Friday, July 28, 2023

Business Spotlight: Royal Academy

 As technology advances, education is constantly evolving and adapting, and online learning is more prevalent now than ever before. Based here in the Lakes Region, Royal Academy is a valued resource in partnership with students and parents in providing a quality education for children.

Located in New Gloucester, Royal Academy is an independent, virtual, private, (K to 12) school. It includes credit recovery courses, education counseling, achievement testing, homeschool support, curriculum design, tutoring, correcting homework consulting and coordinating with a student’s current school as needed.

“The best thing about what we do is our custom-tailored one-on-one approach,” said Bernie Tajonera of Royal Academy. “We are present with each student. When we teach, it’s personalized. You can’t put a price on having an opportunity to get specific with each student through mentorship.”

Tajonera says what distinguishes Royal Academy from other online learning institutions is that the school personally crafts and presents Individualized Learning Plans for all its students.

“We approach the development of an Individualized Learning Plan for each student as a collaborative team process. We involve all the key support individuals from the student and parents to the teachers, academic coaches, and counselors, together as a team, we create a unique plan for every child. The plan is designed to organize, and sequence your child’s curriculum and courses, while considering his or her own unique academic strengths and challenges, passions, and dreams,” he said. “Some children are ready to move ahead in one subject but need extra help in others. Our Individualized Learning Plan establishes a strategy to help make the right choices and help each student reach their highest potential.”

Royal Academy was launched in 1994 by Shirley and Don Minster of Gray and now has four full-time staff members along with experienced independent instructors. The school is accredited by Cognia and recognized for equivalent instruction by the Maine Department of Education.

Its virtual classes allow people to attend classes from wherever they are. Some students are dual-enrolled, taking online classes offered by Royal Academy while continuing their studies at other schools.

“Our challenge is that all children are unique in their own way, so we find and meet those challenges,” Tajonera said. “We want to build rapport and relationships with our students.”

One part of Royal Academy’s key to being successful is through its innovative curriculum.

“Some have a misconception that online education is just for a certain type of student but that’s not the case,” Tajonera said. “Online teaching is all about the curriculum. You can experience life and that becomes your homework. At Royal Academy we make sure the curriculum fits our students and their lifestyle.”

With an expansive curriculum of more than 125 courses, Royal Academy provides students with important choices in math, science, English, history, languages, social studies and an array of other electives and multiple learning levels.

Featuring smaller class sizes and the ability to directly relate to students, Tajonera says that Royal Academy staff members have a personal presence with each student making the educational experience worthwhile.

Online reviews for Royal Academy are exceptional.

“Cannot wait to start teaching my son physical education tomorrow, we are sure to accomplish great strides this school year. We are so proud he will be attending Royal Academy again this year!” Abi, mother of 10th grader

“Enjoying working with ‘my’ Royal Academy Education, Inc. families. I have experienced many children growing from babyhood to adulthood and am now growing old(er) with the parents. Students are now wanting to home educate their own children and getting in touch with me for advice. Feeling a little like a grandmother with many, many grandchildren.” Jane, teacher, mother of homeschoolers

“I am so very proud of my sister-in-law and the stand she takes to provide decent education to our next generation.” Gail

Through the years Royal Academy has taught students from all over the United States, sometimes educating entire families, giving hope to students, meeting children where they’re at, through its unique and custom-tailored approach.

“Royal Academy will work extensively to create an educational and financial plan which has included giving family discounts,” Tajonera said.

For more details about Royal Academy, call them at 207-831-5337 or 207-572-2927 or visit them online at or find them on Facebook at <

Friday, July 21, 2023

Business Spotlight: Home Academy

Home Academy, a new, unique and innovative non-traditional school, offers an exceptional educational experience for students from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade.

Crystal and Liz are two sisters and
parents of school-aged children
who are the founders of the new
Home Academy, a unique and
innovative non-traditional school
which starts this fall.
Located at 15 Main St. in Gray, the mission of Home Academy is to provide a nurturing and supportive learning environment that goes beyond traditional methods. Home Academy’s founders are two sisters, Crystal and Liz, of school-aged children who are frustrated by the limitations of the public school system and seek an educational approach catered to the unique needs of their family.

“We believe in cultivating critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and the overall growth of each child,” the sisters said. “At Home Academy, we strive to foster a love for education, empowering students to become lifelong learners and future leaders. We are starting this together. We are both entrepreneurs and have experience with business startups. We both have a huge desire to do something better for our children.”

They said they were inspired to create Home Academy after they witnessed how their children were not receiving the individualized attention that they required in a system overly focused on standards and test scores. After exploring various alternative schools and private schools in Maine without finding the right fit, Crystal and Liz felt compelled to create their own educational haven where their children and others could flourish.

Driven by their vision, the sisters embarked on the journey of establishing the Home Academy homeschooling program with a goal of creating a safe and nurturing space where children could feel safe, valued, and free to be themselves. They envisioned an environment that allowed kids to explore their passions, learn in areas that interested them, spend less time on technology, and embrace the wonders of the outdoors.

Instruction at Home Academy begins this fall with a staff of certified teachers.

“We believe in a lot of outdoor learning, project-based learning, as well as a focus on social -emotional development as it is essential to a child’s success. Every child will receive a book called the Big Life Journal. Filled with teaching about affirmations, self-confidence, dreams and so much more,” the sisters said. “We are going to spend the first two weeks getting to know one another. We believe that deeper connections and friendships will foster true respect for one another and a more family-type environment that we want Home Academy to have. We want our students to feel like they are coming home. They feel safe, appreciated, and have a love for education.”

Mindfulness and positive self-talk are integral parts of the Home Academy philosophy which aims to equip students with tools for emotional well-being and resilience, enabling them to navigate challenges and cultivate a healthy mindset.

“We are excited to incorporate the Big Life Journal into our program,” the sisters said. “The Big Life Journal helps children develop strong Social-Emotional Learning and growth mindset skills through inspiring stories, colorful illustrations, and engaging guided activities.”

As a non-profit school, the emphasis will be small class sizes, individualized learning, and an entrepreneurship program for students.

“We will prioritize giving children the freedom to explore their interests and passions,” the sisters said. “Our curriculum allows for flexibility, enabling students to delve into subjects that inspire them and pursue their unique talents. This freedom nurtures a genuine love for learning, as students actively engage in their education and take ownership of their academic journey.”

Many Home Academy classes will be offered outside.

“The majority of our learning will take place outdoors, embracing the wonders of nature as an extension of our classroom,” the sisters said. “Outdoor education not only promotes physical activity and a connection to the environment, but also enhances creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

Home Academy is currently enrolling students for fall 2023 and availability is limited. Enrollment may be completed on the school’s website at

For questions about Home Academy, send an email to, visit or find them on Facebook under Home Academy. <

Friday, July 14, 2023

Business Spotlight: East Shore Tavern

Kyle Bancroft is aware of how special it is to own and operate a business in his hometown of Raymond

and each day he’s thankful for the opportunity to provide a place close to home where those in the community can enjoy a great meal, listen to music, have fun, and meet old friends or make new ones. That place is called the East Shore Tavern and Bancroft has transformed what was a small family diner into an establishment that everyone can feel welcome to visit.

Located at 1248 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond, East Shore Tavern was rebranded in February after about 15 years of being known as Café Sebago. Bancroft bought the business three years ago after it had been on the market for some time and it is rapidly becoming a favorite gathering place for local and visitors.

“I was born and raised in Raymond and I’m a hometown guy,” Bancroft said. “I live in this community, and I work here in this community and to me, the best thing about all of this is being able to have a business in my hometown and elevating it for the future. When I purchased Café Sebago from the previous owner, I promised to keep it as Café Sebago for several years and I kept that promise.”

Along with his staff, Bancroft gathered several years of helpful information prior to rebranding the tavern to offer customers exactly the kind of place they wanted.

“We had to figure out who our customer base is to give them the type of atmosphere they could enjoy,” he said. “We took over after coronavirus had shut the business down and had to make changes slowly to bring it across the finish line. We had to roll everything out in sections.”

Bancroft has assembled a top-notch team to assist him in running the tavern.

“We’re a small-knit team but it was important to find qualified people who wanted to engage in the business and wanted to be part of the team,” he said.

One of the changes Bancroft has made during the transformation of East Shore Tavern is to liven things up and bring some nightlife to Raymond.

According to Bancroft, now, there’s something fun going on at the business every time a customer visits. Tuesdays at East Shore Tavern features karaoke, Wednesdays are game nights, and Thursdays are open mic nights. On Friday nights, there is a DJ spinning your favorite tunes and every Saturday there are live music performances. The dining room opens at noon each day with the dance floor available at 9 p.m. The tavern is closed on Mondays.
Formerly named Cafe Sebago, East Shore Tavern in Raymond
has been a local staple for great food and a friendly atmosphere
for almost 20 years. They have made many updates inside and
out over the last couple years and invite you to come and
enjoy amazing food and nightly entertainment.

Another task facing Bancroft and his team in transforming the business was how to best revise the menu to provide great and affordable food that customers preferred.

“We offer flavorful twists on pub-style food and have homestyle specials daily,” he said.

Since rebranding the business as East Shore Tavern, Bancroft said customers have embraced the changes and are liking what they are seeing.

Online reviews have been exceptional for the tavern.

“Fun place great staff. Highly recommended.” Donnie Sarazen

“A local great spot. Awesome food and drink!” Michael McGrath

“Love it! Always great food, drinks, and atmosphere!” Kate Latini

“Best food... great chef named Luisa. Prompt service by Ashley and Jazmyn, love this place, give it a try you will be back!” Kathleen Pierson

Bancroft said he’s happy that so many people have expressed how happy they are that Raymond at last has a place to go for fun and entertainment, and that all the work that has been put into making the tavern’s transformation to this point is connecting positively with local residents.

“We believe everyone will like it here,” Bancroft said. “People are coming out, having a good time, and having fun in a safe environment that’s clean and really is for everybody now.”

To learn more about East Shore Tavern, call 207-655-6481 or find them on Facebook under East Shore Tavern. Also be sure to follow them on Tik Tok @ eastshore207. <

Friday, July 7, 2023

Business Spotlight: Maine Power Wash Pros

Seven simple words can clearly define the work of Maine Power Wash Pros: dependability, reliability, and

outstanding service to customers.

Maine Power Wash Pros provides low-pressure house washing, cement cleaning/gum removal, roof cleaning, composite deck cleaning, condo/apartment building washing and commercial building washing in the Southern, Central and Midcoast Maine areas and has been in business for more than a decade.

“The best thing about our business is our customers. We have hundreds of repeat customers that come back time and time again. We relate that to clear expectations and incredible results,” said Brian Condon, Maine Power Wash Pros co-owner. “We think the world of the people that we have working with us. They take real pride in what they do and work very hard to deliver a great service to our customers.”

Condon said each Maine Power Wash Pros employee is determined to exceed expectations and go above and beyond to earn the loyalty and continued support of its customers.

“We are all about setting and exceeding expectations,” he said. “We’re very prepared for what we do and any situation we may encounter be it cleaning homes, business, condos or restaurants.”

One offer that shatters expectations is Maine Power Wash Pros’ Price Lock Guarantee, in which the company guarantees the price you are quoted for services is good right now or forever as long as you own your home.

“Once you get your quote, the price is locked in, whether that’s 30 days or five years or 10 years,” Condon said. “The price never changes once you get a quote for as long as you own your home.”

Maine Power Wash Pros was formed when owners Mike Morin and Brian Condon found a genuine need for this type of business existed in Maine and discovered that the learning curve to perform this service was feasible. They continuously take classes and seminars to be sure they are up to date with the latest skills for the best results.
Before and after photos of work of cleaning work performed
by Maine Power Wash Pros. SUBMITTED PHOTO

“We put in a lot of time and energy before every wash.” Condon said. “We stand behind our work anddon’t just take our word for it. Look at the hundreds of testimonials from our customers we’ve posted on our website from the last 10 years.”

Through its use of low-pressure house washing and featuring biodegradable products, Maine Power Wash Pros thrives on delivering quality and overall service. Their washing method doesn’t just clean but also disinfects surfaces.

“We do what we say we’ll do and when we say we’ll do it,” Condon said. “We’re very hands-on and our word is our bond.”

He said that customers have found that there is a distinct advantage in calling Maine Power Wash Pros when working on a project. “Roofs are guaranteed for two years, and we offer free estimates,” Condon said. “Your satisfaction is guaranteed, and senior discounts are available. We are fully insured and professionally trained and certified.”

According to Condon, Maine Power Wash Pros provides restored beauty and curb appeal of residential and commercial properties with hot water washing that is safe, effective, and affordable.

“You can change your home’s appearance in a single day,” he said. “Power washing is a safe and effective option for a wide variety of surfaces, including concrete, brick, roofs, wood decking, painted and all types of siding. It removes mold, mildew, dirt, grime, and oily residues for a truly clean wash that’s hard to accomplish through others means.”

“Power washing can help prolong the life of a home’s exterior surface and a power wash completed by Maine Power Wash Pros can keep all home surfaces in great shape,” Condon said.

“Our main service is cleaning vinyl siding, which is about 95 percent of our business, and the rest is painted houses,” he said. “Our no-pressure roof cleaning is a great option as well.” Their roof cleaning treatments are effective for removing streaks, lichen, and mold.

Call now to take advantage of a special Maine Power Wash Pros $50 off coupon. To receive a fast, no-obligation estimate or for more info. about Maine Power Wash Pros, call 207-320-1801 or visit their website at

On their website you will see numerous positive customer reviews. They rate five stars and have many repeat customers because of their professionalism, promptness, and effective results at a fair price. <