Friday, September 25, 2020

Business Spotlight: Bring Your Own Business 'BYOB' Virtual Happy Hour

Hosted by BNI®-Referral Network to help local and independently owned businesses succeed

Most business owners, solopreneurs and professionals would agree that the growth and success of their company is due, in large part, through their connections with others. This is especially true for local and independently owned businesses where every connection with members in the communities they serve offers financially significant transactions.

But how does a small local business make sincere professional connections and attend networking events under the present circumstances? Windham’s local BNI® Chapter – Referral Network has had continued success in networking and sustaining business connections despite today’s challenges and they want to share their achievements with you.

If you want to succeed, both professionally and personally, members of BNI® Referral Network invite you to learn the secret of their networking success by joining them on an online Bring Your Own Business “BYOB” Virtual Happy Hour event. The BYOB Happy Hour will occur from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30. (See RSVP contact information below).

“One’s professional accomplishments do not necessarily have to be dependent upon the ups and downs of the economy or other circumstances beyond our control,” said Mark Morrison, who has been a BNI® Referral-Network for the past three years who Financial Advisor whose office is located in Portland. He has also been a Windham resident for 30 years. "When you are part of a national professional networking group like BNI, you are working with businesspeople who are committed to providing the best possible products and services. We set high standards are are accountable to each other. Our reputation is on the line ev ery time we give and receive a referral. Key to the success of our group is knowing that when we identify an opportunity, the person we refer will be treated fairly and provided with solutions that are best in class. If you desire to grow professionally and build business relationships with other professionals and entrepreneurs, then I highly recommend you join this virtual happy hour."

Attendees will get to share what they do, who they are and what they need for their business growth. They will also get to connect with other local businesses and meet area BNI members to learn how building relationships with others has helped them professionally and personally.

Darlene Pratt, a Personal Lines Insurance Professional with Clark Insurance has been a member since 2015 and Real Estate Broker Rick Yost of NextHome NorthEast, who is number two in the nation for selling residential real estate, will both be available to share their own success stories.

“BNI® has helped me grow my business, focusing on building relationships and making myself invaluable to my clients,” Pratt said. “To date, BNI has generated an average of 20 percent of my business each year.”

“I had heard about BNI through a real estate broker that I used to work with,” Yost said. “She invited me to attend a couple of her meetings. I was attracted by the professionalism of the members and the real sense of comradeship in the group. I joined for those reasons, but the business generated through the group is why I stay.  I have done countless transactions through BNI and it has contributed to my success.”     

The professional growth that BNI® members experience also transforms into their personal lives, helping to reach individual dreams and goals.

“My experience with BNI-Referral Network has helped me in ways I did not imagine when I joined almost two years ago,” Referral Network member, current writer and former editor of The Windham Eagle newspaper, Lorraine Glowczak said. “As I was learning to precisely share with fellow BNI® members the ways they could help The Windham Eagle newspaper succeed, I was learning to do that for myself as an author. I now feel confident when I pitch my book of essays next week to an editor of a Maine-based publishing company."

The concept of BNI® began in January 1985 in California by Dr. Ivan Misner who was looking for ways to increase clients for his personal consulting business. With the help of a few friends and associates, Misner created the first network gathering. Within a year, 20 BNI® chapters were established throughout California. Moving forward 34 years, one can find over 9,500 BNI® chapters world-wide with 20 plus chapters and over 450 members in Maine. Referral Network is among them – and all of this is available to every BNI member.

“That’s a pretty big sales force and is part of the reason for our successes,” Morrison said.

“If your business is just getting off the ground, struggling or booming, I would highly recommend visiting a chapter and seeing all the ways you can benefit and make yourself invaluable,” Pratt said. 

This Bring Your Own Business “BYOB” online happy hour event is open to everyone. To obtain the Zoom link, please RSVP to BNI Member, Rolf Olsen at Please note that an RSVP is preferred but is not required. To obtain the Zoom link, go to The Windham Eagle website at or the Referral Network Facebook Page.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Business Spotlight: Asphalt Experts

As 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. “W

Asphalt Experts has a limited
number of openings left
for the season. Book before
Oct. 15 and receive a
10 percent discount.

e 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. Afterall, 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. <

Friday, September 11, 2020

Business Spotlight: Acadia Adoption Center in the Lakes Region, Acadia Adoption Center is changing the narrative about birth parents placing a child for adoption and transforming their lives, the life of their child, and the adoptive parents, alike.
“Here everyone experiences new beginnings and not a sad ending,” said Janet Knights, assistant director of Acadia Adoption Center. “We empower birth mothers by reviewing their options for an unexpected pregnancy and providing them with information about the adoption process so that they can make the best choice for themselves and their baby, even if adoption is not their choice.”
Working with women who suddenly find themselves pregnant and unprepared, Acadia Adoption Center has been a life-changing alternative for pregnant women for more than a decade. From its office in Naples, the center assists birth mothers through the process of adoption and helps them reach a decision they can be proud of.
“Every birth mother should know that we don’t ever judge them,” Knights said. “We treat everyone with respect and full discretion so that birth mothers have peace with their decision.”
Many of the birth mothers who reach out to Acadia Adoption Center for help find them online at their website, or are referred to by other birth parents or area hospitals for sensible guidance.
Knights said that through the years, the center has found that the situation of every birth mother experience is different and strives to be supportive in every aspect of their adoption journey.
“Adoption for your child is a loving, brave, caring, and positive choice,” Knights said. “But it can bring uncertainty about finances, your safety and where you’ll live, the birth father, your family and friends.”
She said that because every situation is unique, Acadia Adoption Center takes the time to get to know every birth mother and listen to what they are going through so that the advice and suggestions they offer are relevant to their particular circumstances.
“Birth parents make adoption plans for different reasons,” Knights said. “We are here to answer their questions about adoption so they can decide whether it is right for them and their child.”
As a licensed adoption agency that works with expectant parents from all over the United States, Acadia works with a network of social workers, lawyers, hospitals and other professionals who help facilitate the entire adoption process.
They can provide financial support for birth mothers and help with pregnancy related expenses such as rent, food, transportation, cell phone bills, and maternity clothing if needed.
And Knights said the support of Acadia Adoption Center doesn’t end once the child is born.
“We also offer a post-birth scholarship program which allows them to cover their living expenses while they get back on their feet, prepare for their future, and decide what to do next.  Many birth parents choose to use their scholarship to further their education,” she said.
According to Knights, birth mothers choose the family that fits the hopes and dreams they imagine for their child and can communicate with the adoptive parents using a web-based transparent platform for updates and pictures for the next 18 years, if and when they choose.
“We are committed to providing you (birth parents) with as much support and help as you feel you need.  As you investigate and gather your choices, we encourage you to follow your instincts and make the best decision for you and your baby, without pressure or judgement” Knights said.
For more information about Acadia Adoption Center, call 207-467-8110 or visit .

Friday, September 4, 2020

Business Spotlight: Pit Stop Fuels matter who you are or what you do, we all have a basic need to stay warm during the heating season and here in Maine, Pit Stop Fuels is a trusted ally for many residents in keeping the cold at bay.  
Offering reliable and friendly service for heating oil, propane, K1 and diesel fuels at highly competitive pricing, Pit Stop Fuels is committed to serving the community by providing efficient and environmentally safe products while supporting nonprofits working to make a difference locally.
Pit Stop Fuels has a strong presence in our area. We support our local people and value the importance of community involvement,” said Aimee S. Carlson, Pit Stop Fuels general manager. “During the pandemic it has been challenging for everyone. We understand that safe and efficient deliveries are very important as well as maintaining consistent pricing, like not charging for HazMat or Fuel Recovery fees. Offering programs like our Budget, Pre-Buy and Fixed price options help customers plan for their needs.”
Carlson said that what makes Pit Stop Fuels different is their customers, who are loyal and help promote them and the services they offer to their friends and families.
“Pit Stop Fuels understands that there is a choice, we know that safety, reliability and ease are important to our customers,” she said. “We have customer service representatives in Maine and we have the ability to order online and have highly trained, skilled employees.”
The company has been in business in Maine for more than 20 years and remains vigilant ahead of when storms strike the state, planning ahead to keep customers prepared during the most challenging of weather conditions.
According to Carlson, a lot of work is done behind the scenes by the company to ensure that customers can count on Pit Stop Fuels drivers to be on time with deliveries and that those with emergency generators are tracked and have adequate fuel in the event power is lost.
“We have a responsibility to those who rely on our services,” Carlson said. “Our drivers work very long hours through the snow and sometimes handle 50 to 55 different tickets a day. Our customers appreciate our diligence and the relationships we’ve forged with many of them are very gratifying.”
During the peak heating season, Carlson said that Pit Stop Fuels dispatchers remain in constant touch with their drivers, following them in real time by GPS in order to make certain deliveries are made dependably and on time.     
The company also is focused on treating the environment with respect and to accomplish that, it delivers ultra-low sulfur heating oil and premium fuels.
“These fuels are clean and environmentally friendly and reduce the sulfur content in the oil, which compared to traditional heating oil reduces nitrogen oxide emissions up to 30 percent and sulfur oxide and particles by 99 percent, Carlson said.
The use of propane fuel is nontoxic and is an approved clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act, she said.
“The Propane Education and Research Council says that using propane reduces the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and air pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides,” Carlson said.
Propane tank installation and generators for home or businesses are also available through Pit Stop Fuels, along with set-up, maintenance and repair of home heating and home comfort equipment including furnaces, boilers, water heaters, gas fireplaces, hearth products such as stoves and gas logs and propane generators.
To be as transparent about fuel costs as possible, customers can view prices for heating oil and kerosene daily on the Pit Stop Fuels website at
“The best part of our business is certainly our customers,” Carlson said. “Without them, we would have no reason to come to work. We also make managing your heating costs simple too with our EZ Pay plan in which you can spread 12 even payments over the year making your home budget easier.”
For more information about Pit Stop Fuels call 207-352-7800 or visit <