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    A Green Evolution

    Rutter's Farm Stores makes eco-friendly practices a strategic focus for the company.

    By Linda Lisanti

    YORK, Pa. -- For Rutter's Farm Stores, the present and future are taking on a decidedly greener hue.

    Recognizing that there is an efficient way to evolve, the 51-unit chain is making a variety of changes to its c-stores in an effort to become more environmentally friendly, president and CEO Scott Hartman told CSNews Online in a recent interview.

    "We've had this on our strategy map since last spring. We’re using green as an evolution process -- it's not a case where one day, you change 100 different things at once," he said. "We're more aware now and looking for places to be green and save money."

    One of the ways York, Pa.-based Rutter's is developing into a greener brand is with the launch of a new recycling program. The company just wrapped up its Win Green Design Contest, which challenged entrants to come up with the design for a unique recycling bin that will be placed in front of the retailer's stores. "We've noticed that customers are throwing out a lot of plastic and glass bottles and cans in the trash when they should be recycled," Hartman said, explaining what prompted the program's creation.

    Rutter's is also altering several elements of its store design to improve efficiency:

    -- Installing white roofs that reflect heat and keep the stores cooler in warm weather.

    -- Using motion-detector lights in the bathrooms and back rooms; T-5 high-output lighting on ceilings and outdoors; and LED lighting (light emitting diodes) in the coolers.

    -- Putting in heater-less door frames on the coolers.

    -- Switching to tank-less water heaters that are better-suited for sporadic use.

    -- Setting up a computerized temperature and lighting control system to monitor and better manage the usage of electronic devices and compressors in the stores.

    Other green practices Rutter's is taking on include adding a 10 percent ethanol blend to its gasoline offering; recycling used light bulbs; and changing to a phosphate-free cleaning solution at its car washes, according to Hartman, who also noted that there are some things the company has been doing for years, but didn’t realize until recently are considered green. For instance, using a water reclaim system at its car washes; and recycling printer and toner cartridges, cardboard, and frying oil for use in biofuels.

    "We think [green] makes a lot of sense," Hartman told CSNews Online. "It's good for our customers -- they want the people they do business with to be green, especially the younger generations. Our employees embrace the concept. And in some of these cases, it makes good, plain monetary sense. In my view, that's a three-way win."

    For more on how convenience and petroleum retailers are reducing their environmental footprint -- and in the process, improving their bottom lines -- check out the cover story, "Get Green," in the Feb. 4 issue of Convenience Store News.

    To read the full story, click here.

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