The man behind the name
Stew Leonard Jr.
'77 grew up working in his family's dairy business. As a kid
he would stand on a milk case to make ice cream, clean out day-old
cream cans, and stock shelves. Today that business has annual
sales of nearly $300 million, employs 2,000 people, and is about
to open a fourth grocery store (in Farmingdale, New York, joining
stores in Norwalk and Danbury, Connecticut, and Yonkers, New
York). Its stores have been dubbed the "Disneyland of dairy stores" by the New York Times because
of their amusement-park atmosphere, costumed characters, and animatronics.
The company's philosophy is built around an acronym of Leonard's
first name: Satisfy the customer, work together as a Team, strive
for Excellence in everything you do, and get the customer to say
'Wow.' Customers aren't the only ones saying "wow"; for the second
consecutive year Stew Leonard's was voted one of Fortune magazine's
100 best companies to work for in the United States.
While he is proud to be recognized, the company's
CEO and president is quick to share the credit for his company's
success. "What makes
Stew Leonard's a great place to work is the family-caring atmosphere
among our team members," says Leonard. "I believe with all my heart
that if you take good care of your people, your people will take
good care of your customers." The features that help his stores
stand out include an in-store dairy plant where milk is packaged
in front of customers, one continuous aisle that winds through
the store, a "moms program" that provides working mothers with
flexible hours, and a "director of wow" who sings and dances through
the store. Customers have been doing their part to promote the
store internationally since 1974 by posing with shopping bags from
the store at various locations around the world. The collection
of photographs, "bags around the world," is on display at the stores
and on the company's website.
The first Stew Leonard's, in Norwalk, Connecticut