FALL RIVER – The new Cumberland Farms which opened last Thursday at the corner of Brayton Avenue and Stevens Street is quite unique in several ways.
It was only the eighth store of more than 550 Cumberland Farms stores in eight states – most in the northeast but also in Florida – that has incorporated the brand’s Farmhouse Fresh To Go âstore within a storeâ concept. .
Stores with Farmhouse Fresh To Go have onsite kitchens where sandwiches and wraps are made to order and rectangular pizzas, muffins and croissants are made from scratch.
Kitchen workers also make thinner round pizzas and British-style meat and vegetable pies called pies which were made at the stewardship of Cumberland Farms in Westborough, which also serves as the head office.
Brand manager David Letellier says the Farmhouse Fresh To Go breakfast and lunch, which also offers specialty coffees, can compete with brands like Starbucks and Panera Bread.
âWe can respond and adapt instantly to customer demand. We are very flexible and versatile, âLetellier said.
The new Stevens Street Cumberland Farms, which is across from McDonald’s and Walmart and just off Route 24, is also only the fifth of the eight states to have a car wash.
The company’s AutoSpa, which is attached to the new Fall River convenience store building, has a non-contact wash bay and a second âsoft-touchâ bay. Packages range from $ 9 to $ 19.
Region 1 manager Harold Eastwood says he is responsible for 88 Cumbies, the largest number of stores of any Cumberland Farms region. Its portfolio includes three of the five AutoSpa car washes.
Eastwood oversees three stores in Fall River, two in Somerset, one each in Swansea, New Bedford, Dartmouth, Westport and Bridgewater and a series of âbeach storesâ in places such as Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Provincetown, Narragansett and Westerly.
âI’m pretty spread out,â he said.
Eastwood says he doesn’t own a franchise and instead is responsible for overseeing stores in a specific region.
Benefits of car washing
The Bridgewater store in 2019 became the first Cumberland Farms to be equipped with an AutoSpa. Another in New Bedford is contained in a detached building.
The car wash component is “very cost effective,” said Barry Kaplan, director of operations at AutoSpa.
âIt’s a targeted business for us,â said Kaplan, who said new car wash locations are based on volume and proximity to local and independent car washes, traffic counts and residential housing. surrounding areas.
âWe are in competition with the independents,â he said.
The Stevens Street and Jefferson Street area on the south side of Brayton Avenue has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past 20 years.
What were once mostly wooded areas and unused plots have been transformed into a community of duplexes and single-family homes.
Kaplan also said that studies show that many women “feel more comfortable in terms of safety” in a stationary car wash model like AutoSpa, as opposed to a high volume “tunnel” car wash which is based on a conveyor system.
He says there are “several” CCTV cameras inside and outside the AutoSpa facility.
Kaplan said Cumberland Farms has invested $ 1.5 million in the Fall River car wash operation and expects to start making a profit within two and a half to three years.
He says the Stevens Street car wash, unlike his 24-hour companion store, will operate from 5 a.m. to midnight to minimize any possibility of noise or lighting complaints from nearby neighbors.
Eastwood says Cumberland Farms, which was bought in 2018 by UK-based EG Group, invested $ 2.5 million in the new Fall River store, which also includes 10 petrol and gas stations. diesel spread over five islands.
The next closest gas station, Supreme Gas & Convenience, is located further west on Brayton Avenue.
âThis is going to be a gold mine for us,â said an optimistic Eastwood, referring to both the new convenience store and car wash combination.
The one-acre Stevens Street site, which sold for $ 1.8 million in 2019, had previously been used as a five-lane drive-thru by the nearby bank branch of Rockland Trust, a subsidiary of which purchased in 2008 the former Slade’s Ferry Bank. .
Eastman said the headquarters of Cumberland Farms, now part of Westborough-based EG America, first set their sights on the last Fall River location a decade ago.
He says store manager Bernadette Viveiros previously managed the much smaller “historic” store on Stafford Road – which Eastman says relies primarily on walk-in shoppers who buy cigarettes, coffee, tickets. lottery and basic food items.
The other Cumberland Farms at 4548 North Main St. is newer and larger but does not have Farmhouse Fresh To Go.
Eastwood says the Stevens Street store now has 22 full-time and part-time employees, plus one full-time and one part-time car wash. He says he expects to hire three to five more workers.
He says base pay starts at $ 13.50 an hour and drops to $ 14 after 60 days.
Eastwood says polls show Cumberland Farms has the best employee retention rate in the convenience store industry in the United States.
Unlike other farms in Cumberland, the Stevens Street store does not have a counter and stools in front of a window.
âMost of the time, people sit down and scratch lottery tickets,â Letellier said. “The idea is to get in and out on the way to work.”
He said the customers who flocked on opening day seemed to approve of the environment.
âA little boy came in and said, ‘It smells so good,’â Letellier said.
Customer Doug James says he’s a sales representative for a heavy equipment company in Newport.
âI walk past this area every day,â said James, 51. âThe place looks great. “
In addition to Cumberland Farms, the EG Group of Great Britain has over 760 convenience stores in the United States, whose brand names are Turkey Hill; Bread ‘N Jug; Kwik Shop; Tom Thumb; and Quik Stop.
The EG America division initially established its headquarters in Cincinnati before moving to Westborough.