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Comcast lands a sweet Metro Ethernet deal with Sarris Candies

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 3:26pm
Mike Robuck

Comcast continues to rack up customer wins for its Metro Ethernet service, with the latest addition being Pennsylvania-based Sarris Candies.

Sarris Candies, which is based in Canonsburg, Pa., is using Comcast Business Class Ethernet services to expedite the transfer of company data and improve its overall customer experience. The service remained intact during a February fire at the company’s main headquarters that resulted in the loss of 50,00 pounds of chocolate.

With more than 350 full-time workers and more than 830 stores that depend on the company for daily deliveries, Sarris Candies leans heavily on its Internet service, requiring constant connectivity to support its credit card transactions, online ordering, customer information, fulfillment processing, shipping and email communications.

"Prior to Comcast, we kept trying to increase our bandwidth – we even got to the point where we had three T1 lines installed to help us when sending our weekly store promotions to more than 150,000 of our customers, but we weren't seeing any difference in our service," said Norm Candelore, retail operations manager for Sarris Candies. "Our only option was to physically shut down our email servers simply to allow them to catch up to each other. In our industry, lost time translates to lost business, which we can't afford to have."

Comcast’s solution was to provide two Ethernet Dedicated Internet lines to connect both the storefront and the warehouse to the Web. The two lines came in handy during the Feb. 3 fire, which caused water and smoke damage to the Sarris Candies storefront, because the company was still able to process orders with delivery trucks while the fire department battled the fire.

"When the smoke had cleared, all of our internal cabling was destroyed, and our IT folks needed to rewire the entire store – but the actual service coming into our building with Comcast remained uninterrupted, and all we had to do was take our laptops and relocate down the block to the warehouse in order to continue operating as normal,” Candelore said. “It was truly amazing that we stayed connected. We really didn't miss a beat, and if it wasn't for the constant connectivity that we had with Comcast, I don't even want to think about what might have happened."

Sarris Candies plans on adding Comcast’s voice service over the coming months.

"It's nearly impossible to predict when a disaster situation will occur, but companies like Sarris Candies are finding that having the right technology in place ahead of time can greatly impact their response time in getting back up to speed once the dust clears," said Glenn Lytle, regional vice president for Comcast Business Services. "The reliability of our Ethernet services can help businesses bounce back from an unexpected circumstance by providing a way to access their critical company data from a backup location if needed – and for Sarris Candies, that backup location was essential to keeping things running smoothly."

After several years of development, Comcast first launched its Metro Ethernet suite of services last year, and now it has them available across its entire footprint. Metro Ethernet services represent a step up into the medium-size business sector for Comcast.

While the bulk of Comcast’s business services revenue continues to come from small businesses with less than 20 employees, Metro Ethernet is starting to add to the company’s bottom line, as well.

In last week’s first-quarter earnings, business services continued to ring up cash for Comcast as it posted $541 million in revenue, compared with $394 million a year ago.

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