Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Business Spotlight: Cricket's Corner Shoppe

No matter how old you are or what your budget is, Cricket’s Corner Shoppe is bound to have a gift to please the pickiest recipient on your shopping list.

Cricket's Corner Shoppe at 1223 Roosevelt Trail in
Raymond is a go-to destination for shoppers in search of
the perfect gift. It offers unique products not found
anywhere else and for all budgets.  COURTESY PHOTO
Located at 1223 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond, Cricket’s Corner Shoppe has become a legendary go-to destination for locals and for anyone visiting the Lakes Region of Maine by offering thousands of items and with fresh inventory arriving every week.

Don (Uncle Don) Drew has owned and operated Cricket’s Corner Shoppe since 1999 and says the business derived its name from the nickname of the daughter of the previous owner. Before Uncle Don, it was mostly a consignment-type shop, but he has since turned it into a customer favorite by featuring many unique items not commonly found elsewhere.

Cricket’s Corner Shoppe has greeting cards; puzzles; jams and jellies; doll houses, doll furniture and doll clothing; toys; scarves; women’s beauty products; Donna Sharp handbags; a Christmas tree room, honey, Christmas ornaments; Christmas-related items year-round; one of the largest candle selections in the Lakes Region; maple products; stuffed animals; candies, hand-blown glass gifts, Willow Tree Angels, bath supplies; Maine souvenirs; and an array of novelty items that dazzle the imagination.

“We believe this is the most unique one-stop shopping experience you can find,” Uncle Don said. “If you’re looking for a gift, this is the place to come. We’re a unique giftshop with a vast array of products and have something for everyone’s taste and everyone’s pocketbook.”

Situated in a 5,600-square-foot building, Uncle Don said shoppers are often surprised at how large Cricket’s Corner Shoppe is inside.

“Some people have no realization how big it is until they start walking through it and walk down the aisles,” Uncle Don said. “They tell me that they’re amazed at the amount of inventory we have to offer.”

Uncle Don has been working in retail for 50 years and says the slogans created for Cricket’s Corner Shoppe truly do apply.

“We have two sayings. The first is ‘Everything under one roof’ and the other one is ‘If we don’t have it, you don’t need it’ and those pretty much sum up this business,” he said.

Originally from Portland, Uncle Don says that he first became interested in retail stores as the result of a friend who owned a business in Wells.

“She had a big barn in Wells and wanted me to do something with it,” he said. “That was really how I got started in doing something like this.”

Uncle Don is the sole proprietor of Cricket’s Corner Shoppe and has two employees helping operate the business. He does all the ordering of the thousands of items of unique merchandise and manages to do so without computers or a website.

“We do have people who visit here in the summer, and they go back home after seeing something in the store, and then call us and ask us to ship it to them,” he said. “We’re happy to wrap them up and ship it to them.”

Many customers are from throughout Southern Maine, but Uncle Don said he does have loyal shoppers visit from Otisfield, Poland, Kennebunkport and points beyond.

“They keep coming back we always have sales going on and offer great deals and competitive prices,” he said.

The busiest time of the year at Cricket’s Corner Shoppe is typically during the months of November and December as shoppers try to choose the prefect holiday gift, but Uncle Don said that with new items arriving every week, it’s always a great time to stop in and see new displays of merchandise.

“My keys to running a successful business are simple,” he said. “Always greet the customer. Always be pleasant to the customers. Stand behind the merchandise you sell. If you can do that and have great products, the customers will come back again and again.”

Cricket’s Corner Shoppe is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. In January it is not open on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays.

For more information, call Cricket’s Corner Shoppe at 207-655-4544. <

Friday, November 18, 2022

Business Spotlight: The Outpost Bar and Grill

For anyone searching for a fun place to go for great food, great drinks, and a great atmosphere, take heart, your search is over the moment you step into the new Outpost Bar and Grill in Standish.

Kate and Nate Cates are the owners of The Outpost Bar and
Grill in Standish. SUBMITTED PHOTO  
Located at 380 Pequawket Trail in Standish near the intersection of Route 25 and Route 113, the Outpost Bar and Grill offers a pub dining experience right on Watchic Lake that’s perfect for both families and those looking for a comfortable evening out.

“The best thing about the Outpost Bar and Grill is being able to build a place to bring families to come in and relax and offer an experience that other places can’t,” said Kate Cates, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Nate Cates. “Everyone is welcome. We have something for everyone, from live music Thursdays, trivia Fridays, cornhole tournaments, a mug club, a game room, and specials all week. We strive for customer satisfaction and try to provide a place where anyone can come and unwind after a long day.”

Cates said the Outpost offers many different specials and happy hour throughout the week and is conveniently situated right on the ATS trails so all 4-wheelers, side by sides, and snowmobiles are able to access the restaurant right from their machines.

“We also are located on Watchic Lake, so boats have access to pull right up, tie off and come in,” she said. “We have a game room and huge back lawn for fires, live music and cornhole tournaments.”

According to Cates, the emphasis for the Outpost Bar and Grill is making sure that all guests have a great experience.

“We have a game room with arcade games, a pool table, cornhole and putt putt golf,” she said. “We just started offering mug club to customers where they can purchase a mug and get discounts on draft beer and cocktails, a free app on their birthday, and mug club member only specials throughout the week.”

The menu also includes an array of gluten-free and dairy-free options, which is important for anyone who suffers from food allergies and food sensitivities. Take-out is available too.

Food and drinks are highly affordable, and the menu includes everything from pizza to fried chicken sandwiches, cheesy fajita steak tacos, fried veggies, ziti and meatballs, fried pickles, chicken salads, burgers and more. There’s also a children’s menu and the Outpost’s drink selection is vast.

“We have received great feedback about the wide beer selection we have, with 20 beers on draft, both craft and domestic,” Cates said. “We hear great things about the selection of liquor to choose from and the quality of our drinks.”

Meals are available for dining in, with outside seating and convenient curbside pickup for take-out available.

Having only been open since July, the Outpost Bar and Grill is building a loyal following based upon exceptional customer service, tasty meals, awesome drinks, and an overall fantastic experience.

“It has been an amazing time so far, and we are planning on being a year-round business,” Cates said. “We have 11 employees, so we are all very close and feel more like a family than coworkers.”

She said each employee is devoted to making the Outpost Bar and Grill a place where people can come and hang out, make new friends, or enjoy time spent with family and old friends.

“Customers love that we have a wide variety of gluten-free options and dairy-free options,” Cates said. “We know that finding a place that offers those options is hard, so customers seem to love being able to have fried food and know that it is 100 percent gluten-free. Customers seem to love the quality of our food. We offer a homemade feel with every meal. We take pride in prepping and preparing meals for our patrons.”

The Outpost Bar and Grill is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturdays and from 1 to 8 p.m. Sundays. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

For more information, call the Outpost Bar and Grill at 207-648-4168. Find them on Facebook at The_Outpost_bar_and_grill and on Instagram page at outpost_bar_and_grill_. <

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Business Spotlight: The Whitening Lab Co.

Exceptional care, affordability and giving confident smiles to patients is what The Whitening Lab. Co. in Gray provides and along with offering jewelry, pottery, beauty and aesthetic services, the business is rapidly developing a reputation as the place of choice in New England for professional teeth whitening.

Located at 19 Main St., Suite 1 in Gray, The Whitening Lab Co. was opened in June by Tabatha Post and Courtney Carll, both of whom are highly experienced in the dental field.

“After 30 years in the dental field, we felt that the patient experience was significantly declining and something had to change,” Post said. “From the minute you walk into The Whitening Lab to the second you leave we want our clients to be our main priority and not a production quota.”

According Carll, a visit to The Whitening Lab is highly affordable with significant savings realized over conventional dental practices, and convenient appointments.

The Whitening Lab Co. offer professional teeth whitening, dental jewelry (popularly known as tooth gems) and its newest launch, a “Confidence at Home Whitening Kit,” where clients can now take their whitening beyond the studio.

“We take pride in our experience from start to finish, making our clients truly feel comfortable, educating them on how to maintain and care for their teeth, and leaving with confidence in their smile,” Carll said. “We have expanded in offering services from Aestheticians Tanasia Street and Tanya Herald, the owners of Eden Spa Aesthetics. We additionally offer a retail side of The Whitening Lab which features only local artisans, from handmade jewelry from the co-owner Tabatha to paintings from Nancy Polito, homewares from Fern and Fiddle, pottery from For the Love of Clay, handmade cards from Bolster Mills, and bath and body products from Lakehouse Lavender.”

To provide the best in aesthetic services, The Whitening Lab Co. has partnered with Eden Spa Aesthetics, which also has an office in Standish.

“We are a medical spa that specializes in Botulinum toxin injections multi-area, dermal fillers multi-area, micro-needling procedures with Skin Pen and Platelet Rich Plasma, PRP injections for restorative care, neck rejuvenation, and Eden was the first spa in the state to offer Geneo Oxygen facials which offer a high level of flexibility with patients’ skin care needs,” Street said.

Herald and Street visit The Whitening Lab Co. every Thursday and are both aestheticians and Registered Nurses which is necessary for injections. They have more than 30 years combined nursing experience and three-plus years of experience in aesthetics.

“We hold two things in the ultimate regard,” Street said. “First is our integrity. We pride ourselves on informing you of your decisions and making you feel at ease. We want you comfortable in mind and body during your treatments and we believe that that begins with you fully understanding your procedure. We do our utmost to keep you physically comfortable, but we believe that relaxation begins with information.”

She said that secondly, they understand that people can be very self-critical when it comes to impressions of self.

“We want you to see in yourself what we see. We know that people that come to sit in our chairs are perceiving something of themselves that is ‘bothersome’ to them,” Street said. “Sometimes that is all that it is … a perception. We tend to talk our patients out of more things than we talk them into in regard to aesthetics. We want you to leave seeing the person that others see and releasing some of that self-criticism with the least amount of investment possible.”

Staying up on current trends is what truly sets The Whitening Lab Co. and Eden Spa Aesthetics apart from competitors.

Post said everyone who walks through the door of The Whitening Lab Co. can expect five things.

"We want to provide authenticity, honesty, transparency, exceptional client service and a fun experience for everyone,” she said.

For more details about The Whitening Lab Co. visit their website at Find them on Facebook at  To book an appointment, call The Whitening Lab Co. at 207-200-6494.

For more information or to book an appointment with Eden Spa Aesthetics, call 207-200-7010 or visit them online at or find them on Facebook at <

Friday, November 4, 2022

Business Spotlight: Hometown Furnishing Co.

One of the best kept secrets in the Lakes Region is Hometown Furnishing Co., a multi-vendor furniture and decor shop in Standish that specializes in painted furniture along with farmhouse, vintage, local and handmade items.

Hometown Furnishing Co. is located in a beautiful historic
building at 1 Ossipee Trail East at the intersection of 
Routes 35 and 25 in Standish. SUBMITTED PHOTO 
Situated in a 7,000-square-foot historic building in the center of Standish at 1 Ossipee Trail East, Hometown Furnishing Co. is preparing to host a Holiday Open House on Saturday, Nov. 12 and on Sunday, Nov. 13 to showcase the abundance of gifts and treasures that can be found inside the building.

“It’s typically one of our busiest weekends for holiday shopping,” said Eric Rollins of Hometown Furnishing Co. “We have 50 different vendors and prices range from $2 Christmas ornaments all the way up to $1,600 farm tables.”

Rollins said that Hometown Furnishing Co. also updates, paints and revitalizes furniture that customers bring in, along with building custom tables and barn doors. A selection of vintage restored furniture can also be purchased there.

“We also carry a line of Farmhouse furniture paint for customers that would like to do it themselves,” he said.

Visiting the store is an interior decorator’s dream, as everything needed to redesign either a room or an entire home can be found at Hometown Furnishing Co. There are accent items, chairs, dressers and tables available and it’s exactly what you may be looking for either to freshen up an existing look or to recreate something new.

It's simply a great place to find antiques, arts and crafts, farmhouse furniture all locally sourced and wonderfully displayed. There is a very friendly atmosphere and vibe about Hometown Furnishing Co. and it’s a go-to location to find some exceptional creations by local artists.

The building itself that Hometown Furnishing Co. is located in offers 18 rooms with three floors of merchandise to peruse and an elevator to get up and down. It formerly was owned by the Thompson Family for more than 200 years and was one of the most historic buildings in Standish.

Hometown Furnishing Co. opened at the site in April 2021 and has four employees.

“The misconception is that people think we just have furniture or antiques, but we truly have something for everyone,” Rollins said. “We’re involved in the community, keep up with trends and listen to our customers.”

As part of a commitment to community involvement, Hometown Furnishing Co, offers Maker’s Markets in-season which feature local craftsmen and artists set up to sell their handcrafted and locally produced goods.

Social media reviews posted online for Hometown Furnishing Co. are nothing less than outstanding.

"My favorite, local shop! Such a happy, warm, welcoming space, and the vendors do a fantastic job of curating so many beautiful items for your home.” Jen Cianchette Gironda

“My new favorite place in Standish. I was in heaven as soon as I walked in. Great coffee and so many unique finds on three floors. The staff were so friendly and helpful. Highly recommend.” Kristen Blanchard

“Love the custom window shelf I ordered. It’s the perfect spot to memorialize our recently departed best girl! Scheduling a pickup time was easy and we spent some time exploring every room. Such an eclectic mix of treasures! Will definitely be going back!” Terina Dobson

Rollins said that the Holiday Open House is an annual event, and everyone is welcome to stop in to see what treasures are available for gift giving this year at Hometown Furnishing Co.

“Join us here at Hometown Furnishing Company for this two-day event as we welcome the holiday season with snacks, beverages, and giveaways,” Rollins said. “All our wonderful vendors will be fully stocked with new, handmade, vintage and antique holiday decor and gift giving goods. We will even have an antique sleigh or two for photo opportunities.”

Hometown Furnishing Co. is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week and custom furniture refinishing is always available.

For more information about Hometown Furnishing Co. call 207-229-0617 or find them on Facebook at <