Twenty years ago while he was still living in Rhode Island, Peter Carreiro and his wife were constantly running out of milk for their young daughter. Growing up, a milkman had delivered milk to his house and Carreiro thought that was a profession that might merit revival. He started delivering milk in Rhode Island and in 1997, when he moved to Charlotte, he decided to see if the business model would work here. In 2004 he started Rise ‘n Shine… it’s the Milkman.
Carreiro is surprised no other company is doing what he does. “You don’t set the world on fire,” he said. “It’s not like creating an app, but people enjoy our service. It brings back nostalgia.” Rise ‘n Shine has been growing steadily since the early years. “It’s hard to make it on milk alone,” Carreiro said. He started with 30 products but has expanded to 200 which he believes is probably the maximum for his trucks. He switches out products seasonally, reducing the number of soups in the warm weather months in favor of summer items. The trucks have three compartments: deep freeze for frozen products, a medium temperature for refrigerated items and a dry section.
Customers in the ten towns in Carreiro’s delivery range have a regular weekly order and delivery schedule. In addition to their weekly items, they get a checklist on which they can add other products. They place the checklist in their drop box which is a larger version of the old-style milk boxes, and the driver gets those items out of the truck and adds them to the regular order together with a checklist for the following week.
Carreiro estimates that 80% of his products have a direct connection to Vermont. His definition of local is whether a Vermonter gets a paycheck from the product. Thus, New Hampshire’s Stonyfield Yogurt is on his truck because all their milk comes from Vermont farms. Carreiro carries eggs from Maple Meadow Farm in Leicester, frozen pizza from Half Baked in Shelburne and milk from Kimball Brook and Hatchbrook Farms. He would love to be able to add fresh bread but most bakeries are still baking when his trucks hit the road.
Carreiro is proud of his contribution to the Vermont environment. All his milk comes in returnable glass bottles. “We figured it out once,” he said. “If you’d fill those blue bins with the plastic bottles people would be using and jumped up and down on them to flatten then and then piled them one on top of the other they’d be higher than Mt. Mansfield.”
Carreiro has seen the children of some of his clients grow from toddlers to young men and women. “You get to know some of the families really well,” he said. “There are some I’ve seen every week for the last ten or twelve years. I’ve been delivering milk to their kitchen and I see the kids grow.” Carreiro always finds it moving when one of his young clients turns old enough to drive a car. “I just love doing what I do,” he said. “I think I have the best job in the world.”