by Michael Friedland
I was not always a tinkerer, a fixer, a builder. I grew up in an apartment building in Brooklyn, completely removed from all things mechanical all things labor oriented. Home maintenance was not a term I was familiar with. There was no yard to rake or mow, no soil in which to sow, no wood to stack, no snow to move, no trees to trim…well you get the picture.
And of course there was a building superintendent or handyman who would come and fix things but things did not break down much. It was mostly to oversee our never ending roach problem caused by our proximity to the moist basement and the warm boiler. We did not pay for heat or hot water and as a result took endless showers and left our windows open in the winter.
Then of course I went on to become an English major. Another direction with little to no practical application. So how then you might ask did I become the owner of Willard Square Home Repair? It was May 1995 and I had just moved to Maine and of course joined the Portland ultimate summer league and met up with Tom Watson, great fellow who owned multiple apartment buildings. He put me to work for $6/hr. (the bastard) and on my first day we painted an entire apartment and for the first time in my life I was able to clearly see the results of a hard days work. It was as though I had found what was missing although I never knew it wasn’t there. (a bit dramatic but nevertheless true). For the next 10 years it felt as though I were being paid to go to school.
Soon afterward I decided to stay home to raise my daughter Pearl and in my free time helped out with neighbors on their home projects. It soon became apparent that there was a need for a handyman in South Portland, Portland and Cape Elizabeth and I certainly fit the bill.
Now, almost ten years’ later, I am the proud owner of Willard Square Home Repair with a customer base of over 1000 and a crew that ranges from eight to fifteen depending on the season.
I am very lucky and appreciate you, the customer, for making all this possible.
As a side note…people are always amazed when four college grads show up to build shelves in their garage…and they seem to be having fun…I’m amazed too.