Heidi Andrews is in business to run errands, go shopping and much more.

Heidi Andrews of Freeport primarily does shopping in her one-woman business, Mainely Errands. But she would like more work, and to do that, she figures, it would be a good idea to offer more services.

So recently, Andrews has been doing house-sitting for people who are away from home. She also will do light housekeeping, bring people hot meals, get people’s vehicles serviced, pick up prescriptions or go to the dry cleaner’s. She can do filing, data entry, help with the needs of parents of young children and more. Andrews is flexible in her business, which she began as a stay-at-home mom in 2010 and is ramping up now that her child is in pre-school.

The house-sitting, she said, is becoming more popular.

“I check on the home, water the plants, get the mail – anything that needs to be done,” Andrews said. “I always make sure they have fresh groceries when they get home.”

Andrews, a 2005 graduate of Winslow High School, is not a licensed health-care worker, and isn’t interested in doing personal care. But, she will do the dishes, the laundry or sweep the floor.

“I love it,” she said. “A lot of time I wish I didn’t have to charge some of my clients, but it is a business.”

Andrews gets $22 an hour for her services, which she says is a good price because she does not charge for mileage, as do most people in her line of work. She is willing to go out of town, and does many errands in Portland. But Andrews would like to stay more local, and in order to accomplish that, she is offering various discounts for Freeport residents.

She goes a bit far afield to do grocery shopping for Ralph Zieff, who lives in Scarborough. Zieff is retired and suffers from debilitating arthritis. His daughter noticed the Mainely Errands website (www.mainelyerrands.com) when she did an online search for shopping services, and Andrews had a new client.

“Heidi’s been fabulous,” Zieff said. “She’s never made one mistake, which is incredible. Sometimes they don’t have exactly what I want, and she ends up making the right choice.”

Andrews shops for Zieff every week or so.

“She’s lovely, and kind,” he said. “She’s the most efficient, reliable woman you could ever have. And I give her a pretty good-sized list. She knows how to work with people.”

Zieff might have another task for Andrews. Over the years, the 75-year-old has amassed an amazing collection of thousands of autographs – names such as Jimmy Durante, Frankie Laine and Jayne Mansfield, as well as many sports legends. Understandably, Zieff treasures his collection, and he figures it’s about time he cataloged the names. A job for Mainely Errands.

“Up to now it’s been mostly grocery shopping, but I think I’ll ask her to do this,” he said.

Andrews, lives with her husband Keith and their daughter, Ella. Entrepreneurship runs in the family, as Keith Andrews does photography and videography, mostly for real estate firms. Heidi Andrews was working at a day care facility in the summer of 2010 when she came up with a hunch.

“One of the mothers didn’t like grocery shopping,” she recalled, “so she hired me to do that. All of a sudden, my husband and I thought, ‘Why don’t I start a business?’ I thought I could make a go of it.”

Andrews has found it a bit challenging getting the word out.

“The hardest part of this business is it’s not really well-known in Maine, and it’s so personal, it’s mostly word-of-mouth,” she said. “In the beginning, it was mostly business professionals. Now it seems I’m getting more of the older population. There’s a lot of older people who just can’t get out to buy food. Meals on Wheels is not enough for them.”

Andrews enjoys catering to people’s unique needs.

“One person might say I want this one type of sandwich that you can only get 35 minutes away, “ she said. “I will go get it.”

Heidi Andrews of Freeport shops for a client at the Target store in Topsham. Staff photo by Larry Grard

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