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The Reimagining of Cumberland Farms

BY Al Urbanski

Cumberland Farms, a convenience store fixture in New England and central Florida for half a century, once fielded more than 1,000 stores. Today it has pared down to 600 stores as it transforms itself from a strip-center and gas station dairy store to a chain of freestanding, modern C-stores providing food service and gasoline, along the lines of Quik Check and Wawa.

The chain’s transformation was explored during a session at Chain Store Age’s53rd annual SPECS conference, held March 12- 14, at the Gaylord Palm, in Kissimmee, Fla.

Fran Sheflin, Cumberland Farms’ director of planning and construction, recounted the family-owned chain’s decade-long journey of rebranding, reimaging, and remodeling at the session.

It started with an appeal from Cumberland Farms CEO Ari Haseotes to The Moseley Group in 2007, a Franklin, Massachusetts-based retail food and beverage consultant. Haseotes recognized a new, customer-service-oriented trend developing in the C-store industry and desired to take part.

Moseley surveyed consumers and found that, along the way, Cumberland Farms had lost its original connection customers as a local, family-owned farm store. The response was a simultaneous downsizing and upscaling of the chain based on a reinterpretation of core principles unearthed by Mosely. Customers said the brand was about community, farm fresh foods, and energy, but that they would like to see more choice and innovation in foodservice and more green energy sources in stores.

REBUILD: The only way to communicate such values, Moseley argued, was to tear down the current Cumberland Farms model and rebuild it. A new mission statement was crafted, new leadership was put in place, and new store designs and products were to follow. The company engaged the services of the architectural and design firm HFA, which happened to located in same Franklin office park as Moseley, and the transformation was underway.

Larger, more open space was devoted to foodservice inside the stores, which themselves were crafted in two varieties — sleek boxes for urban areas and colonial-style buildings for suburban locations. HFA architect James Owens said that Haseotes insisted on using the colonial-themed stores in Florida as well as up north to give the chain a point of difference in the Sunshine state.

“He said he wanted the stores to look like they dropped in out of the sky from New England,” Owens said.

A white-green-and-blue palette was chosen for new Cumberland Farms branding to convey the milk-store and ecological energy concepts. That brand dress and an updated logo were applied to everything from drink cups to gas pumps. But that was easier said than done. While the Haseotes family accepted all the changes being proposed by Moseley and HFA, they insisted that the logo had to remain intact.

It wasn’t just that the blue-and-white Cumberland Farms logo with a tree blossoming out from the “l” had become instantly recognizable among Floridians and New Englanders over the decades, it was the meaning the logo held for the Greek immigrant family who founded the chain.

“Throughout this whole process, one thing was made clear by the family,” said Sheflin, who has worked at the company since the Seventies. “The logo was not to be touched.”

That tree sprouting from the logo was not just any tree, but the Greek “Tree of Life.” The shade of blue in the logo came directly from the Greek flag. But the image that the old logo brought to the mind of consumers was that of the old Cumberland Farms, and the family was finally won over to a newer, greener version that featured a more organic representation of the Tree of Life while still retaining the Greek blue.

Between 2009 and 2013, 141 Cumberland Farms stores were remodeled in the new style and 28 new stores were built. Since then, new builds have been working harder to convey the new image, with 105 going up against 34 remodels.

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Amazon shutting down parent company of diapers.com

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is getting is shutting down one of its units after it failed to turn a profit.

The company pulling the plug on Quidsi, parent company of diapers.com, soap.com and several other shopping sites, which it purchased in 2010. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

"We have worked extremely hard for the past seven years to get Quidsi to be profitable, and unfortunately we have not been able to do so,” the company said in a statement. “Quidsi has great brand expertise and they will continue to offer selection on Amazon.com; the software development team will focus on building technology for AmazonFresh.”

The online retailer purchased Quidsi from founder Marc Lore in 2010 for $545 million. Lore stayed on until 2013, going on to launch jet.com, which Walmart purchased for $3.3 billion last year. Lore currently heads up Walmart’s e-commerce operations.

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Konzum
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Croatian grocer enhances supplier collaboration

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A growing supermarket retailer in the Adriatic region has deployed a solution to better manage its disparate inventory levels.

Konzum, part of the 2,000-store Agrokor group with 2,000 stores in the Adriatic region, has been expanding its footprint through accelerated acquisitions have accelerated Konzum’s growth. But the strategy has created a diversified store network, each with different store layouts and inventories. These issues also force the grocery chain to manage disparate inventory files, and deal with order exceptions.

A long-time partner of Oracle, the chain recently adopted the Oracle Retail Predictive Application Server, which is integrated with the Replenishment Parameters Management (REPAMA) solution. The technology, developed by Oracle Partner Network’s Gold Level sponsor Sigmia, enables users to manage inventory levels directly within the system.

The solution gives authority, control and responsibility to members of Konzum’s planning team to directly engage suppliers, and more accurately manage inventory levels.

"The implementation of the REPAMA on the Oracle Retail Planning platform has reduced response times, increased efficiency in decision making and reduced the overall workload through better communication," said Adrian Alajkovic, inventory management and planning director, Konzum.

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