub without adult beverage options. School Street Pub and Grill offers 16 local and domestic brews on tap as well as the usual variety of liquor options with one popular signature drink that has become the local favorite – the Dirty Pickle Martini – made with the brine from the house made pickles – no preservatives and no food coloring.

Whether you live in Portland, Windham, Raymond or other Lake Region communities, be sure to check out this local favorite destination in the quiet town of Gorham. The drive will be worth it as you experience the pub with a twist.

Hours for the School Street Pub and Grill are Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, peruse their website at call at 207-222-8090.