Demetrios Haseotes, owner of Hemisphere Limited LLC, the umbrella corporation that is nerve center for 12 businesses in about 10 states, said the COVID-19 pandemic has had little effect on his operations “ ... because all my businesses are essential and all are operating.”
Hemisphere Limited is in the former First and Farmers National Bank building in downtown Somerset. Haseotes bought the building earlier this year after the bank built its new headquarters on South U.S. 27 at the former Golden Corral location.
“It has worked out exactly as I thought it would,” commented Haseotes, alluding to consolidation of businesses downtown. He said a total of nine people are working at the downtown former bank location.
Haseotes has made a solid footprint in Somerset and Pulaski County. He formed Somerset-based Continental Refining Company in 2011 and purchased financially troubled Somerset Refinery after the landmark refinery had been shut down for about three years. Refining operations resumed in January 2013.
Continental Refinery nearly two years ago again ceased production and announced a two-phase transition that would include a $75 million investment to reconfigure and upgrade every single unit of the plant. Haseotes said the company has spent in excess of $40 million since he bought the refinery.
“A restart (of production) would take two years,” Haseotes said. He very candidly told his employees and the Commonwealth Journal the refinery is undergoing evaluation and its future is uncertain. He said Thursday a decision about whether the refinery will resume operation “ ... will be made in late June.” Currently, about five people are working at the refinery, he noted.
“We want to do the right thing,” said Haseotes. “If we restart (the refinery) we want it to be top of its class.” He emphasized at this point no decision has been made as to the refinery’s future.
Since he came to Somerset and Pulaski County, Haseotes has fallen in love with the area. That’s the reason he took advantage of the vacant bank building to consolidate headquarters of his distant business locations. In addition to Continental Refinery, he owns the Circle K convenience store on U.S. 27 and has hinted another Circle K (without gasoline pumps) might eventually be located in the bank building downtown.
The Commonwealth Journal editorially has called Hemisphere Limited and its cluster of business headquarters one of the most concrete steps to revive Downtown Somerset since the Great Migration of businesses to U.S. 27 during the 1960s.