Cumberland Farms stages comeback

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Hey, it’s Friday,

It came as no surprise to learn this week that regional supermarket powerhouse Wegmans received the top ranking as one of the 15 Best Places to Work in Retail.

Wegmans has a popular store north of the Delaware line on Route 202 and always ranks near the top in best places to work lists.

But one name out of Delaware’s past also made the top 15 ranking.

That company is Cumberland Farms.

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As you might remember New England-based  Cumberland Farms was a pioneer in combining gas pumps and convenience stores. Typically, their somewhat dingy stores had a couple of pumps and cheap milk.

The family-owned chain ran into trouble as competitors like Wawa,  did a little better job of keeping stores clean and adding drawing cards like hoagies.   

The chain fell victim to revolving door management, entering the rough and tumble oil business and going through a  troubling scandal that involved a policy of accusing employees of theft  (often with no evidence) and then shaking them down the victims for restitution.

Next came a bankruptcy filing that led to the company downsizing its operation and selling its remaining  Delaware stores. 

But Cumberland Farms has since  staged a  comeback with new branding, store designs and an emphasis on building a strong culture.

Along with Wawa’s Pennsylvania rival Sheetz, the two convenience chains are on the top 15 list. Wawa is not on the list, despite  employee stock ownership plan and a  similar rating to Cumberland Farms on the Glassdoor job-rating  website.

Companies with Delaware stores making the list are outdoor retailer REI, The Container Store, Burlington, Footlocker  and Old Navy.

Enjoy the crisp fall weather and rake some leaves if so moved.  This newsletter returns on Monday. – Doug Rainey, publisher.

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