Retailer Prepares for Earlier and More Socially Distant Holiday Celebrations
NORWALK, CONN., November 16, 2020 –In October, Stew Leonard’s polled our Facebook fans and asked: how will Covid-19 impact your Christmas decorating plans? More than 10,000 of our shoppers responded and 54% plan on putting up their tree earlier than ever this year – with some swapping their Halloween decor for sleigh bells and holly – with the hopes of ushering in the season of joy just a few weeks earlier than usual.
“The trend the past four years has been that more and more customers have been putting up their Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but based on our poll results, our tree experts will be ready by mid-November to help families pick their perfect Christmas tree,” notes Stew Leonard, Jr. “We’re encouraging our shoppers to buy their trees during the weekdays or earlier in the morning on the weekends so that we can do our best to maintain social distancing in our Christmas Shops.”
Stew Leonard’s seven stores will sell more than 70,000 Christmas trees this season. The stores receive daily shipments of fresh, hand-sheared Christmas trees from family-owned tree farms found just 25 miles north of the U.S. border in the province of Quebec, Canada – the best environment to grow hearty Christmas trees. Every customer buying their tree at Stew’s receives a complimentary fresh cut and will have their tree tied to their car. Plus, they’ll feel great knowing that our family-owned tree farmers will plant two trees for every one that is cut down.
Which Tree Should I Buy?
There are a few main questions that customers should ask themselves before purchasing their Christmas tree: What is the ceiling height in the room where it will be displayed? Do you hang heavy ornaments? Do you want a fragrant tree? Knowing the answers to those questions will make it even easier for customers to find their perfect tree.
Stew Leonard’s sells two types of premium Christmas trees:
Fraser fir: Stew’s BEST SELLER! Sturdy branches for heavier ornaments, dark green needles, good fragrance. Great needle retention. Ranges in height from 5’ to 8’+.
Balsam: Our most fragrant tree. Dense, strong branches, and a dark green color. Ranges in height from 4’ – 8’.
Steps for picking and enjoying the perfect tree
To keep your tree looking great this holiday season, here are Stew Leonard’s five tips for selecting and caring for your Christmas tree:
- Stew Leonard’s tree experts recommend buying a tree that is one foot shorter than your ceiling to allow enough room to top the tree with a star or angel.
- To check freshness, remove a needle, and bend it in half. If the needle gives but doesn’t snap, the tree is fresh!
- Before taking your tree home, get a fresh cut of at least ½-inch to 1-inch to eliminate the heaviest build-up of sap and make sure it has full bark so it is easier for the tree to take up water in the stand. Also, make sure to get the bottom branches trimmed to allow for at least six-inches of the trunk to stand comfortably in the tree stand.
- Customers should never shave the bark off their tree; the tree actually “drinks” through the bark. Stew’s tree experts also recommend adding Stew’s Miracle Tree to the tree stand, which is a special formula developed with their growers that replenishes the tree’s nutrients immediately. Simply fill the tree stand with one part Stew’s Miracle Tree and two parts warm water.
- When you get home, place your tree away from a heat source and direct sunlight and keep your tree hydrated with Stew’s Miracle Tree and plenty of water. This is especially important for those putting their tree up earlier this year.
Stew Leonard’s Christmas Shoppe sells a variety of lights, ornaments, and decorations to help deck the halls. Here are Stew Leonard’s top three tips for selecting the right holiday lights for your tree:
- Stew’s tree experts recommend buying about 100 lights per foot of tree.
- For customers looking to update their old Christmas tree lights, LED lights have become an increasingly popular option. LED lights are brighter than incandescent, use less electricity and give customers the option of attaching more strands per run (exactly how many strands that can be connected will depend upon the manufacturer).
- Cool White LED lights will lend a bluish tone while Warm White and Multicolor LED lights will give off a look closer to incandescent bulbs.
Wreaths & Roping
Stew’s Christmas Shoppe offers a variety of roping and wreaths in both decorated and undecorated options. Customers can choose from wreaths made from Balsam or mixed Oregon Greens (selection will vary by store). Roping is offered in White Pine, Western Cedar, and Boxwood and comes in a variety of lengths. Here are Stew Leonard’s top three tips for selecting and caring for your wreaths and roping:
- To decorate a fence line, choose roping at least 25 yards in length.
- To decorate a doorway, choose roping at least 6 yards in length.
- When using wreaths and roping indoors, customers should spritz water on their greenery periodically throughout the season to keep them looking fresh.
About Stew Leonard’s
Stew Leonard’s, a family-owned and operated fresh food store founded in 1969, has seven stores in Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington, Conn.; in East Meadow, Farmingdale and Yonkers, N.Y.; and in Paramus, N.J. Stew’s earned its nickname, the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores” because of its country-fair atmosphere, with costumed characters and animated entertainment throughout the store that keep children entertained while parents shop. Stew Leonard’s legion of loyal shoppers is largely due to the stores’ passionate approach to customer service: “Rule #1 — The Customer is Always Right”; Rule #2 – If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1.” This principle is so essential to the foundation of the company that it is etched in a three-ton granite rock at each store’s entrance. The company’s culture is built around an acronym for S.T.E.W.: Satisfy the customer; Teamwork gets it done; Excellence makes it better; WOW makes it fun. For more information, visit Stew Leonard’s website at www.stewleonards.com.