Friday, November 27, 2020

Business Spotlight: Stockhouse Restaurant & Sandbar Pub

Three basic principles guide Dan and Jennifer Drouin, the owners of the new Stockhouse Restaurant &
Sandbar Pub in Windham, who believe that great food, outstanding service and knowing the community are the building blocks for any successful eatery.

The Drouins, who live in Standish, opened the Stockhouse Restaurant & Sandbar Pub at the intersection of River Road and Roosevelt Trail earlier this month and it follows the success of their Stockhouse Restaurant & Sports Pub, a mainstay in Westbrook.                     

They say the most important thing to succeed in the restaurant business is a presence and investment in the community in which you are located.

“In order to be successful in any small business you have to be present and invested in the community or you will never truly enjoy success,” Dan Drouin said. “Take the time to know the community, live there, be a patron of the local businesses yourself, support other small businesses, support the schools, support the things the community supports, this is what it takes to be successful.”

Employing a staff of 35 at the Stockhouse Restaurant & Sandbar Pub in Windham, the Drouins are still faced with all of the same challenges that existed prior to the pandemic of delivering quality service and great tasting food to customers all in the context of maintaining the safest possible environment for their staff and visitors.

“We have to stay up to date on the latest regulations and restrictions while continuing to offer a little bit of relaxation and “normalcy” to our customers in a world that doesn’t feel very normal right now, Jennifer Drouin said. “The absolutely most significant aspect of our business is serving our customers and giving the community a place to come enjoy a good meal and good company.”

The Drouins say what distinguishes Stockhouse Restaurant & Sandbar Pub from other similar businesses is the atmosphere and ambiance that instantly gives customers a taste of the Lakes Region.

“We invite our customers to relax and leave their worries at the door and “Meet us at the Sandbar,” Dan Drouin said. “The best thing about being in the restaurant business is the many customers that over the years have come to be like family. We have been in business in our Westbrook location for 15 years this past July. We have watched children grow up, go to college, and get married. We are so excited to expand those relationships in the Windham community.”

Menu top sellers at the Stockhouse Restaurant & Sandbar Pub include chicken wings; dirty, garlic parmesan, or blueberry habanero; steak and cheese pizza; rodeo burgers; Stockhouse burgers; homemade macaroni and cheese; sweet chili chicken pineapple pizza; and chicken bacon ranch calzones. There are 24 different drafts on tap, making the location the leader in Windham for draft beers and ciders.

“With a healthy mix of old favorites and interesting newer brews, everyone is bound to find something to their liking,” Jennifer Drouin said. “We also offer a full bar at the Sandbar if beers are not your style.”

Families will find Stockhouse Restaurant popular with those of all ages with something for everyone at reasonable prices.

“We serve a large portion of food at a fair price,” Dan Drouin said. “We strive to keep our pricing affordable, offering dishes made from quality products, with a wide variety of menu items to satisfy any appetite.”

The owners say they are pleased to be part of the Windham community and the Lakes Region family.

“We are off to a great start and have met so many great residents of Windham and the surrounding communities since we opened our doors. We are grateful for the opportunity to do business here,” Dan Drouin said. “We cannot say enough about the warm welcome that we have received from this community. So many wonderful individuals and organizations have reached out to us in person or messaged our Facebook page to thank us for investing in this community. It has been wonderful to hear our customers say time and again during their visits that they are so happy we chose to open our second Stockhouse location in Windham and that they wish us success here, each one acknowledging the unique challenges that we face opening a restaurant during a pandemic.”

Stockhouse Restaurant & Sandbar Pub is at 4 Turning Leaf Drive in Windham. For more details, call 207-893-8412 or visit them online at or on Facebook at <

Friday, November 20, 2020

Business Spotlight: Maine Pointe Lending

The foundation of any successful business is always outstanding customer service and that is precisely
what Skylar Welch of Maine Point Lending is striving to achieve. 

Welch, a residential mortgage broker, provides Conventional, FHA, USDA, VA and construction loan options for purchasing and refinancing homes and is the only VettedVA Lender in the state of Maine. She has the knowledge and experience required to navigate the complexities of home loans and has been recognized as one of the top loan originators in America. 

But for Welch and her business, Maine Pointe Lending, defining success is truly all about being someone that clients can trust to have their best interest at heart at all times and delivering exceptional and personable service to everyone that seeks her help and expertise.

“I truly care about my clients, and create a memorable and personal experience,” Welch said. “I also am able to close loans extremely quickly and am always available for my clients, who are the main point of the transaction. We make it a personal, stress-free, easy process with a local, reliable, friendly mortgage broker by providing lots of loan options, great rates and fast service.” 

According to Welch, what motivates her the most is genuinely liking what she does each and every single day. 

“For me, I work a lot of hours because I love helping people to get into a home and to change their life,” she said. “I’m local and I’m very responsive. I don’t work banker’s hours and many times we can obtain same-day approval where some loan applications at banks can take 60 to 90 days. My goal is to give those I work for a personal experience and no additional fees and lots of options.” 

She says everyone looking to buy a home should call Maine Pointe Lending first to be qualified for a loan prior to entering the real estate process. 

“Every single real estate agent will ask them if they have been prequalified. I can help them find the perfect loan program for them, what they are qualified up to, and most importantly help them find a purchase price that gives them a comfortable monthly payment,” Welch said. “They can then take this info back to their real estate agent and be completely prepared and ready to start the homebuying process to find their dream home. I also have been in the market for a long time and know all of the best agents in the area and can help connect them with the perfect fit to help them with the buying process.”
Maine Pointe Lending is a family
run, family built business. Owner
Skylar Welch and her family are
residents of Windham. PHOTO

Welch launched Maine Pointe Lending in October and employs a staff of six after years of working in the business of loan origination. She says the employees of her new company constantly monitor the local real estate market and work with a variety of lenders to maximize buying power for all of their customers.

“We are always keeping up to date on all of the loan options out there, as well as market updates. Rates are currently at record lows, so it’s a great time to refinance and offering a super, easy streamlined refinance for veterans,” Welch said. “Because I am a broker, I am able to shop around to find the best available rate and program for the client.”

A licensed mortgage loan originator, Welch said Maine Pointe Lending has clear advantages that anyone looking to purchase or refinance a home should explore. “You’ll work with a mortgage loan broker and provide lots of options,” she said. “Our overhead is low and because of that we can offer lower rates. We have streamlined the paperwork and application process making it super easy and available digitally. We offer a quality, extremely responsive and personable experience. We are never trying to sell anything to anyone and want to simply help everyone find the best option. I want every client to feel like they are my only client.” 

Maine Pointe Lending is at 202 US Route 1, Suite 102 in Falmouth. Call 207-949-3568 or find them online at They’re also on Facebook at <

Friday, November 13, 2020

Business Spotlight: Dog-Gone Grooming to become Lavish Dog Day Spa

Transitions are never easy, but it’s safe to say that life does become easier as we adapt to change.

In Raymond, Julie Chouinard, the owner of Dog-Gone Grooming is retiring after years of service and being succeeded in business in January by Caitlyn Brundage of Lavish Dog Day Spa.

“In saying thank you and goodbye, I realize how blessed I really am,” Chouinard said. “I’m blessed to be able to open and operate a very successful business over 15 wonderful years. Dog-Gone Grooming has become ‘My’ dream come true for many reasons. I’m reminded every day how fortunate I truly am.  I’m fortunate that I got to build so many amazing relationships with clients, friends and of course their dogs.”

Chouinard said that she has watched so many puppies grow up to old and seen her older dogs cross over the Rainbow Bridge taking a piece of her heart with them.

“I know my heart will break again the evening of Dec. 23 as I lock the door for the last time. There are so many emotions but nothing like saying goodbye to all the folks that have put their trust in me to care for and love their dogs,” she said. “Since I live local in the community, hopefully our paths will cross again. My plans for the new year will be spending a lot of time with my family, husband and friends enjoying life.”

According to Chouinard, she’s leaving a lot of her clients in very capable hands.

“I know they will be loved and taken care of the same way,” she said.  “Please help me welcome Lavish Dog Day Spa to Raymond. Caitlyn and her girls are so excited to become part of this wonderful community. Welcome Lavish.”

Brundage currently operates a location of Lavish Dog Day Spa at 111 Ossipee Trail East in Standish and is excited to meet and transition customers at the Dog-Gone Grooming location at 1263 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond after Chouinard retires.

“We are a full-service grooming salon. Every groomer works on one dog at a time, straight through with no kennel drying,” Brundage said. “We are currently working with all breeds and sizes. Every bath or groom comes with a premium shampoo, conditioner, facial scrub, CO2 spa, nail grinding, ear cleaning, and tooth brushing. If a dog is shedding, we automatically include a shed-less spa for no extra charge.”

She’s happy to take on any client moving over from Dog-Gone Grooming and also new ones too at the Raymond location,  

Our signature is the full spa treatment and one on one, straight-through service for an all-inclusive price,” Brundage said. “We are probably in line with others who operate the way we do. We are more expensive than salons who will take dogs in first thing and call clients as they’re ready. We are less expensive than mobile or groomers that go to the owner’s home to groom.”

Like everyone else has experienced, Brundage said that 2020 has been a roller coaster year, but the opportunity to purchase Dog-Gone Grooming was something Lavish Dog Day Spa could not pass up.

“In the end, Julie was very generous helping make this something feasible and we are so grateful because this is really a fantastic opportunity,” Brundage said.

Lavish Dog Day Spa launched at a very small location on River Road in Windham in 2015 with Brundage as the only employee. Since then the business moved to a much larger location 20 minutes away in Standish. It now has five employees and with the expansion to Raymond, will be looking for additional groomers.

“We strive to provide quality service for clients and pets. Our goal is to make your pet feel like part of our family and not just another client,” Brundage said. “We genuinely care about the pets and their owners. We have to be doing something right because our feedback has been pretty positive.”

The company also offers a Loyalty Program where after eight visits customers can earn points for $20 off a full-service bath or groom.

For more information about Lavish Dog Day Spa, visit them online at or on Facebook at <

Friday, November 6, 2020

Business Spotlight: Northstar Mortgage Group

Since its founding in 2005, Northstar Mortgage Group has been dedicated to improving the process of
obtaining a mortgage and making it easier for those in Maine to realize their dream of owning a home.

Northstar is a broker so their focus is not one size fits all. They service the entire state and stay current in the real estate market to give clients the best possible choices for their family’s needs.

Leigh Gagnon, who co-owns Northstar Mortgage Group with her husband, Jason, said the family owned company has taken steps to streamline the process and make applying for a mortgage much easier and less intimidating.

“We saw how intimidating loan services could be, so we wanted to create a more casual atmosphere,” Gagnon said. “Our relaxed mood helps clients feel comfortable asking questions, bringing their kids along to meetings and popping by even just to say hi. Northstar has a community mentality.”

She said that Northstar is passionate about helping families and is dedicated to investing the time needed for a smooth and stress-free process.

“You will never be just another number after stepping foot through our doors,” Gagnon said.

“One of the best things about what we do is helping people purchase homes, especially first-time buyers. Seeing their excitement as they get keys to a new chapter is priceless” Gagnon said. “We pride ourselves in delivering superior and personal customer service.”

She said Northstar’s priority is to walk applicants through the entire process.

“We’ll handle the loan transaction from start to finish to ensure you feel comfortable with your investment,” Gagnon said. “In the last year, loan application technology has become very advanced. As a company we have embraced and learned new systems to stay up to date. You can now complete the process electronically from start to finish from your couch at home if that’s what is convenient for your family.”

In Windham, Northstar Mortgage Group can be found at its new location, 625 Roosevelt Trail.

“It’s a convenient new space and has the causal environment we want to provide for our community,” Gagnon said.

Northstar Mortgage Group offers Conventional, FHA, USDA/Rural Housing, VA, Reverse Mortgages and Turnkey Construction Loans. Due to record low interest rates, Gagnon said she is encouraging everyone to explore how much they could save by acting soon whether that be buying or refinancing.

Northstar has a secure, online web application that takes about five minutes to fill out which Northstar brokers will review within 24 hours. The loan officers can meet applicants at the office, via zoom and even after work or on weekends. Best of all, the company is known for getting the loan done on time or ahead of schedule.

According to Gagnon, Northstar Mortgage can offer the best pricing in the industry due to being a broker model. They have more loan options and flexibility than a traditional bank.

“Our reviews on Facebook and Google show the love we have for our community and our passion for a smooth process,” she said. “Buying a home is an incredibly memorable milestone; we work hard to make it casual, stress-free and as exciting as possible. We’ve proudly walked countless happy clients through the process of homebuying and refinancing and we’d love the opportunity to help you too.”

For more information about Northstar Mortgage Group, call 207-893-8499 or visit their website at or on Facebook at <casual, stress-free, and exciting as possible. You can expect the same dedication to community and family at our second location in Auburn.