Wednesday, February 05, 2014
HADLEY — A 10-year-old local service that was a throwback to another era comes to an end this month.
Customers of Mapleline Farms will have to go to the store to get their milk and eggs, after Pioneer Valley milkman Frank Miele on Friday ended deliveries on a 300-customer route that ran through nine towns from Deerfield to South Hadley.
“The personal touch of home deliveries is fantastic, but it’s also the friendliness of a delivery man who knows your name, knows your kid’s name,” said Greg Rolland of Northampton, a delivery customer for four years. “It was a hidden gem of the valley,”
Miele, 52, of South Hadley, is stopping his business due to health issues.
According to the website retrodomestic.wordpress.com, Mapleline’s was the only milk delivery service in the Pioneer Valley.
He has been delivering Mapleline Farms milk, eggs and dairy products to homes around the Pioneer Valley for a year, ever since he bought the delivery business from Mapleline in January 2013.
Before that, Mapleline offered the delivery service for a number of years.
“Frank is a really friendly guy,” said Rolland. “He delivered our stuff Saturdays and it was really the highlight of the morning. It’s hard because we’re losing a service we’ve really come to value.”
Rolland said the milk deliveries had become an integral part of his family’s weekly routine. Customers would fill out an order form online, pay with a credit card and expect next-day delivery. The product catalogue included milk in plastic or glass bottles, dairy products, frozen pizzas, coffee and more.
Mapleline Farm co-owner Elaine Kokoski said the business has grown in recent years and simply can’t take on the service again.
“We don’t own the (home delivery) business and we chose not to buy it back because we have so much else going on,” Kokoski said. She said Mapleline now sells its products in more than two dozen stores across the Valley. Mapleline’s wholesale distribution to area markets will continue.
She said she does not think discontinuing the service will hurt the business because its products in grocery stores are selling well.
Miele said Mapleline owners were unsure they could find a suitable replacement for him.
“It’s very difficult to find someone to learn the routes and they thought it was in their best interest to postpone deliveries,” Miele said.
He, too, will miss the service.
“The people I’ve met, the conversations shared, the hospitality shown to me were all unsurpassed,” Miele wrote in a message to his customers.