Shoppers don't stew at Stew Leonard's, where the customer is always right. While singing milk cartons and farm animals amuse the kids, a handful of locations operating under the Stew Leonard's banner in Connecticut and New York sell a selection of dairy products, juice, wine, and meats to some 300,000 people each week. Stew Leonard's also offers catering services and sells products online. The company produces its own milk and is thought to sell more orange juice than any other store in the world. Years after Charles Leonard began bottling milk in 1924, his son Stew built the first retail store in 1969. Stew Leonard and his family, including CEO Stew Jr., own and run Stew Leonard's.
Aside from its supermarket operations in the Connecticut cities of Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington, and its New York store in Yonkers, Stew Leonard's licenses its name for use on wine stores. Nearly 10 independently-owned wine shops operate in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey under the Stew Leonard's banner name.
Grocer Stew Leonard's operates its business primarily in Connecticut but boasts a presence in New York as well. Across its four-store operations, the company employs more than 2,000 people.
Sales and Marketing
The company's mainstream competition, including Stop & Shop, is being joined by the likes of Trader Joe's, Costco Wholesale, Wal-Mart and others. In response, Stew Leonard's has been expanding and adding new departments, including wine and spirits stores and garden centers. Unlike other grocery stores that sell an average 30,000 items, Stew Leonard's limits its items based on freshness, quality, and value by selling a mere 2,000 products.
Stew Leonard's rolled out a new product -- a Crogel, a croissant-bagel hybrid -- developed by a baker at its Norwalk, Connecticut, store that throughout 2014 it's making available in all of its stores.
Its most established store (opened in 1969) and with 103,000 sq. ft. of selling space, Stew Leonard's Norwalk location generates an average annual revenue of $108 million. It is followed in revenue by Yonkers ($105 million at 120,000 sq. ft.), Danbury ($73 million at 130,000 sq. ft.), and Newington ($55 million at 113,000 sq. ft.).
In mid-2010 the company finally gave up on a 14-year battle to open a store in Orange, Connecticut. The proposed store on 41 acres of land purchased in 1996 for more than $2 million had met with stiff community opposition and a series of legal setbacks. (The company plans to sell the land.) During that 14-year period, the retailer doubled in size from two to four stores.