Friday, May 17, 2024

Nonprofit Spotlight: Gander Brook Christian Camp

A beautiful camp in Raymond exists where children can experience adventure and what life was like decades ago, in a positive, safe, and encouraging setting. Gander Brook Christian Camp provides kids 8 to 18 with a rustic camping experience where they can make lifelong friendships, strengthen their faith and simply to enjoy what it is like to be a child.

Owned and operated by the Churches of Christ in New England, Gander Brook Christian Camp is located at the corner of Ledge Hill Road and North Raymond Road and sits on 222 acres as well as additional waterfront property on Raymond Pond. Sessions are overnight and conducted weekly, running from the last week of June through the first week of August.

The camp is non-denominational, open to all children, and Gander Brook Christian Camp can accommodate up to 120 campers per session. Campers bunk in cabins with kids their own age for their weeklong stay and their daily schedule includes, meals, Bible classes, earning merit badges such as outdoor cooking, archery, ropes course, tie dyeing, sign language and more, afternoon sports and swimming/kayaking, cabin challenge games, evening activities such as skit nights, Crazy Olympics, scavenger hunts, nature classes, bonfires, and cookouts.

Steve Mezzapelle of Gander Brook Christian Camp first came to the camp at age 8 and attended every year until he was 18 and even returned as a camp counselor for several summers when he was in college and is currently on the camp Board of Directors.

“It made such a huge impact on my life,” he said. “This is a hidden gem nobody knows about. Gander Brook is the reason why I fell in love with Maine and the reason I wanted to move here. It had that great of a positive impact on my life.”

The camp has been operating in Raymond since 1959 and is guided by a Board of Directors of 17 people from around New England. It is staffed by two directors, a staff of 16 to 20 camp counselors and an activities director. Volunteers staff the kitchen, the camp canteen and camp laundry, and there are also merit badge instructors, nurses, and Bible instructors. Camp counselors change each year and are recruited from the leading Christian colleges across America. The two camp directors have been with the camp for over 20 years.

Gander Brook provides campers with a good, healthy, faith-based environment away from the chaotic stresses that can often surround children. No electronic devices are allowed so it’s a great place for kids to unplug and connect with people and nature and to just have fun. For many campers, lifelong friendships are forged, and those friendships and the people associated with Gander Brook Christian Camp are what make this camp special.

Mezzapelle said that campers find encouragement and an environment of making everyone feel special and respected like they are family.

The Gander Brook Christian Camp site itself is one of Maine’s historic properties. On the site, the Wilson Hotel and Spring Company, with its centerpiece inn known as “The Wilson” was built in 1890. In a newspaper ad from 1892, promoters of this impressive structure touted its “Spring of Wonderful Purity and Curative Properties.” Guests coming to “The Wilson” would only be able to enjoy those ‘curative’ waters for five years though, because it burned to the ground in 1895. The Noraco Inn was built on the site in 1929 on the berms seen in the Wilson Hotel pictures, and which still surrounds the lodge today at Gander Brook.

The Noraco Inn was owned by Joseph Dellamano and the property in its heyday was a getaway vacation retreat for summer vacationers from urban areas of New England and New York. Promotional literature from the Noraco Inn enticed the guests to visit “Maine’s Log Cabin Resort” and stay in the “well furnished” cabins and eat at the lodge in the spacious “Sunset Dining Room.” When the inn closed around 1950, the property was vacant for nine years. The Churches of Christ in New England saw a need for summer camping and organized a Board of Directors which purchased the property in 1959 and has been operating a summer camp program each summer since then.

“This is such a beautiful place, and we want the community to know about it and young people to experience it,” Mezzapelle said.

Openings for children are currently available at Gander Book Christian Camp for this summer.

You can sign up online or call 207-998-4369 or 501-827-7432 for the registrar throughout the year.

For more information about Gander Brook Christian Camp, visit https://www.ganderbrook.org/ or find them on Facebook and Instagram under Gander Brook Christian Camp. <

Business Spotlight: Robbins Pest Services, LLC

Peace of mind is what Robbins Pest Services offers customers by providing comprehensive pest control solutions and helping ensure they’re able to enjoy a pest-free environment in their homes or businesses.

Based in Gorham and servicing Greater Portland and the surrounding cities and towns, Robbins Pest Services offers a wide range of services tailored to meet the specific needs of each customer with reliability and affordability.

Owned and operated by Rick Robbins and his wife Nicole, the company’s core services include general pest control by addressing common household pests such as ants, cockroaches, spiders, and rodents through targeted treatments and prevention strategies, including organic options for environmentally conscious customers. It also provides bed bug extermination and mosquito and tick treatments.

“Bed bugs can be a major nuisance and difficult to eradicate without professional help,” Robbins said. “We utilize advanced techniques, including organic solutions, to eliminate bed bug infestations and prevent future outbreaks. We also offer specialized treatments to control mosquito and tick populations, reducing the risk of bites and potential disease transmission to humans and pets.”

Robbins said the company is aware that every customer's pest control needs are unique.

“That's why we offer a variety of customizable plans to accommodate different schedules, budgets, and pest concerns,” he said. “Whether it's a one-time treatment or ongoing maintenance, we work closely with our customers to develop a plan that fits their specific requirements. We also understand the unique pest control needs of businesses and offer tailored solutions to keep commercial properties pest-free and in compliance with health and safety regulations, including organic treatments for businesses seeking environmentally friendly options.”

He said that Robbins Pest Services uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system.

“We advocate for sustainable and eco-friendly pest control practices through our IPM approach, which emphasizes prevention, monitoring, and targeted interventions to minimize environmental impact, including the use of organic treatments as part of a holistic pest management strategy, Robbins said. “Our experienced technicians utilize a combination of expertise and advanced methods to ensure thorough inspections and precise treatments, delivering long-lasting results. Additionally, we provide organic options for environmentally conscious customers seeking sustainable pest control solutions. Overall, our goal is to provide reliable, effective, and environmentally responsible pest control services that give our customers peace of mind, including personalized plans to meet their individual needs.”

What sets Robbins Pest Services apart from the competition is its exceptional commitment to customer satisfaction.

“As a family business, we prioritize personalized solutions tailored to each customer's needs,” Robbins said. “Our experienced team stays ahead of the curve with innovative techniques while promoting sustainability. We offer organic options for those seeking environmentally friendly solutions, ensuring effective pest control with minimal environmental impact. Ultimately, we're dedicated to making our customers happy and providing peace of mind. We aim to keep things competitive without sacrificing quality. Our prices are fair and upfront, with no hidden fees. We might not always be the cheapest, but we're all about giving you value. And hey, we've got different service plans to suit your needs. Our goal is to make sure you're getting top-notch pest control without breaking the bank. It's all about giving you the best bang for your buck.”

Having worked in the Pest Control industry for almost 10 years, Robbins said he recognizes the importance of offering reliable and personalized pest control services that prioritize both quality and community well-being.

“Leveraging that experience in the industry and fueled by a passion for making homes and businesses pest-free, my wife and I established Robbins Pest Services,” he said. “From Day One, we've infused every aspect of our business with a family touch, ensuring that each customer receives the care and attention they deserve. Our mission is simple, to protect your family and property as if they were our own, all while building a stronger, pest-free community together. We are deeply rooted in family values and community. My wife Nicole and I, along with our 4-year-old son Nolan, have made this area our home. Our commitment to serving the community drives everything we do, from our personalized approach to pest control solutions to our dedication to sustainability and customer satisfaction. When you choose Robbins Pest Services, you're not just getting effective pest control, you're supporting a local family business that genuinely cares about making a positive impact in the community.”

To learn more about Robbins Pest Services, LLC, call 207-770-0274 or visit robbinspest.com <

Friday, May 10, 2024

Business Spotlight: Tinker Automotive Services

Expertise, keeping costs low, honesty and a passion for automotive repair excellence are the guiding principles of Tinker Automotive Services of Windham.

The Tinker Family welcome everyone to the
new location of Tinker Automotive Services
at 51 Tandberg Trail in Windham.
COURTESY PHOTO
Now in an expanded site at 51 Tandberg Trail, the new location allows owner Levi Tinker and his team of technicians to deliver the highest quality vehicle repairs in a more convenient spot with more parking and easy access for many customers.

“The difference is significant because we’ve gone from one bay to five,” Tinker said.

In business since 2017, Tinker Automotive has worked hard to keep up with advances in the industry and has recently added wheel alignment racks for the new shop. They are also equipped to be able to do more rust repair work there.

In addition to performing state inspections for four-wheeled vehicles, Tinker Automotive Services also can perform state motorcycle inspections too and offers a complete line of affordable repairs and maintenance services for all types of vehicles.

“We’re really happy at this new place and glad that we’ve made this move,” Tinker said. “We’re grateful to be able to serve this community and have made so many wonderful friends through the years.”

Levi Tinker’s expertise in auto repair started at an early age and continues to this day.

“I’ve always liked to ‘tinker’ with repairs,” he said. “Even as a kid, I would go to the town dump to see if I could find a bike to fix up. For me, it was so much fun to take a broken bike and get it up and running again. There was a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in that. And there still is.”

He’s worked in the automotive repair field for all his adult life and worked his way up to owning his own shop through hard work and a willingness to be honest and deliver exceptional work in a timely manner while doing everything possible to keep costs as low as possible.

Tinker also believes in transparency and taking the time to explain the extent of work required to his customers.

“I will take time to show people what the problem is and do my best to explain in a way they can understand,” he said. “Unfortunately, in the automotive repair field, women are often taken advantage of, and we are adamant about not doing that. We never upsell anything and we are straightforward and honest.”

Tinker Automotive Services has been voted for several years as a leading choice in The Windham Eagle's annual Eagle Choice Awards and it doesn't look like this trend will end anytime soon. Their positive reputation continues to spread throughout the community because of their commitment to performing exceptional repairs and maintenance on all makes of vehicles for every customer everytime.

Outstanding reviews posted online confirm Tinker Automotive Services’ devotion to its customers and the quality work it performs.

We were referred to Tinker when our current mechanic retired. We were planning a long family road trip and wanted a thorough check of my vehicle before we hit the road. I immediately felt relieved by the fantastic customer service and great communication with everyone at the shop. When I needed to stop in with my kids they had toys and treats to keep them busy and were all very kind to my little ones. We had multiple issues with my vehicle that needed repair. The shop was thorough and very fair with their assessment and pricing. We feel that they went above and beyond to help us get on the road safely. It isn’t often that you find a kind and honest shop that is this great at repairs. We are happy to have found them and highly recommend to anyone in need of a good mechanic.” – Lynnsey Flynn

Our vehicle was down, and we were in a pinch to get it looked at and fixed. Tinker Automotive was not only able to to get us in to diagnose the problem quickly but they were able to get it fixed and back on the road fast. Communication and response time were fantastic. They even followed up after we picked up our vehicle to thank us for our business. We are very happy with our experience and will be using Tinker Automotive for all our future vehicle maintenance and repair needs. Thank you to Levi and the rest of your team.” – Aaron Pieper

Just had one of my vehicles fixed by the guys at Tinker. They did an exceptional job, and they stand by their work. And I liked that they visually showed me what needed to be fixed and the price was totally affordable.” – Ronnie Lee

The mission of Tinker Automotive Services is to help customers maintain a safe, reliable vehicle, and to provide the community with honest, reliable, and exceptional service. FMI or to make an appointment call or text 207-318-0342 and find them on Facebook. <

Friday, May 3, 2024

Business Spotlight: Harry's Heat Pumps

When you’ve had enough of soaring energy bills and are considering a highly efficient heating and cooling pump, there are many reasons to choose Harry’s Heat Pumps of Windham.

Based in Windham, Harry's Heat Pumps can
help save home and business owners money
through efficient heating and cooling systems.
The company specializes in installation,
service and maintenance and is a family
business. COURTESY PHOTO
Harry Wood has lived in Windham his entire life and has owned and operated Harry’s Heat Pumps for more than four years and has racked up a decade of expertise and experience in the industry. Besides that, choosing Harry’s Heat Pumps strengthens community resilience, uplifts the local economy, and paves the way for a more sustainable future. As a Windham resident, he also understands how important it is to save money on heating and cooling throughout the year.

“We offer a year-round product and provide exceptional customer service because we live locally and are aware of how costly it is to heat and cool a home,” Wood said. “We specialize in keeping you and your family comfortable year-round whether it’s in one room or the whole house.”

Based in Windham, Harry’s Heat Pumps sells heating and cooling pumps, installs them, performs service repairs, cleanings and all associated preventative maintenance.

Because his business is small and local, the response time for Harry’s Heat Pumps is quicker than the larger companies and is a highly affordable option to help community residents to save money.

“I’m the local guy you can call who will provide exceptional customer service and get it done right the first time,” Wood said. “We’re a family- oriented company.”

According to Wood, heat pumps use electricity to pull heat out of the air. In winter, they pull warmer air inside to heat your home while in the summer, it acts like an air conditioner, moving warm air out while circulating cooler air inside. When you’ve had enough of soaring energy bills and are considering a highly efficient heating and cooling pump, there are many reasons to choose Harry’s Heat Pumps of Windham.

Harry Wood has lived in Windham his entire life and has owned and operated Harry’s Heat Pumps for more than four years and has racked up a decade of expertise and experience in the industry. Besides that, choosing Harry’s Heat Pumps strengthens community resilience, uplifts the local economy, and paves the way for a more sustainable future. As a Windham resident, he also understands how important it is to save money on heating and cooling throughout the year.

“We offer a year-round product and provide exceptional customer service because we live locally and are aware of how costly it is to heat and cool a home,” Wood said. “We specialize in keeping you and your family comfortable year-round whether it’s in one room or the whole house.”

Based in Windham, Harry’s Heat Pumps sells heating and cooling pumps, installs them, performs service repairs, cleanings and all associated preventative maintenance.

Because his business is small and local, the response time for Harry’s Heat Pumps is quicker than the larger companies and is a highly affordable option to help community residents to save money.

“I’m the local guy you can call who will provide exceptional customer service and get it done right the first time,” Wood said. “We’re a family- oriented company.”

According to Wood, heat pumps use electricity to pull heat out of the air. In winter, they pull warmer air ins

He said heat pumps are very quiet and help improve air quality by filtering the air and dehumidifying a home.

“Air quality can be a key component for optimum health and prevention of illness,” Wood said. “Because a heating and cooling pump uses no fossil fuels, it is eco-friendly by reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere while saving a bundle on heating and cooling costs.”

Heating and cooling pumps require little maintenance and that can add up to substantial savings which can be used for other projects by homeowners, Wood said. “Right now rebates are running between $4,000 and $8,000.”

“The primary advantage of installing a heat pump is that it’s one of the lowest cost sources of heat and that when installed with multiple indoor units, heat pumps allow for room-by-room temperature control,” he said. “They are safe because heat pumps are electrically powered and there is no risk of combustion gas leaks. Many people have the misconception that the electricity consumption cost with a heat pump is higher, but in reality, are very efficient and also help dehumidify and cool homes in the summer.”

When compared to larger companies, Harry’s Heat Pumps is highly competitive in its pricing.

“We have much lower overhead allowing us to offer significant savings,” he said. “And heat pumps also typically provide 250 to 300 percent efficiency when compared to oil prices.”

Online reviews for Harry’s Heat Pumps are extraordinary.

“Harry runs an awesome operation. He is responsive, knowledgeable, and professional. He and his team showed up, treated the workspace as if it was their own house, knocked out the work expediently and with high quality. He communicated well throughout, and he (and his team) took pride in their work. All this great service plus the pricing was phenomenal. Highly recommend.” Matt Reichel

“My experience with Harry was by FAR the best I've had with any tradesman in years. Polite, professional, on time, responsive, answered all my questions and then some. A great guy! You cannot go wrong with Harry's Heat Pumps.” Fern Oates

Harry was great to deal with. He diagnosed the problem with my old system, recommended a solution, and got it done in a timely manner. Attention to detail was top notch, he was punctual, and communication was great. I am very happy and recommend using Harry's Heat Pumps.” Drew MacVane

Harry’s Heat Pumps is insured, licensed, fully certified to work on heating and cooling pump systems and they are a registered vendor with efficiency Maine.

The company is currently booking for the summer season. Find Harry’s Heat Pumps online at https://www.harrysheatpumps.com/ or on Facebook, Instagram and Google or call 207-310-3473 for Harry’s Heat Pumps. <