After 16 years of equipping Maine teachers with re-purposed stationery supplies, office furniture, art materials and books, Ruth’s Reusable Resources has responded to the public’s pleas to shop at the warehouse.

“We get a lot of calls from people or companies that are nonprofits and cannot shop in the teacher store,” founder Ruth Libby said.

“We have a lot of product that either doesn’t move in the teacher store or doesn’t pertain to a classroom, or we have way too much of something.”

Libby has created the new 4 Public Store, at the same location as the warehouse: 39 Blueberry Road in Portland. This new section will allow anyone, from artist to daycare providers or moms looking for a creative craft project, to purchase thousands of practical, unusual and ever-changing items that fill the warehouse. Proceeds from this new public store will go directly toward the resource center’s operating costs and employee wages.

Ruth’s Reusable Resources has been an economic alternative for many educators who frequent the teacher store to supplement their classrooms with basics – including paper, pens, pencils and rulers – to enhance their art projects. When customers leave, it’s not unusual for them to walk out with new desk chairs, bookcases or file cabinets as well.

This school year alone, members have received more than $3.2 million worth of supplies and furniture for a small yearly membership fee paid by each participating school or nonprofit.   Through the spring, 4 Public Store will be open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Libby plans to increase the hours of operation this summer.

Items are priced from one cent and up and include office supplies, scrapbook materials, furniture, household items, videos, computer parts and supplies and art and building materials.

Though the new store has just begun, Libby expects it will quickly take off and outgrow its present site. She said it may eventually move to a more spacious location with room for crafting and birthday parties.

For more information on Ruth’s Reusable Resources, visit www.ruths.org.

Goodwill’s new flagship store opens in South Portland

Goodwill Industries of Northern New England recently celebrated the opening of its new South Portland flagship store and donation center. The new store, located at 555 Maine Mall Road, in the former Circuit City building, features a convenient donation drive-thru and information about Goodwill’s programs and services. The location will also accept used computer equipment through the ReConnect computer recycling program. Goodwill recycled 1,613,000 pounds of computers in 2009. With 16,000 square feet dedicated to retail sales, 11,000 square feet will be used for donations processing, offices and space for the agency’s Good Clean program, the commercial cleaning arm of the company. Goodwill has signed a 10-year lease for the building. For more information about Goodwill Industries, visit www.goodwillnne.org.

Heritage Family Chiropractic opens new Bridgton office

After eight years of serving the Falmouth area, Heritage Family Chiropractic has opened a new office at 154 Main St., in Bridgton. This integrative clinic provides a warm, friendly environment offering patients the most advanced muscle, joint and spinal-related therapies, along with specialized treatments including neuromuscular, kinesiology and clinical nutrition. Doctors Gregory Fox and Douglas White have multidisciplinary training in a wide range of preventive and corrective methods and have a passion for improving the quality of life of every patient. Visit www.heritagefamilychiropractic.com or call 647-8811.

Web site offers travel ideas and booking capability

A new Web site, www.mainethings todo.com, offers “101 Things To Do In Vacationland.” Former MaineToday employee Kevin Qualls and his wife Maureen Qualls have put together a listing of unique and fun things to do in Maine. The couple have worked on the site’s idea for four years, with experience drawn from Kevin Qualls’ time working at MaineToday, as well as running tourism magazines and sites in Hawaii. Over the years, they gathered information, compiling a broad list, with maps, covering activities, attractions, lodging, dining, history, culture, fun for the family and shopping. Partnering with Kayak.com , visitors can also book a trip to Maine using the online booking engine. An advertising campaign planned for April, will lead to give-aways, such as skydive and rafting trips, schooner cruises, overnight stays at Maine bed and breakfasts, whale watch tours, kayak trips and more. Visit www.mainethingstodo.com or email additional listing suggestions to [email protected]

Hotel site in Saco converts and upgrades to a Ramada

A new Ramada hotel is open in Saco, after a conversion from the previous franchise took place March 1. The 88-room Ramada is at 352 North St. and includes amenities such as free breakfast, an outdoor seasonal pool, guest laundry facilities, dinner served nightly and meeting and conference facilities. General Manager Peter Cairns estimates $350,000 will be spent in bringing the property up to Ramada standards. He said part of the conversion will add new flat screen televisions in all guest rooms and new bedding throughout. For more information, visit www.ramada.com or call the hotel directly at 286-9600.Real estate brokerage adds a commercial division

RE/MAX The Bay, in Portland, has expanded into the commercial real estate market. The commercial division will be a full service brokerage, specializing in the sale and leasing of commercial real estate in greater Portland and southern Maine. The company has operated as a residential real estate brokerage in Portland since 1995.