The legend goes that Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes (above) founded Cumberland Farms in 1939 with $84 and a one-cow dairy farm in Cumberland, R.I. Both were Greek immigrants. They had eight children, two of whom—Demetrios (Jim) and Lily—would go on to lead the c-store chain, and others were involved in the business, including Ari’s father, Byron.
“Like all parents, they wanted the American dream: college and education for their kids,” says Lily Haseotes Bentas, chairman of Cumberland Farms.
For much of its history, Cumberland Farms’ strength was its ability to pick real estate that delivered a solid return on investment. “One of the things I’d never argue with the Haseoteses was real estate—not once,” says Tim Columbus, a former board member and partner with Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington, D.C. “Those people could find a piece of dirt like no one else I knew.”
“When we started buying out locations ... they needed to be on a corner, with easy access,” says Bentas. “It’s how we built the company.”
Cumberland Farms' current CEO, Ari Haseotes, was named CSP's 2017 Retail Leader of the Year.
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