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Min Købmand

Kragelund, Denmark

Kragelund, Denmark.

There is money to be saved at the moment for hard-pressed grocers

The dramatically increasing energy prices have made it even more attractive to consider energy optimisations that rein in electricity consumption and cut costs.

We are seeing this at Vibocold, where we supply temperature-regulating solutions for cooling, freezing and heating to Denmark’s leading grocery chains, with many of them located in severely affected rural areas.

At the moment, it’s a question of survival for many grocers, and how they can afford to pay their next electricity bill. The current energy prices are close to triple what they were at the same time a year ago.

It’s a completely new situation in Kragelund near Silkeborg in Jutland, where Thomas Nielsen has been running the local ‘Min Købmand’ supermarket since 2019.

“Fortunately, we have a well-run but older shop that requires ongoing maintenance, and later this year we had budgeted for it to be extensively modernised, which included investing in new coolers and freezers. This investment has been brought forward because of the increasing energy prices, and is now resulting in tangible energy savings,” says Thomas Nielsen.

Customers are desperate

Most independent grocers are under so much pressure that it is threatening their very existence due to the explosive increases in energy prices. Some shops are having to pay additional costs running into many thousands of kroner each month.

Thomas Nielsen can document that his shop’s electricity bill from June to August increased from about DKK 50,000 to almost double. 

As a turnkey supplier of cooling, freezing and air-conditioning solutions to grocery stores, it is increasingly clear that our customers’ focus has changed. This is particularly evident when customers like Thomas Nielsen contact our sales or service department.

“Many people are simply desperate. There is a crisis, and it’s an unfamiliar situation for most. And what can we do? At Vibocold, we’re seeing two distinct scenarios at the moment: Customers are either investing in upgrading their equipment, or they’re waiting for the situation to play out, simply because they can’t afford to do anything else,” says Uffe Nitschke, one of our key account managers.

Customers are desperate.

Savings of 40%

Although Min Købmand in Kragelund already had lids on its supermarket coolers and freezers, further measures could contribute to energy savings in the shop. Over the last few months, Thomas Nielsen has replaced about 80% of the shop’s old coolers and freezers – which were connected to older external plant – with new and more modern plug-in furniture from Vibocold.

“In addition to the fact that they look nicer and don’t break down the whole time, we’re saving considerable sums on our monthly electricity bill as a result of replacing the equipment,” says Thomas Nielsen, and continues: 

“Of course, we also switch off all the lighting both inside and out at night, and we have installed movement sensors in various places inside the shop so the lights do not burn unnecessarily, on top of which we’re very conscious of our behaviour – both our own and that of the customers. We ask our customers, for example, to wait until they have decided what to take before opening the doors of the refrigerated cabinets.”
In the process of upgrading to new coolers and freezers, Thomas Nielsen has been in close dialogue with our knowledgeable key account manager, Uffe Nitschke.

“We soon established that there was money to be saved by replacing the existing supermarket coolers and freezers with optimised mobile display boxes. The existing equipment was connected to an external plant, whereas the new boxes are plug-in units with integrated compressors. While the capacity is the same, power consumption turned out to be far less – as much as 40%. In addition, the solution provides greater flexibility, as each piece of furniture is independently powered and can therefore be used and moved around as needed. This is a huge advantage in the current situation,” says Uffe Nitschke

Savings of 40%.

More welcoming shop

When Thomas Nielsen and his employees talk to customers in the shop, they are very enthusiastic about the changes. He is well aware how important his customers are, but at the same time is worried about what the future probably holds. 

“Our customers are very loyal and make a point of supporting their local shopkeepers such as us. They know all too well that they are our livelihoods. Without our customers, we wouldn’t be able to exist. But in Kragelund, 95% of inhabitants have gas-fired boilers, so we know that the reality of the situation will hit home soon, and many people’s purchasing power will be impacted. And it’s a scary thought,” says Thomas Nielsen, and concludes by saying:

“If we’re forced to close, it will damage the local community and the social cohesion that we have been trying to build up for years, but I’m optimistic, and believe that investing in the shop is the only way forward."

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