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Part II – Real Estate Investment and Rental Property Income: is it right for you?

Most affordable properties need some help and Maine has the oldest housing inventory in the country. According to the Maine Association of Realtors, the average age of a home in Maine is 42 years. As much as 24% of the housing stock was built prior to 1939.  And although the older homes and apartment buildings have charm, they are more likely to have outdated systems, termite damage, foundation issues, contain asbestosis, and mold.

Shows like Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, This Old House, Property Brothers, and more have made DIY (Do It Yourself) projects seem romantic and attainable for the average person. In just one episode they can renovate the most dilapidated property and turn it into a desirable piece of real estate. The stars of these series have the skills, education, and financing to do the projects. Many of them are licensed experienced contractors, interior designers, or realtors. Likewise, renovating an older property and bringing it back to its former beauty while doing the required updates can be very gratifying. Read More

Lucinda’s Day Spa & Hair Studio – Cumberland

Marissa Elliott has worked at Lucinda’s Day Spa & Hair Studio for nine years, both in management and as an aesthetician, and recently had the unique opportunity to step into the owner’s shoes, as the owner looked to retire. However, the transition itself – putting together financial projections, negotiating the lease, purchase price, and gift card liability holdover, and obtaining the commercial loan – was complicated, with many factors to consider.  She worked closely with Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisor Raynor Large to carefully think through her options and make sure the business was able to both handle its seasonal fluctuations and service the debt. Read More

Part I – Real Estate Investment and Rental Property Income: is it right for you?

Real estate is HOT right now just about everywhere! There are many factors contributing including pent-up demand, low-interest rates, and the US savings rate hitting a record high at 33%, more than it has been since the previous high of 17.3% set in 1975, at the same time wages have been rising.

These factors have both experienced and novice investors purchasing single-family homes and multi-units to add to their portfolio and create passive income. But is it right for you? Read More

West Maquoit Vinegar Works – Brunswick

Making our resources known and accessible to the small business owners of Maine is a goal of the Maine SBDC, so we love seeing our business advisors customize the help their clients need! We work with all stages of business to help them understand and apply our help. Like Brad Messier and Elizabeth Guilbault, of West Maquoit Vinegar Works, who have been making small-batch craft vinegar in Brunswick Maine, since 2018. Their vinegars are unique in flavors and focused on quality ingredients, many of which they source locally.  Their business has now become a full-time job for Brad who sought out help in strategically scaling up while still working full time. He connected with Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisors Brad Swanson who helped him identify marketing gaps, specifically with digital marketing, eCommerce, and packaging.  Swanson then introduced Messier to fellow Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisor Jenn Stein, who specializes in hospitality and food businesses, so they could dive even deeper. Read More

Ignite PI – Presque Isle

Clint Deschene began 2020 at MSAD #1 as their Business Manager. As a Rotarian and a staple Presque Isle community member, Clint was no stranger to Central Aroostook and the challenges and opportunities in the region. After a visit with the philanthropic Rodney & Mary Smith Family Foundation, it was clear that Clint would make a transition to formally serve the entrepreneurial community in Presque Isle. After several calls with community stakeholders, Clint got to work with Northern Maine Development Commission, a Certified Community Development Financial Institution and the host of Maine SBDC @ NMDC to create a new foundation and acquire the Northeastland Hotel to convert into a business co-working space and upscale lodging facility for business travelers. Read More

Reflections on 2021: It’s Okay To Just “Be”

By: Alison Lane, Business Advisor & 2021 State Star

I used to own a restaurant, and January meant a lot of slow days.  When there weren’t any coffees to pour, dishes to wash, or Quickbooks to update, I would ask myself:

“How can I not waste this time?” 

“What else can I try to generate more business?”

I’d be spinning my wheels and stressed.  Then, before fully forming any one idea, I’d get interrupted or distracted and not have accomplished a darn thing.

I often felt like if I wasn’t DOING SOMETHING, I was failing my business.Read More

Minimum Wage Increase in 2022

Get Ready for the Minimum Wage Increase: 3 Practical Tips

Minimum wage is increasing to $12.75 on January 1, 2022. (Maine law requires minimum wage adjustments annually based on the cost-of-living index.)  Here are some practical tips to help you get ready: Read More

West Bay Lawn Care – Gouldsboro

John Davis was thinking about starting a business and reached out to the Maine Small Business Development Center for some guidance.  He began the business as a side hustle doing jobs with his tractor and partnering with another person doing lawn care.  Fast forward two years and John is the owner of West Bay Lawn Care and is running a successful business serving Hancock and Washington Counties.  Read More

Mackenzie’s Mannered Mutts – Kenduskeag

When Mackenzie MacDougal came to Maine SBDC at CEI Business Advisor Alison Lane, she had a big dream! She knew she loved working with dogs from her experience at a local kennel and felt like she was ready to branch out on her own to offer in-home dog training. She was inspired by a mentor who started their own animal-based business with little to no actual business knowledge and felt like she was ready to take the same plunge. The fact that she had no idea how to start but was ready to hit the ground running only highlighted her true entrepreneurial spirit! Read More

Taco Trio – South Portland

Karen Rasmussen and her husband, Manny Peña, have been long-term owners of Taco Trio, a Mexican Restaurant in South Portland. The quality of their food and service have become a benchmark in the community and an ongoing reason for their continued growth. When they outgrew their first location, a perfect opportunity presented itself – as a much larger space just down the street, that would fit both their needs and the needs of their customers, plus some. Read More