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    Rutter's Makes $55 Million Investment for Growth in 2008

    The money will fund the construction of 10 c-stores and 11 car washes.

    YORK, Pa. – This year, the nearly 50-unit chain of Rutter’s Farm Stores convenience stores will invest $55 million -- the largest capital expenditure for one year in its history -- to build 10 convenience stores and 11 car washes, which will provide more than $4.5 million in wages and benefits to 350 newly created positions, the company stated.

    The investment will launch the company into Dauphin County, Carlisle and Chambersburg, Pa., markets for the first time, according to the company. By year-end, Rutter's will operate 58 convenience stores in York, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania.

    "We're looking forward to building new stores at three existing locations and to adding seven new locations to the Rutter's family," Scott Hartman, president of Rutter's Farm Stores, said in a statement. "Our customers ask us to provide the most up-to-date stores possible -- bigger, brighter and more fast-food options."

    Hartman told CSNews Online that the chain typically opens two to three new stores per year, but the schedule for several store openings happened to fall in 2008.

    "A little bit of this is timing," said Hartman. "It takes so long to get approved these days. The majority of the stores have been in development for two to four years. The timing is that we have a lot stores ready to go in 2008."

    The new stores -- at 5,300 to 5,800 square feet -- will offer customers new food and product offerings, along with new media and technology. While he could not provide specific details of the new offerings to expect, he told CSNews Online one prototype store that is currently undergoing a remodel will be the location where the new items are tested.

    The stores, which are slated to begin opening in April and May, also will incorporate Rutter's new earth-friendly initiatives to reduce energy usage and improve the environment.

    "Although the economy is slowing, we are trying to do our part to keep all our great construction worker customers working. It's going to be a busy, exciting year for all of us," Hartman concluded.

    In other Rutter's news, the company issued a statement regarding Pennsylvania's new milk labeling standard, which allows milk packaging to identify the product was made without the use of artificial growth hormones, and was announced last week by the state's Department of Agriculture.

    "We're pleased that the department has listened to the outcry from consumers and issued new milk labeling standards that will allow Rutter's to continue promoting the fact that our milk is produced without the use of artificial growth hormones-rBST," the company stated.

    "Our position has remained consistent throughout: We believe that consumers want more, not less, information about the food products they buy," the company added. "We are secure in the knowledge that given this kind of information, consumers are perfectly capable of making their own decisions as to whether the use of artificial growth hormones in their milk production is something they care about."

    In its statement, Rutter's stated it has always adhered to the department's milk labeling standards, and will continue to sell Rutter's milk at the state minimum price allowed by law.

    "We're glad that the new rules will allow us to continue to disclose information about what is -- and what isn't -- used in milk production on our farms," the statement said.


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