Neon prototype open at busy intersection

Posted 12/29/21

Desiree DelGrosso lives in East Providence and flies frequently out of Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport so she’s been watching the transition at the intersection of Post and …

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Neon prototype open at busy intersection


Desiree DelGrosso lives in East Providence and flies frequently out of Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport so she’s been watching the transition at the intersection of Post and Airport Road that started in June and culminated yesterday at 8 a.m. with the opening of the Neon Marketplace.

DelGrosso hadn’t planned it and, in fact she was not aware until told, that she was one of the first customers to experience what Peter Rasmussen, director of operations for the new line of service station convenience stores, says is the prototype for seven more stores in 2022 with plans to open an additional 25 in 2023.

There was no fanfare to the opening. No corporate and municipal officials lined up behind a red ribbon, but there was plenty of last minute activity as landscapers completed plantings and staff gathered for a brief meeting to once again go over detail. Rasmussen told personnel to expect to be busy as the company mailed out nearly 40,000 coupons in the immediate area for free breakfast sandwiches and a latte.

Rasmussen then turned to what was outside. Orange cones and barrels blocked the entrance to the marketplace.

A couple of service trucks were parked alongside fuel pumps. Drivers pulled those away while Rasmussen and employees collected cones and dragged barrels to the back of the 5,500 square foot marketplace. Rasmussen gave everything a quickly glance and then returned to the store to make it official. Directions were given to activate the fuel pricing signs that all were showing zero. The price for regular gas lit up at $3.09. Neon was officially open for business. The station offers 16 fueling stations between electric charging stations (including Tesla units), gasoline and diesel.

It was 8:05 when DelGrosso made a beeline for coffee.

Rasmussen was demonstrating the bean to brew machines when she showed up. DelGrosso didn’t need any assistance. She positioned a cup, selected the brew she preferred and the machine did the rest.

She was surprised to learn her coffee was free, an opening perk. Construction of the marketplace started in early June with an opening target of early December.

“There were a lot of challenges,” said Rasmussen listing interruptions in the supply chain and staffing. Up until a couple of weeks ago, the site had yet to be tied into the grid and was relying on generators.

Rasmussen didn’t have the specifics but said the project came close to the $9 million budget.

“We made it (the opening) by the end of the year by a hair,” he said. The first thing that greets customers on entering the marketplace is the Earthstone pizza oven that was in operation first thing yesterday putting out breakfast pizzas.

Elise Babie, product development manager for Neon, demonstrated the pizza making process from the pressing of fresh dough for the crust to the spreading of toppings and then sliding it into the oven for a four to five minute bake.

As the prototype, Rasmussen said the company would be looking at the Warwick store to see what customers want.

He expects there to be changes as they go along. An innovative feature is the company’s partnership with Plant City that is providing non-meat selections.

Rasmussen said Neon looks to offer that alternative to customers and wanted to team up with a locally based company.

But then, Neon is also local. Neon is a Procaccianti company. Based in Cranston, Procaccianti Companies recruited Rasmussen from Wawa, which owns and operates convenience stores and service stations, where he led the expansion of 225 stores in Florida.

Neon will be open 24/7. And how will this work at one of the busiest intersections in the state?

That question could be answered in the days and weeks ahead. All traffic leaving Neon is directed to turn right. Left turns are out.

Neon, market


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