MAKING CONNECTIONS: Easter Connection Operating Inc. was founded in 1983 with 18 packages and now delivers more than 20,000 packages a day. Pictured above are Eastern Connection General Manager Daren Lee, right, and driver Mark McDaniel.
PBN PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS
By Rhonda J. Miller PBN Staff Writer
Eastern Connection Operating Inc. believes it offers a major cost-saving edge in the package-delivery market, especially when competing with industry giants FedEx and UPS.
“Eastern Connection delivers from Maine to Virginia in one day for ground pricing,” said company co-founder James Berluti.
The company was launched in 1983 with 18 packages and now delivers more than 20,000 packages a day to 6,800 zip codes.
“With the boom of e-commerce, not as many people are going into retail stores and everyone is competing on logistics,” said Berluti. “Our business is in a growth spurt right now and we’re starting to do some more warehousing of inventory. It puts the inventory closer to the customer. We can pick and prepare the shipment and send it for delivery.”
Rhode Island is getting the benefit of that growth spurt. Eastern Connection’s increased space requirements and vision for expansion resulted in consolidating two smaller warehouses in Worcester, Mass., and Providence, along with the Woburn, Mass. corporate headquarters into 30,000 square feet in Cumberland.
Eastern Connection’s reasons for moving its headquarters and key operations from Massachusetts to Rhode Island last year are bound to be a most welcome message for economic-development leaders in the Ocean State.
“We feel it’s a more business-friendly climate in Rhode Island,” said Berluti. “We feel that the labor pool in Rhode Island is a little more robust, for our business, and that the state has a more favorable climate for promoting midsized businesses.”
Eastern Connection works with many regional service providers for trucks and drivers to cover the expansive delivery routes. The company offers same day, overnight delivery guaranteed by 10:30 a.m., next day and 2-day deferred service.
The bustling operations in Cumberland are a testament to the staying power of the vision of the co-founders, Ted Kauffmann, a graduate of Penn State University who worked in the courier industry before launching Eastern Connection and is based at the company’s New York office, and Berluti. The latter originally got into the industry with a similar company shortly after he graduated from Boston University.