Friday, May 29, 2020

Business Spotlight: Busy Bee Laundromat who’s spent any time in Windham and Raymond has probably visited the Busy Bee Laundromat in Windham and knows of its longevity in business and reputation as the place to go in town when you need to wash and dry clothes.
Owner George Bartlett has operated Busy Bee for the past 35 years and as times have changed, he says the laundry business has too. Busy Bee’s vast array of washers and dryers still accept coins as the traditional method of payment, but now also take debit and credit cards.

Washers and dryers are more powerful and more energy efficient than ever and the customary method of dry cleaning has been discarded in favor of a safer and more environmentally friendly way of cleaning materials using water instead of dangerous chemicals.

Busy Bee Laundromat’s Natasha McFarland, left,
 and George Bartlett, are ready to assist the public
with resolving cleaning issues for fabrics and clothing.
 Busy Bee is open seven days a week and has
 launched a new pick-up and delivery service
for the Windham and Raymond area.
Bartlett said that through the years Busy Bee has evolved from a simple self-service coin laundry into a high-tech, highly efficient cleaning company featuring the newest high-efficiency washers and dryers available.
And Busy Bee has also made the transition to using the new standard process for cleaning clothing and materials called “wet cleaning.”
Water has been a normal cleaning solution, but many garments had problems with water cleaning. Over the years many solvents evolved to replace water as the cleaning medium,” Bartlett said. “The original solvent was petroleum and the term dry cleaning developed since water and petroleum do not mix. Eventually a solution called perchlorethane became the solvent of choice and has been used for decades since it cleaned better, faster, and safer than petroleum.”
According to Bartlett, with today’s focus and emphasis on the environment, the use of chemical solvents in dry cleaning have become unacceptable.
“Enter the digital age where we can now control the agitation, heat, drying times as well as the amount of moisture left in the garment to eliminate shrinkage,” Bartlett said. “Reenter water as the cleaner of choice. We can now safely clean delicate fabrics such as wool, silk, rayon and many synthetics with our highly refined cleaning system. This also means we use less energy, less water and the results are nicer looking and nicer feeling garments.”
Serving the public and helping everyone find affordable and available laundry solutions is key to the continued success of the Busy Bee Laundromat.
“My father was in business for many years and he gave me some great advice. He told me that a business goes through ups and downs and the best way to keep a business going is to serve the people,” Bartlett said. “That’s exactly what we do here.”

Located at 771 Roosevelt Trail, Suite 7, in the Windham Shopping Plaza, Busy Bee is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week during the spring, winter and fall months and remains open until 10 p.m. during the busy summer tourist and camp season.

Busy Bee Manager Natasha McFarland has worked for the laundromat for nearly two decades and said that everyone who walks in through the doors to Busy Bee finds a clean and safe facility with friendly and knowledgeable staff.

“It’s a small business and we really get to know our customers and their needs and preferences,” she said.

To assist the community further, Busy Bee has established a new and convenient 10-mile pick-up and delivery service in the Windham and Raymond areas, McFarland said.  

“To arrange for the pick-up and delivery service, all a customer has to do is come in to the laundromat and set up an account,” she said.

As a mechanical engineer, Bartlett says he’s always striving to find the best way to solve cleaning problem and has learned the latest and top techniques for cleaning garments through constant schooling, seminars and personal experience.

“Many people come in with stains and problems that need our expertise and specialized equipment to help solve,” he said. “We’re here to help and everyone leaves here as a friend.”

For more information about Busy Bee Laundromat, call 892-5914 or visit  <

Friday, May 22, 2020

Business Spotlight: Maine Locksmith Service

For generations, area residents have come to rely on the Crommie Family for quality locksmith and automotive ignition services, but now in addition to that expertise, the Crommies have become a dealership offering Old Hickory Buildings for sale at competitive pricing.
Alec Wurfel has joined his grandfather, Martin Crommie, and his father, Kirk Crommie, in showcasing a vast inventory of Old Hickory Buildings at the Maine Locksmith Services and the Windham display lot at 459 Roosevelt Trail just north of the Route 302 and Route 202 rotary.

Wurfel said that Old Hickory Buildings produce prefabricated structures nationwide and in Canada and are a leader in the portable storage industry providing dependable storage solutions of highest quality for customers.
“We know there are certainly a lot of dealerships and businesses that offer sheds and portable storage buildings,” Wurfel said. “They all look pretty much the same but when you open the door, you’ll find cheaper materials that won’t last. Old Hickory products are produced using quality materials across the board.”
According to Wurfel, Old Hickory Buildings are durable and can be used for a variety of purposes while standing up the harshest of weather condition.
“We've seen them used as simple storage for anything from lawn tools to vehicles, and some costumers have completely insulated our sheds as workshops, or even houses,” he said.
Old Hickory Buildings offer quality
 portable storage solutions for
almost every budget and can
 be viewed at 459 Roosevelt Trail
 in Windham.
The sheds they offer are built with 2x4s or 2x6s at customer request, industry standard T-11 siding, and in-house metal roofs with shingles available upon request. The most common shed size is 10x16, but they can provide any size from 8x8 to 14x40.
“We offer six standard roof colors, 17 siding color options, and color matching for siding as well if a customer would like to match their home,” Wurfel said. “Old Hickory provides us with their own drivers based out of their Cornish build lot that deliver the sheds by trailer. Anything within 30 miles our shop in Windham comes with free delivery and set up.”
Despite being of higher quality than can be found elsewhere, Wuerfel said that Old Hickory Buildings remain competitively priced and they offer a three- and four-year rental option for all of their sheds. Why rent a storage space forever when you can rent to own your shed instead?
“We also offer a five-year warranty on all our sheds as well as a limited lifetime warranty,” he said.
“From the premium materials that are used to the engineering certification process, customers can be confident that they will receive the best building to fit their needs and stay within their budget,” Wurfel said.
Before deciding on a shed or building, Wurfel suggests that customers explore town or municipal policies to meet established requirements.
“Windham has a square-footage policy where past a certain size a customer will require a permit,” he said. “We however are not familiar with every town policy in our 30-mile radius, so we always recommended customers to contact their town hall beforehand.”
Old Hickory takes a local approach to stay environmentally friendly and to support local businesses during the construction of their sheds, Wurfel said.
“The best thing a customer can do to help lower any potential environmental impact is to be careful where they place their shed and to contact their town halls to conform to local guidelines for runoff,” Wurfel said.
Unlike other businesses that come and go, the Crommie Family has built up a unique trust in the community through longevity and a shining reputation for dependability and standing behind the products and services they offer.
“My grandfather started Maine Locksmith Services over 30 years ago, and we have been working as a dealership for Old Hickory part time for two years now,” Wurfel said. “We also have been designing and managing master key systems as well as working on automotive locks for 30-plus years. We began cutting and programming high-security transponder keys 10 years ago and have since added proximity and push button start ignitions all while staying at half the price of most dealerships.”
Sheds can be viewed in person at 459 Roosevelt Trail in Windham weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
For more information about Old Hickory Buildings, visit or call 207-838-4368 for shed sales and auto ignition service and 207-892-8366 for locksmith or visit

Friday, May 15, 2020

Business Spotlight: KnitWit Yarn Shop was once perceived as a craft reserved for grandmothers in rocking chairs has shifted in recent
years. Knitting and crocheting has been on the rise as a popular form of creative outlet among all age groups/genders and the knitting renaissance continues to grow without any indication of having reached its peak. The desire to create, combined with the recent longing for some form of “normal” reality, has only increased the need and want for this contemplative craft.

KnitWit Yarn Shop, a first-rate yarn store since 2004, located at 247A Congress St. in Portland, has recently seen this spike and the desire for high-quality yarns, patterns, books, and kits even in the midst of the present stay-at-home order.

“The timing has been very interesting,” said new Owner Jennifer Fleck, about her March 2020 purchase of this popular Portland shop. “We bought KnitWit Yarn Shop on March 9, and unfortunately we had to close the doors just a few days later to be in compliance with the self-distancing measures. Needless to say, we were very nervous about our business purchase due to current circumstances.”

It turns out, however, that Jennifer and her husband Chuck, who is the General Manager of the shop, had nothing to worry about. With the surge of knitting popularity along with KnitWit’s devoted customers from all over the U.S., it wasn’t long until enthusiastic patrons were at their online “doorstep.”

“We knew we had to shift our business plan more quickly than anticipated, which included updating the website for easy online and curbside purchases and services,” Jennifer said. “But because our customers were not able to make the purchases online and little income was coming in, I set up a GoFundMe® account. Loyal customers from around the country, as well other people, contributed enough donations for us to be able to set up an updated website. I am very happy and honored to provide this craft for so many dedicated knitters. Also, people from everywhere visit Maine and Portland on their vacation and the knitters out there always make sure to stop by our shop when they are here in the summer.”

KnitWit Yarn Shop is the original flagship store for the Maine-based fiber company, Quince & Co, and it carries a large offering of their beautiful yarns. We also offer a nice selection of other Maine-based yarns as well as other yarn and supplies from other companies as well.

“We pride ourselves on carrying a wide selection of high-quality yarn offerings for all of our customers’ knitting and crocheting projects,” Jennifer said. “In addition to Quince & Co, some of our other customer favorite yarns include: Woolfolk, Berroco, Dirty Water Dyeworks, Magpie Fibers, and Malabrigo to name just a few.”

To see the products, services and upcoming events KnitWit Yarn Shop has to offer, peruse their website and shop online at 

“We add something new almost every day to our website, so people should check it often,” said Jennifer.

In addition to the various yarn and kit products, Jennifer offers classes.

“I’ve been meeting with people on Facebook and Zoom and it has been quite popular,” she said. “It is not only a place to gather with other knitters, but training is available for those who purchase our products. In the near future, I will invite well-known Maine designers to participate and teach our groups.”

Although Jennifer learned how to knit at a young age, her real passion began when she visited a local yarn shop 15 years ago. It was then she decided to take the craft to the next level.

“The owner of the shop was very helpful to me as I relearned the craft,” Jennifer said. “With her support and teaching I gained a new level of interest and my excitement about knitting grew.”

Jennifer also founded and became the first President of the Lighthouse Knitters’ Guild of Maine in 2015. Prior to the social distancing measures, the Guild met in person the first Saturday every month at the Windham Public Library. It quickly outgrew the library space, having to move their gatherings to the Windham/Raymond Adult Education building. The guild currently has over 50 members, many of whom rely on the high-quality fibers at KnitWit Yarn Shop for their supplies.

“It is true that people can purchase yarn at big box stores at a slightly lower-cost, but the final product will clearly show it – the look will be very different,” said Jennifer. “Not only that, but when you purchase from a small local Maine store, you receive personal attention, support, and classes.”

Whether you are a long-time knitter or thinking about exploring a new artform, visit them online at or contact Jennifer and Chuck at 774-6444 or <

Friday, May 8, 2020

Business Spotlight: Custom Closets of Maine one is making plans to build a newly constructed home, currently lives in an older Victorian house or resides in a small lakeside cottage, storage is one of the biggest challenges many homeowners face. Randy Campbell, owner and designer of Custom Closets of Maine in Windham can work with any size room or location and create the perfect space to meet the unique needs, style and budget of their customers.

"We have designed and constructed many unusual spaces into creative closets, pantries and mudrooms to maximize the unique situations into functional and beautiful rooms and cabinets,” stated Randy. He further explained the variety of space challenges they have successfully completed. Custom Closets of Maine has worked in older homes where there were no closet spaces, converting a very small bedroom into a convenient walk-in closet. Also, they have taken small reach-in closets, increasing the storage potential by building in shelves, drawers and more within the tiny space, allowing for added area for shoes, clothing and other accessories.

Custom Closets of Maine, a local and independent business in operation since 2004, also constructs practical storage space in garages, transforms small guest rooms by building stunning wall bed cabinets and converts rooms into functional and comfortable office or workspaces.

From phone call inquiry to finalized product, Randy is there throughout the whole process, providing personalized service he is proud of.  “He first sits down with the customer and determines their exact needs and wishes,” Randy explained. “From there, he uses a computer generated 3-D design package that will show the outcome of the space being converted and he discusses various styles of cabinetry that best fits the space and meets their needs and budget.”

It is important to note that all cabinetry is custom-designed and constructed on-site. They never hire a contractor to make the cabinets for them. They do it all – every step of the way.

As noted on the Custom Closets of Maine website, all closets are made using the highest-quality products. The cabinet material is a 3/4” cabinet grade with a laminate finish, which resists scratches and stands up to heat, moisture, stains and dirt more effectively than other products. They also offer a full line of high-quality closet accessories in a variety of finishes to keep your belongings clutter free and easily accessible. All cabinet doors and drawers come standard with soft close hinges & full extension soft close slides. They also offer LED lighting for the closets.

Features to include:
– Velveteen jewelry drawer insert with sliding acrylic tray
– Solid birch drawer boxes with full extension soft close slides
– Variety of hardware options-oil bronze, matte-gold, aluminum, nickel, graphite, polished chrome
– The cabinets are offered in 14 different finishes and 7 drawer/door styles
– Crown and base molding available

Whether it is the upscale European elegance or the New England or another style you prefer, you can rest assured that Randy the design professional is a native Maine pro and has you in his best interest – meeting the needs of your storage challenges. If one views Custom Closets of Maine website, ( there are many accolades by previous customers.

“We love our closet,” began Lynda. “Randy and his team were efficient, dependable and knowledgeable. The whole process was completely seamless from a quick visit, onsite design in 30 minutes, customized changes on the spot, order in, phone call to setup and onsite build done in a day to perfection. Thank you!”

Lesa offered a more detailed review that will convince anyone considering Custom Closets of Maine to call today. “Mr. Campbell, the owner of the business and his partner came over to look at the site to help us select options and design a plan for two closets. As Mr. Campbell worked on the plan, his partner showed us finishes and options that are available. We selected some and Mr. Campbell incorporated them into the design. He gave us the opportunity to review the design and make changes. We did and the design was updated immediately. The cost was given after the design was completed. We tweaked a few items to fit within previous obligations, On the day of the installation, the crew came in with the system components. We live in a condo with rules about loading times and using the elevator and the crew went along with them without trying to change the process. Actual installation was done professionally, and the crew cleaned up afterward. The system is beautiful and what we wanted. I would recommend using Custom Closets of Maine and plan on doing so with a project for utility room.”

If you are thinking about creating more efficient storage space in your home, office or garage stop thinking about it and call Randy today at 207-650-4659. You will receive great customer service and high-quality products at a fair price that include a LIFETIME WARRANTY against any material defects. YOUR SATISFACTION IS OUR COMMITMENT! 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Business Spotlight: Asphalt Experts the business name implies, Asphalt Experts are the go-to licensed specialists and top industry professionals for both home driveway and commercial asphalt paving and repair. Offering services in the Greater Portland and Sebago Lakes Region areas, Owner Joe Sparks is a third-generation paving expert. He was trained and inspired at an early age by both his father and his grandfather, who owned and operated an asphalt paving company in the Kennebunk area over 60 years ago. Sparks’ father followed in the family business, building his own successful company in Northern Maine.

“I began in the asphalt industry as soon as I could begin working,” explained Sparks. “As a young boy, I would go to work with my dad during summer months and school breaks.  Eventually, I realized that I could take that experience and build my own company in the Southern Maine area. I love what I do, and it is a business goal that my experience and dedication to a company that has supported my family for generations will continue in the same manner as my father and grandfather.” That is - to provide high-quality service and product to satisfied clients.

It seems he may be reaching his objective. Sparks and his company of Asphalt Experts have received many accolades. “I can’t recommend Joe Sparks and Asphalt Experts enough,” stated one testimonial on the company’s Facebook page. “Joe did my driveway and my neighbor’s driveway last year. Joe showed up on time and did exactly what he promised he was going to do. I waited until we got through the winter to write a review to see how our driveway held up. Both my driveway and my neighbor’s driveway held up great. I have already recommended Asphalt Expert to friends and family.”

Another satisfied customer wrote: “Joe was nice enough to take his time to notice that we had some issue with our parking lot and paved for free. He is a super nice guy, as are his employees. Great company and people!”

What makes Sparks and Asphalt Experts stand out among the rest is that this company is an owner/operated business. With Asphalt Experts you get personal care. “You do not go through a sales manager – you talk directly to me - the owner - who has experience in the field and can give the client exactly what they want and need,” Sparks stated.

Another outstanding feature is Sparks takes great care to give an accurate estimate. “We don’t simply submit for the paving project itself,” Sparks continued. “We take the time to fully understand the unique paving situation a client has. I listen to their requests and needs, and from there I can determine what they want and find the best method to accommodate that specific project.”

Sparks and the rest of the Asphalt Experts team will make sure the preparation and finished project is done correctly. “We take our time and do it right,” Sparks said. “If it takes us an extra day or day and 1/2 than we had anticipated to complete the unique needs of the project, we do not tack on an extra charge to our customers. We do not sacrifice quality for quantity of hours.”

This level of the company’s integrity is an assurance to all home and business owners. After all, your home and business are the two largest investments one can make and Sparks and his team treat your home and business as if it were their own. 

Asphalt Experts’ work ethic is unmatched, and their pricing is highly competitive.
Whether you’re in need of a residential driveway or a commercial parking lot, count on this professional company for quality workmanship and attention to detail resulting in a durable, long lasting and aesthetically pleasing asphalt surface. Call Joe Sparks today and speak directly with him for a free estimate at (207) 252-9821.