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Thinking Big: A Family Business Looks to the Future

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Lonnie Lisai
Photo credit: Efficiency Vermont

Source: Efficiency Vermont (EVT)

Third-generation grocer Lonnie Lisai is proud of the family business. Almost 90 years ago, his grandfather opened the first Lisai’s Market in Bellows Falls, then later opened Lisai’s in Chester, which Lonnie manages. Both stores are still thriving, and Lonnie works hard to ensure that continues for future generations.

All grocery stores come with high overhead, and Lisai’s is no different. Coolers and freezers work hard 24/7, and lights must be kept on more than thirteen hours each day. Energy costs can be significant.

Cutting energy costs

When another grocer let Lonnie know how much he could save by incorporating energy-efficient equipment, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity. He worked with Efficiency Vermont and a local contractor to upgrade his entire refrigeration system, including:

  • Installing night curtains to reduce the amount of energy needed to keep open cases cool after hours.
  • Adding humidity-based door heater controls, preventing cooler and freezer doors with door heaters from running continuously.
  • Using high-efficiency evaporator fan motors and fan motor controls to save energy that is required to keep walk-in coolers and freezers at the right temperature.

The contractor worked with Efficiency Vermont to ensure the equipment and products installed would qualify for rebates, and that Lonnie would see a nice return on his investment.

Lonnie also switched out all his case lighting for LEDs. Besides requiring far fewer watts for the same brightness, LEDs run cooler than other lights and last longer.

Investing in energy efficiency helps secure a family’s future

“The first month after we did the upgrades, I got my bill and it was $400 or $500 less than what I’m used to. I couldn’t believe it!” said Lonnie.

Beyond the energy savings, the lighting upgrade has improved the store’s appearance and performance. “The old lights burnt out so often, it was hard to find the time to fix them, and we were often under-lit,” said Lonnie. “Now the store looks much more inviting, and the products look fresher. In fact, I know that sales have increased.”

Lonnie plans to reinvest the new cash flow back into the store, to help keep up with other demands. He feels good knowing that he’s made a smart investment in the future of his business. After all, it’s more than just a grocery store—it’s a family legacy.

For more information, please contact Efficiency Vermont at (888-921-5990)