160303-ari-069
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Haseotes Family

Made Money InConvenience Stores
Wealth $4.29 Billion (TNHE)

In last year’s edition, the Herald reported that the  Haseotes Family sold its Gulf Oil subsidiary. A year later, they remain our wealthiest family on the list, adding to their $4-plus billion fortune.

Their Cumberland Farms company was founded by current CEO Ari Haseotes’ grandparents, Vasilios and Aphrodite, in 1938. That year, the Haseoteses emigrated from Greece’s Macedonia and Epirus regions to the United States, purchasing a one-cow dairy farm in Cumberland, RI for $84.

Cumberland Farms expanded across state lines and eventually grew to become the largest dairy farm operation in Massachusetts. In 1956, the company opened a jug-milk store in Bellingham, MA. Few convenience food stores with dawn-to-midnight service every day of the week existed in the northern part of the country in the 1950s.

But by 1967, there were some 8,000. With more than 400 stores, Cumberland Farms was among the industry leaders. By the early 1990s, Cumberland Farms ranked third among the country’s convenience store chains, and was also a leader in both the retail and wholesale distribution of petroleum products.

A closely held family-owned company since its inception, Cumberland Farms has since grown to become a multi-billion-dollar corporation. Lily Haseotes Bentas, daughter of Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes, is chairman of the board of directors. Her nephew, Ari, succeeded Bentas as CEO in June 2014.

Cumberland Farms owns and operates convenience stores, and previously also gas stations throughout New England, New York, the Mid-Atlantic States and Florida under the Cumberland Farms, (and previously, also Gulf and Mobil) names.

The company first added a gas station to one of its stores in 1971 and expanded greatly in the wake of the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo. By 1975 Cumberland Farms opened its 1,000th store. The following year, it opened a 560,000-square-foot bakery and warehouse in Westborough, MA. In 1987, it purchased all of the Northeast assets of Gulf Oil from the Chevron Corporation, including 550 service stations and a terminal network throughout the Northeast.

In June, 2016, Ari Haseotes told the Boston Globe as a result of the sale of Gulf, Cumberland can now devote more resources to remodeling its stores and revamping its distribution center. By getting out of the wholesale business and focusing exclusively on retail, Haseotes is returning the company to its roots, more in line with how it was run by his grandparents.

In early February of this year, weeks before press time, the Convenience Store News reported on Cumberland’s extensive survey about pizza. Among the findings, ”65 percent of respondents are in favor of warm fruit on their pizza, and, regarding pizza in the morning, the survey found that 85 percent said they indulge in cold leftovers for breakfast.”