Savannah, GA,
07:02 PM

Oakhurst Dairy's Full Circle


Great Dane reefers are used exclusively throughout the Oakhurst Dairy operation

"We've been operating Great Dane trailers exclusively for more than 20 years," says David Green, fleet and facilities manager at Oakhurst Dairy. "Great Dane reefers can go full circle in our operation. It is the durability of the Great Danes that lets us keep them as long as we can."

The northern New England region's largest independent family- owned dairy company, Oakhurst Dairy markets a full line of refriger- ated milk and dairy products, juices, teas and water. Its customer base includes chain and independent grocery and convenience stores, food service outlets such as schools and restaurants, and independent distributors. Oakhurst's sole manufacturing facility and primary warehouse is located at its headquarters in Portland, Maine. There are three additional refrigerated distribution facilities in Maine, one in New Hampshire and one in Massachusetts.

Since 1990, every trailer in the Oakhurst fleet has been a Great Dane reefer. The newest trailers in the 69-unit operation currently are 2011 Classics, while in 2012 the company will be adding new Everest CL models. Oakhurst usually buys as many as four new reefers each year and runs its trailers as long as 15 years.

To get as much service life out of its Great Danes as possible, Green notes, Oakhurst uses new trailers on its 70 delivery routes, which are covered six or seven days a week. As the fleet adds new trailers, older units are moved to routes closer to the company's dairy. Toward the end of their life, trailers are used in local transport of empty product cases.

All 69 Great Dane Classic reefers at Oakhurst Dairy, and the Everest CL models on order, are 45-ft models with Whiting ColdSaver roll-up rear doors and flat aluminum floors. The newest units are specified with Carrier Transicold X2100A refrigeration units. All of the trailers are also spec'ed with Great Dane's Long Life Light System including all LED lamps, and are fitted with Bridgestone tires.

To protect the highly perishable products it hauls, Great Dane reefers at Oakhurst have three inches of insulation in walls, floors and the ceiling. To protect the inside of the trailers from damage while loading and unloading pallets, carts and skids, the fleet uses PunctureGuard interior lining, the lightweight, puncture resistant, glass-reinforced thermoplastic material produced exclusively by Great Dane.

Another measure of protection for the newest Great Dane trailers in the Oakhurst Dairy fleet is CorroGuard, a key component in Great Dane's comprehensive corrosion prevention package developed specifically for trailer underbody protection. "We've used CorroGuard on every new trailer for the past three years," Green says. "Corrosion caused by deicing chemicals and abrasion is a problem in this part of the country. This product is helping us address that challenge and is extending the life of our trailers."

Along with hauling Oakhurst products on a daily basis, a Great Dane reefer was also front and center last year when the company took part in the annual Wreaths Across America convoy that delivered 90,000 Maine-made wreaths for National Remembrance Day at Arlington National Cemetery. The non-profit organization, founded by the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies on the second Saturday of December at Arlington, as well as hundreds of veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.

One of ten tractor-trailers to make the trip, the Oakhurst Dairy vehi- cle was the first in the company's history to travel beyond New England, requiring planning to secure permits. A company driver, accompanied by his wife, volunteered his time to make the trip. Additionally, Oakhurst Dairy employees sponsored more than 75 wreaths through a payroll deduction plan.

Founded in 1921 by Stanley T. Bennett, Oakhurst originally deliv- ered fresh milk in glass bottles carried by horse-drawn wagons. Today, the company is guided by a third generation of the Bennett family, which credits long standing customer and supplier relation- ships as a key part of its success. For example, some of the farms that supply Oakhurst with raw milk have been doing business with the company for 75 years.

For more than two decades, Great Dane has been supplying Oakhurst Dairy with trailers to carry its products productively, efficiently and cost effectively. "We moved away from other trailer manufacturers because they couldn't supply what we need," Green states. "The quality that Great Dane builds into its trailers, and the support we receive from the company, are second to none."