Around The Store With Stew
How To Shop Smart
We are really trying hard to keep our prices low at Stew Leonard’s. Since we are 80% fresh products (most supermarkets 40%) we ride the supply and demand curve. For instance, they are having a pork shortage right now and bacon prices have jumped again. But, overall, there has been some easing in the markets. Fish prices have remained steady, but meat prices have jumped a little due to the heat wave out West. And we’re seeing some relief with eggs down at $3 a dozen now.
Here are some ways to save some money:
1.) Our suppliers are constantly offering us lower prices if we promote their products. Take advantage of these low prices. Check out our weekly emails and save.
2.) Use the Stew Leonard’s app. We’ll have more specials here. This week, you can get ground chuck at 2.99/lb. (normally $3.99/lb.)
3.) Another way to save money is buying Stew’s private label items. These will be less than the national brands and, in some cases, the same product. The sweet potato tortilla chips are one of your favorites at $4.99 per bag.
4.) Stay away from our demos! We do 40 demos per week in each store. Sales usually double or triple when you get to taste a product before you buy it. I just read that Walmart is even starting to do this in some of their stores.
How To Mess Up A Senator's Hair
Senator Blumenthal visited our new swim school to help promote water safety. He's been a huge advocate of our water safety efforts for the last 20 years. Since January 1, there have been 9 drownings in Connecticut, 41 drownings in New York and 17 drownings in New Jersey. Nine out of 10 of these could have been prevented if the child or person had taken swim lessons. We have a fun wind tunnel at the swim school for the kids to walk through (to dry off) and, being such a good sport, Senator Blumenthal wanted to give it a try. And, yes, we did mess up his hair!
Can You Believe We Got Over 50 Million Views?
We've been doing some real short video posts on social media. We started with our French Fry chopper which got over 3 million views, then we posted a Pineapple Coring video with 45 million views - wow! I shared a story about my great flight with Delta airlines which got 3 million views, and recently our summer intern from Iona University, Annika, posted the making of our rainbow bagels and that has almost 2 million views. Several other fun behind-the-scenes videos are reaching 100,000-500,000 views each including our Hot Buttered Lobster Rolls, which helped sales skyrocket this year and Barbie-Inspired Ice Cream Cones, which SOLD OUT the day after the video! What would you like to see next being made at Stew's? Tag me on Twitter@stewleonardjr or send us a DM and FOLLOW on Instagram@stewleonards.
Which Products Are Rattling The Cage?
We just tried a cheese biscuit (with lots of cheddar) in the bakery, and you love them. We also adjusted our mango salsa recipe and make it fresh every morning. It's rattling the cage too and it's great on grilled shrimp or fish. Kevin, our butcher (35 years here), came up with a freshly made sausage and we are trying different flavors each week. Rattle, rattle. Our grilled chicken and shrimp are getting more popular every day. We literally need someone on the grill all day long. We also brought in Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding Cookies (based on their banana pudding cups made popular in the Sex and the City series, and Taylor Swift mentioned them in a video) and you’re loving them. Hot buttered lobster rolls at $14.99 and bone-in beef ribeye steaks at $12.99/lb. That’s not just a rattle, it’s THUNDER!
We Sell Over 2 Million Bagels Per Year,
Why Tinker With The Recipe?
Our bakery manager Hery in Paramus brought a group of Team Members on a bagel tour of the West Village. There was a line of people waiting to get into one of the stores and Hery bought some of their bagels, which are known for being croissant-like. Their bagels come in frozen, and they baked them off. Stew’s bagels are fermented overnight, water boiled, then baked fresh every morning in our ovens. But Hery felt our bagels could be a little “fluffier.” He tweaked the recipe, let our customers and Team Members taste them, and everyone fell in love. We rolled out the new recipe to all stores. Can't wait for Sunday morning when I make my bagel, cream cheese, and smoked salmon!
What? Stew's Has A Podcast?
My daughter Chase and nephew Andrew decided to start a podcast. The first episode is called “Every Product Has a Story,” the next episode is about how Stew Leonard’s came to be called “The Disneyland of Dairy Stores” by the New York Times, and the third episode is “Famous Brands We Launched.” Look for a very familiar face with an unmistakable voice in a couple of episodes. They're starting small but already have nearly 3000 listeners. Check it out on YouTube, Apple, or Spotify.
More About The Swim School
The Stewie the Duck Swim School presented a $5,000 check to Horizons at Green Farms Academy, which partners with underserved students from Bridgeport. All profits from the Swim School go back to funding free or low-cost swim lessons for children in need. Horizons GFA is the first grant recipient from the swim school.
Behind The Scenes Of
I just saw a segment on the Today Show about the comeback of buffets. As you know, Stew’s had to close the buffet during Covid. But now, they are back strong. Guess what the #1 item is on our buffet? Mac & cheese! You love buffets for the variety. We love buffets because they are easy. Normally, we would have to package all that food. With the buffet, you just lay out the pan and you serve yourself. The price of the buffet is per pound and many stores have different prices. Protein (meat, fish, chicken, pork) are the most expensive items and many retailers minimize these items. When you look at a buffet, if there is a lot of protein, it’s good value. If not, you are just buying from a “salad bar.” The most impressive buffet I’ve seen is Duke’s Eatery on Park Ave in NYC. But they’re expensive too!
Team Member High Five
A customer wrote:
“Just wanted you to know how much your employees are appreciated. I couldn’t find an item that I saw last week and knew I had to be walking past it, so I went over to Kelly for help. She was speaking to Jeff. They were both very kind. Jeff personally escorted me over to the Mario Oreos display that I had indeed walked past…TWICE, lol. Jeff was delightful. I went back to Kelly to pay my compliments and she made me feel better about being clueless. It was a funny, lovely experience. Thank you.”
Norwalk Renovation, We're Trying To Make It Fun
There's a little disruption to our traffic flow and we appreciate your patience. We've added a new bakery (built 40 years ago!), coffee and ice cream department, sushi, new bathrooms are underway, and we've put all brand-new energy efficient display cases in the store. We're also building a big glass enclosed farmers market at the front entrance. Everyone keeps asking me if this is because Wegmans is opening next year in Norwalk. We've been planning this before Wegmans announced its new store. But I'm happy we'll have our brand-new store up against their brand-new store. The Wegmans have been personal friends of our family for 30 years and are a great family business. Danny Wegman and I both had legendary fathers and we're lucky to have been able to stand on their shoulders!
What's Happening With Curbside And Home Delivery?
This was almost a nonexistent business before COVID. Since then, sales have soared. You love getting your food orders ready ahead of time and love getting them delivered to your house. StewLeonards.com has become a new department at Stew Leonard’s. Check out the $10 off $35 promo that’s going on. My grandfather and father began delivering milk and now delivery has become more popular. We’ve come full circle!
We Had Jesse Bongiovi
Going For A Moment!
Jesse Bongiovi stopped by Yonkers recently and did a free tasting of his Hampton Waters Rosé. What’s a trip to the wines and spirit store without a visit from a couple of other well-known costume characters? My daughter Blake dressed up as Wow the Cow and our Yonker’s store V.P. Cristian Cruz dressed up as the duck. Jesse was blown away and there was a good laugh when they took their heads off (don’t tell this to your kids!).
What's The Story
About Bud Light?
One of the biggest marketing blunders of the decade and sales have dropped between 25 and 30%. Customers have switched to Coors Light and Modelo.
I Love The County Exec In Nassau County, Bruce Blakeman
We had a press conference at the Wantagh Park Pool promoting water safety and he is such a down to earth person. He has a great “get it done” staff too. It’s impressive.
Of The Week
“Where is this? Where is that?” You’re frustrated over all the moves with our store renovation in Norwalk. We’ve had to move products and some departments around. We won’t be changing much more (except the kitchen area) so, hang in there!
Love Local, Hate Local
It’s great going local but you’re dealing with small Mom & Pop farmers and business owners. We are buying from about 40 of them this season. This week we had a few problems with the quality of an item picked too soon that we were getting from a New York farm. They picked too early. We spoke to them, and we’re all set now.
How To Get 2,000 Oyster Shells
I'm building a cage full of oyster shells to install behind my grill at my house. I asked Norman Bloom (harvester of Copps Island Oysters), who has 6 boats every morning out in the Long Island Sound, for some oyster shells. Now, I have about a bathtub’s worth of oyster shells at my house and I'm ready to fill up the cage. It should look cool when it's done. Thank you, Norman.
Donations For The Month
We've added a feature at the registers where you can round up your order and we'll donate it to a designated charity. This summer, all of our stores raised more than $12,000 for water safety. Thank you for your support! Starting in September, each store will pick their own local charity to support at the registers.