Cooler and freezer doors save energy and give a new look to a convenience store.
With a history that stretches back almost 270 years, it may seem counterintuitive to also be on the cutting edge. Founded in 1967, but with roots back to a family farm that has continuously operated in central Pennsylvania since 1747, Rutter’s Farm Stores has been able to successfully strike a balance that melds its devotion to a respected history with the desire to be forward thinking.
Over the years, Rutter’s Farm Stores have evolved into a convenience-store chain that offers foodservice and fuel at 60 locations in a 100-mi. radius surrounding the company’s headquarters in York, PA. Openly embracing new technologies has helped the company stay on the cutting edge of the industry. For instance, Rutter’s was one of the initial chains to offer loyalty programs, foodservice with touchscreen-ordering kiosks, sustainability and recycling programs, a mobile app for its customers, and Wi-Fi access at its stores.
When the decision was made to upgrade and remodel its location on Seven Valleys Road in York, every aspect of the operation was fair game for a new look, from the way the fuel pumps were situated to the types of doors that were used on the in-store coolers and freezers.
“Rutter’s has been able to innovate throughout its history. Whether it’s been innovation in the dairy business, packaging, or branding of the convenience store, Rutter’s wants to stay on the leading edge,” said Derek Gaskins, chief customer officer. “We wanted to take that same innovative spirit into this store that has been here for decades, and give it a modern look that feels like a brand-new store.”
Part of that new, modern look involved upgrading the coolers and freezers with cutting-edge door technology that would not only attract customers, but also provide an energy-efficient boost to the store’s operational bottom line.
“With the cooler doors, we like to use bright light to draw customers through the store since this is a destination,” explained Gaskins. “However, sustainability is very important for us as a company. It’s something we look at as a point of difference. Therefore, the lighting and cooler doors have to be energy efficient.”
Making A Difference
The solution was installing inviting and energy-efficient Infinity 090 cooler and freezer doors from Anthony, Sylmar, CA. The doors have infinity-edge construction, with an enhanced visibility area for improved merchandising. The doors are equipped with magnetic gaskets for a tight seal and have heat-reflective glass. Rutter’s installed a total of 16 Infinity 090 doors during the remodel, 12 on coolers and four on freezers.
“The first thought was, seriously, ‘Wow!’ because the doors were making a statement; cold-vault doors are something I am pretty nerdy about, and they make a huge difference,” said Gaskins. “We look at the roles that different categories play. In this particular case, beverage, we are a destination as a channel. If people are thirsty and going down the road, the first place they think of is a convenience store, so to get that ‘Wow’ and to get that type of impact was huge. We feel it is really going to separate us from the competition.”
A typical Rutter’s location has anywhere from 12 to 16 cooler and freezer doors, so their ability to operate energy efficiently is a huge concern. The Infinity 090 cooler doors assuage any fears by being 57% more efficient when compared to traditional door models, while the freezer doors are 24% more efficient. This increased efficiency will equate to an estimated yearly savings in energy costs of $1,051 for the cooler doors and $390 for the freezer doors.
“In a store like this, where we literally changed everything from the gas pumps to the floor to foodservice to new restrooms, we didn’t want to shortcut and skimp on something as valuable as the cooler doors,” said Gaskins. “It drives a major piece of the profitability for the total store, so having the right look and having the right brand, the bright-white LED efficient lighting, made a huge difference for us.”
The motto of Rutter’s Farm Stores is “Why go anywhere else?” After the positive impact that the Infinity doors have had on the remodel of the Seven Valleys Road location, the same can be said when the time comes for Rutter’s to select a brand of cooler/freezer doors for a remodel or construction of a new site.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with Anthony on this type of project, and it won’t be the last,” said Gaskins. “In partnering with a great brand like Anthony, one of our goals is to get more doors in more stores. As we look to modernize the footprint and build the Rutter’s brand in our existing and new stores, Anthony can continue to play a key role to help make us a much more profitable company while driving long-term sustainable growth.