August 2, 2014 12:16AM
By JAMIE SERVIDIO
Special to The Sun
WESTERLY — Growing up, there were always problems that only a mom could help solve. Luckily, lifelong Westerly residents Linda and Paula Barber provide us with a number to call when you need help as dependable and caring as your mother.
They are sister-in-laws who each have three children, but now that the nest is empty they use their experience in organization and homemaking to make the lives of their clients of Coastal Concierge easier.
Coastal Concierge is a newly developed division of Linda and Paula’s caretaking business, which they bought two-and-a-half years ago. At first, the two assumed the role of bookkeeping and maintaining summer homes in the winter, but the business started to naturally expand when clients told them they needed help getting to and from the airport.
The expansion is brand new, but, according to both women, they are excited to see where it will take their business. In developing the idea, the Barbers researched other concierge businesses around the country to mold the idea into a service that would benefit the people in the area. Aside from airport transportation, Linda and Paula will take care of anything from child care to dinner party planning to ensure their clients have minimal stresses while residing in the area. According to the Barbers, their clients can be anybody from vacationers who just want to relax to busy professionals who need help organizing their home lives.
They’re the people that actually want to accomplish all of the things on your to-do list, when you just can’t find the time or energy.
“We do the things our clients don’t have time for,” Linda said, such as restocking the fridge with fresh fruit from Sandy’s or taking your golden retriever for a walk.
According to Linda, they are looking to expand their services but they don’t want their business to grow so much it becomes impersonal.
“We like to be personal so our clients can put a face to our names — like a friend they can call and trust to help them with whatever they need,” she said.
Walter and Leslie Tomenson have known the Barbers for almost as long as they’ve moved into their home in Watch Hill 20 years ago when they met Paula’s husband Buck, who was working on their MGB sports car at European Imports.
According to the Tomenson’s, Paula and Linda have helped and excelled at carrying out any task from something as simple as rearranging furniture to installing outdoor lights.
“There is no project we’ve ever given them that they haven’t had tremendous creativity dealing with,” Mrs. Tomenson said.
When seasonal residents leave the area, Coastal Concierge will maintain homes throughout winter by arranging for driveways to be plowed regularly. They keep the peace so when their clients return everything is in order. Even when one client’s mailbox was knocked down, Coastal Concierge contacted him and immediately installed a new one.
“We really have the concerns of everybody at heart,” Paula said.
Though the two women mainly take care of everything themselves, they have plenty of resources when they need an extra hand including their go-to handymen George Tattersall, Peter Rice, and of course, their children.
Because both Barber women were born and raised in Westerly, they use their knowledge of local businesses to specifically cater to their clients’ needs. They frequently support local businesses by referring their clients to places like Vesta Bakery, Sandy’s Fine Food Emporium, and Nick Schilke Landscaping.
Coastal Concierge negotiates prices with their clients individually, so cost varies from task to task.