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Inside Cumberland Farms' New Concept

By Mehgan Belanger

To view a slideshow with more details of the new Cumberland Farms concept store, click here.

FARMINGTON, Conn. -- The newly opened Cumberland Farms convenience store on the highly travelled Route 6 here looks like no other of its kind. Gone are the blue and orange accents that have graced the chain’s stores for so many years. Instead, as a symbol of all that is new and different about this prototype store, a green and blue Cumberland Farms logo stands tall above the store entrance and on forecourt signs.

"Obviously there’s a lot of heritage in our logo, it’s been around for almost 70 years, and we wanted to be careful to pay it the respect it deserves," Ari Hasetoes, president of the Canton, Mass.-based convenience chain, told CSNews Online at the store’s grand opening ceremony last Friday. "But we also wanted to be able to morph ourselves into a new generation and communicate to customers that we’re not just about packaged beverages or milk anymore, we’re about fresh foods."

The iconic tree symbol is now green, and has changed to resemble a sprout with leaves that is encircled by a ring of dots that grow larger as they move clockwise. Below that, the word “Cumberland” is blue, and the word "Farms" is green.

"It’s not just a logo, that logo will only adorn stores that have received the new fresh products and the new coffee and fountain offer," he said. "That really exemplifies and communicates what we are about now, which is fresh products, that’s why we introduced green into it."

Heralded by the company as a new definition of convenience store, its offerings are based on fresh prepared foods and foodservice. In fact, using the cashier counter as a divider -- it is placed in the middle of the store’s back wall -- the left half of the store is dedicated to foodservice, while the right is the more traditional convenience items.

And despite the fuel pumps outside the store, the new store design even has some customers scratching their heads. At the site’s grand opening ceremony Friday, a male customer stepped inside, looked quizzically around, and asked "Is this some kind of new Dunkin’ Donuts?"

The interior design of the newly built store features sage green walls, brown and beige tile floors, light wood cabinetry and accents, and gray countertops. Glass pendant lights hang over the coffee bar, and LED lighting illuminates the coolers. Three low and wide-set gondolas occupy the convenience side of the store, while only two islands are present on the foodservice side, giving the store an open feel. To see a slideshow and more details of the concept store and grand opening ceremony, click here, or scroll to the bottom of this article.

The development of this concept began roughly a year ago, according to Haseotes. The process began by examining its core mission: making every day easier for its communities and customers, as well as looking into the business itself: a family-owned, New England-based company with great pride in its products and a rich heritage, he told CSNews Online.

“We had a really strong foundation and brand equity, along with farm-based kinds of simple, pure products, and recognition among the community for that,” he said, adding the company developed the prototype to communicate the foundation its brand already had with the aspirations of carrying out its customer-focused mission.

To make shopping easier for customers, the store provides clear sightlines to key product categories, as well as those products the chain "puts on a pedestal," namely, its dairy products, which were put on display in an open air environment, Haseotes said. And to reflect on its roots and community focus, one sign above the registers features a note from Haseotes himself describing the promise his grandparents made to provide value and quality for the products sold by the company they founded in 1939.

Also during the development, Cumberland Farms studied other best-in-class operators from around the world to find common elements in merchandising, dispensing and serving. The company then teamed with a design firm, and the new Cumberland Farms convenience store concept was born.

Focus on Foodservice
On the foodservice side of the store, a coffee bar lines the left wall, complete with hot and iced coffee, teas, cappuccinos and other specialty hot dispensed beverages. Close by is a island filled with breakfast sandwiches, baked goods and pastries; a variety of to-go salads, fruit cups and yogurt; as well as a wide selection of sandwiches -- such as bacon cheeseburgers, buffalo chicken sandwiches, a rib-b-que, both hot and cold subs, and deli sandwiches on white and wheat breads -- many of which can be toasted by foodservice staff at a nearby counter.

Adjacent to the coffee area and lining the left-hand back wall is Cumberland Farms’ Chill Zone fountain and frozen dispensed beverage area, accented by a stainless steel wall. This area is also home to the Shake Shop, another new offering at Cumberland Farms that features a smoothie and milkshake machine.

The roller grill and other foodservice section flanks the fountain area, and offers a variety of traditional roller grill items -- tornados, rolls, hot dogs, sausages, etc.-- along with a hot case of sandwiches. And behind that are foodservice staff who prepare sandwiches for customers, including toasted flatbread sandwiches.

Nearby is a condiment bar, offering a variety of toppings for the foodservice items on one side, while the other presents coffee and hot beverage additives and accessories.

On the convenience side, the three aisles stock snacks, grocery and non-food items. The prominent placement of its own-brand items on the endcaps of these aisles is an indicator of Cumberland Farm’s emphasis on its private label lines. Cooler doors line the right hand wall, filled with carbonated soft drinks, water, ice, ice cream and other frozen items.

Meanwhile, other cooler items -- milk and dairy, packaged beverages including energy drinks, teas, juice, sports drinks, water and more -- sit in an open-air area, similar to the milk section of a supermarket.

The building features a similar New-England-style brick façade with white siding, just as other modern Cumberland Farms convenience stores. At the 12 fueling stations, the green Cumberland logo is branded on the pumps, as well as a smaller Gulf logo. There is no Gulf logo on the canopy, however, its fascia is white and contemporary.

The design is the future of the Cumberland Farms convenience chain. It will next appear at a raze and rebuild location in Deep River, Conn., and will be implemented at three stores in Massachusetts slated for a remodel, according to one company representative at the grand opening.

"With this format and design, we’ll tweak it over the next couple of months and learn what we didn’t do quite right, with the equipment, design and layout," Haseotes said. "In the next six months to a year we’ll work those out, get our people fully acclimated to the new design, and then we plan to run pretty fast with it, get it out there as quickly as possible."

To view a slideshow with more details of the new Cumberland Farms concept store, click here.
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