Talking Shop with… Matt Pletcher

The managing director of Remis America, LLC shares the ways retailers can benefit by adding doors to refrigerated cases.

Grocery Headquarters: Energy is a major issue for retailers right now. How do you help?
Matt Pletcher:
Remis America helps by offering retrofit refrigeration doors and covers to grocery retailers and OEM case manufacturers that cut energy costs up to 80% while also greatly reducing retailers’ carbon footprint. Since refrigeration accounts for over half of the average supermarket’s energy use, installing doors and covers is one of the most cost-effective, energy-saving steps that retailers can take. Most customers achieve a return on their investment in just about two and a half years, and that is without any help from widespread rebate programs.

Our eco-friendly systems keep energy consumption low by providing a full range of medium temperature insulated glass doors and bunker freezer covers that are engineered to custom fit individual refrigeration case specifications. Remis America’s proven glass doors and covers are in use in over ten thousand retail stores throughout Europe, via our sister company, Remis GmbH of Cologne, Germany. Through our joint venture with Remis GmbH, we gain a tradition of innovation and wealth of knowledge that allows us to provide the greatest amount of energy savings for our customers by optimizing their refrigeration energy usage.

When it comes to putting doors on refrigerated cases, some grocers have expressed concerns that this could impact impulse sales. What has been the experience so far?
According to a September 2010 ASHRAE study, doored cases have no effect on product sales when compared to open cases. That being said, in our experience, most shoppers have remarked that the doors and covers were easy to open and did not interfere with their shopping habits and are a common sense move on the part of the retailer. Our doors and covers appear to be light, are easy to open and not at all a roadblock to the product in the case. Most shoppers are used to doors since they have been visiting doored cases in the frozen section for years now.

Another concern of some grocers was that the doors would obscure the products. How do your doors ensure product visibility?
We have engineered our doors with minimal framing so that the focus remains on the product. Additionally, no anti-sweat heat is required with our design and therefore product visibility is ensured.

Speaking of visibility, how does the addition of LED lights in the cases help merchandising while boosting energy efficiency?
LED lights have been one of the things most of our customers rave about. They say the product sparkles, that it looks cleaner in combination with our doors. LED lights can save 20% of energy costs versus the typical fluorescent lights we replace.

Besides energy savings, what are some of the other benefits of adding doors to refrigerated cases?
Adding doors to cases immediately warms up store aisles, making for a more comfortable shopping environment. One customer saw his aisles warm up almost 15 degrees. And because of the warmer aisles, we have found that many of our customers see longer shopper dwell times. Shoppers take their time choosing products, instead of rushing through cold aisles and just grabbing what is on their grocery list.

Our doors also help evenly cool the product, which means improved product integrity and reduced spoilage. Shoppers don’t have to reach in the back of the case for colder products, so product rotation goes as planned and products are less likely to go out of code, resulting in less waste for stores.

Can supermarkets add doors to any existing cases?
Yes, and since we control the entire process there is no having to deal with outside contractors. Our streamlined approach means we handle manufacturing and delivery as well as installation and follow-up service.

What are some advances in refrigerated doors going forward?
One of our greatest assets is our partnership with Remis GmbH. Through them, we have inherited over 40 years of refrigeration expertise as well as an expansive research and development team. We are constantly working with them to develop the newest, most efficient doors and covers and bring them to the U.S. market. That includes everything like modifying or creating designs that are more ergonomic, lighter, easier to open, more visually appealing, etc., while consistently maintaining our energy efficiency standards.

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