Stew Leonard’s opened its first dairy store in Norwalk in 1969. Since then it has developed a non-traditional retailing business model. Stew Leonard, Jr. will speak to the company’s history and business practices that have contributed to its success in the highly competitive food retail industry.
Stew Leonard Jr. is president and chief executive officer of Stew Leonard’s, a unique family-owned and operated, farm-fresh grocery stores once called the “The Disneyland of Dairy Stores” by The New York Times for its in-store entertainment and costumed characters. Stew Leonard’s is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having “the greatest sales per unit area of any single food store in the United States” and was recognized by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! as “World’s Largest Dairy Store.”
Since Stew took over as president and CEO in 1991, the company has grown to include four food stores in Norwalk, Danbury and Newington, Connecticut and Yonkers, New York, and nine wine stores in Norwalk, Danbury and Newington, Connecticut; Yonkers, Farmingdale and Carle Place, New York; and Clifton, Springfield and Paramus, New Jersey. Stew Leonard’s employs more than 2,000 Team Members and has annual sales close to $400 million.
The company is continuously featured in marketing textbooks and business school case studies; 2011 marked its tenth consecutive year on FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, coming in at #18 alongside such notable companies as Google, American Express, and Starbucks. Stew has shared the Stew Leonard’s philosophy on customer service and team member development with companies from all corners of the globe, and he is listed as one of the top 25 speakers from the Washington Speakers’ Bureau.
Stew earned his MBA from UCLA in 1982. He has appeared on numerous national television shows sharing his expertise and store’s business philosophy and has been honored and awarded by many organizations for his leadership and community support. He and his wife Kim have additionally been recognized for their advocacy in supporting children’s water safety.