Nearly 50 years ago, Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes took the business acumen and common sense that had built their successful dairy business and applied it “on the road.”

A new retail phenomenon was starting to dot the American landscape, and the Haseotes opened the first convenience stores in New England under the Cumberland Farms name. They believed that if they combined high quality, low-priced merchandise and courteous, efficient employees with clean stores at convenient, accessible locations that consumers would be drawn. They were right. In the ensuing half-century, Cumberland Farms has opened more than 1,000 retail stores, gas stations, and support systems, including petroleum and grocery distribution operations, in communities throughout New England, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida. The primary business originally was staples such as bread, milk, soda, and potato chips. In fact, Cumberland Farms processed its own milk and baked its own bread for years.

Millions of customers every day stop for coffee, gasoline, newspapers, snacks, or cold drinks and a friendly greeting from Cumberland Farms associates. Cumberland Farms, which is headquartered in Canton, MA, is “the stop that keeps (them) going.”

So Many Stores, So Little Time

Keeping food and beverages properly refrigerated is critical to the ongoing success of Cumberland Farms. As a divisional maintenance manager for Cumberland Farms (Reading, MA) Marino Sarno oversees maintenance operations for all stores in New Hampshire, Maine, and northeastern Massachusetts.

“Cumberland Farms is split into five divisions,” says Sarno. “Each of the five general managers covers a territory, and under them, they have three or four regional managers who lead the stores’ sales managers. I’ve been in the business for 50 years, and with Cumberland Farms for about 13 years. There are about 200 stores in my division.”

With so many stores to oversee, Sarno regularly checks store systems. For that reason, he was interested in discussing new system possibilities with Tom Allen, a sales engineer for Heatcraft Refrigeration Products’ (Stone Mountain, GA) Climate Control Division for the region that covers New England from Allen’s base in Springfield, MA.

“Climate Control was able to show Marino and Brian Tremblay, director of store engineering for Cumberland Farms, some good energy savings with the Beacon Control System,” says Allen. “Marino is a guru of refrigeration. He loved the system and saw the potential of a well-engineered system.”

Sarno said that originally the sole purpose of the meeting “was to test the refrigeration equipment. I have had a good relationship with Climate Control for many years. I read the Beacon literature and said, ‘I want to take a shot at this.’ My main concern was to eliminate service calls, which cost a lot of money.”

Constant System Control

“The first Beacon system was actually installed at one of our stores in Danvers, MA back in 1997,” adds Sarno. “I asked our service personnel at Cumberland Farms to purchase one through Johnstone Supply.”

Cumberland Farms contacted Glenn Amore, whose Johnstone Supply Company branch is located in West Warwick, RI, and services Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. “We’ve been with Climate Control for about 10 years now,” says Amore. “We got the bid for the Cumberland Farms business, and after they used the Beacon equipment for a while, they found it was in their best interest to switch over to Beacon.”

Cumberland Farms converted its Danvers store from a water-cooled unit to a 3-hp Beacon system, Sarno said. “The Danvers store is 20 years old and about 1,200 sq ft,” says Sarno. “I use the old formulas based on the cfm, the force of the air that is blowing. We run at 34˚. “We set up the evaporators to blow on the doors,” adds Sarno, “and we’ve got the number of doors one evaporator can handle down to a science. So, the installers know that one evaporator coil with two fans can cover four or five doors.”

Sarno says that the Beacon system maintains constant control. “Flashing lights on the control board will tell you what’s wrong with the system,” he says. “We have alarms connected to the Beacon system, too.”

Movin’ On Down the Road

Since the Beacon system was installed at the Danvers store, there has been only one service call, says Sarno. “Our whole objective was to cut down on service calls, and to make sure we had the correct installation of piping and electrical systems.” Additionally, it is estimated that the Beacon system saves Cumberland Farms about $115 per year at the Danvers location, nearly 25% more efficient than the previous system. So pleased is Cumberland Farms with the system, that Allen says the company has installed Climate Control Beacon systems in a number of stores, “typically about 50 per year. We’ve now expanded the Beacon system to include the southern portion of New England.”

Allen and Climate Control are delighted to now have the opportunity to work with a growing number of Cumberland Farms outlets. Cooling “the stop that keeps you going” is an honor for any company. After all, the credo of the Haseotes never goes out of date, and fresh service is every bit as important to customers as fresh bread, fresh milk, or filling the gas tank.