Cumberland Farms in Connecticut Exemplify Successful Rebranding
Posted on August 7, 2016
Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
It would be hard not to notice Cumberland Farms stores popping up virtually everywhere in Connecticut over the last couple of years. No longer are the “legacy stores” -meaning existing stores- just a stop and grab for bread, milk and sundries. Rather the legacy and newly built convenience stores offer an array of tasty, hot beverages such as coffees -ice coffee too, year round hot chocolate, fresh pastries and donuts, and breakfast and lunch sandwiches. What’s more, Cumberland Farms stores have become among the places to see and be seen.
Case in point. On one recent morning at the Ellington Five Corners every manner of 4X4-s, as well as, cars pulled in for an a.m. beverage boost complimented by a food item. Some were quick, transient stops but other customers sat down at the window counter seats, still others returned to their vehicles to partake in solitude or not, and watch the show – from carpenters and landscapers wearing logo tees to folks in suits all pumping gas, to the arrival of a granddad, son and grandsons heading inside, a few teens perfectly groomed and attired for summer also heading inside – all converging. It seems a stop at Cumberland Farms has become anticipated; the perfect ten to twenty minutes of the day to greet a neighbor, bump into a new face or have time for one’s self.
In addition to lunch choices, and hot pizza slices, found on the right side of the store which is designed in pleasing earth tones is a varied selection of modestly priced breakfast sandwiches. There are egg, sausage and cheese sandwiches on a choice of biscuits, croissants or English muffins – egg, cheese and bacon (or Canadian bacon) sandwiches, even an egg white option for the heart-healthy conscience. These can be warmed up in a microwave behind the clerk’s counter. Cold selections like orange juice or milk inside freezers are on the opposite side of the store, where other snacks, basic food needs and things like aspirin are located.
Access is easy and so far, the clerks have been low-key, yet pleasant.
“Our job is to get people in and out quickly, to just make their lives easier,” Ari Haseotes, Cumberland Farms president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) , is quoted as having told the Boston Business Journal during an interview in 2009.
Aesthetics is also a key priority it was noted in the online publication “Walls&Ceilings”.
It is all part of Ari Haseotes rebranding business philosophy. He is the grandson of the Greek immigrants, Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes, who started Cumberland Farms some 77 years ago. According to the Boston Business Journal, the Haseotes began by buying a farm in Cumberland, Rhode Island, along with a few dairy cows and selling the milk. They and their children grew the business into a chain in ten Northeastern states then added Florida, generating $10 billion annually in 2009 – included is the profit from sales of Gulf oil at the stores.
In 2009 Ari Haseotes took over. He had spent time as a child stocking the shelves of his father’s store and scrubbing coolers, the Boston Business Journal reports. After being graduated from Boston College in 1996 he went into Cumberland Farms store manager training, spent a year as a manager then took time off to open a storage business. Next Haseotes attended Harvard Business School, returning to rejoin his family’s convenience stores chain, he worked in marketing and development. He began developing a “blueprint” for what the BBJournal describes as his long held “rebranding vision” for the stores.
At age 34, once in charge, Haseotes is said to have begun implementation of that vision. He hired another rebranding visionary and signed on as the convenient store sponsor for the Boston Red Sox. In giving “facelifts” to legacy stores and construction of new ones, a change to new exterior store colors of blue and green that blend with the surrounding environment became part of the plan. Haseotes’ goal it is said, is to remain relevant and successful for years to come. Concurrently, he wants Cumberland Farms to become competitive with the popular coffee klatches of the times.
In Connecticut it appears – latter mission accomplished.
*In 2016 the Haseotes family was listed by Forbes as the 72ND richest family in America. Reportedly, they have 600 stores and provide gas to 2,500 Gulf stations. The company headquarters is in Framingham, MA.