Stew Leonard’s Named to Best Places to Work in Connecticut 2014 by
Hartford Business Journal
Fourth Consecutive Year on List
NORWALK, Conn., Jan. 23, 2014 – Stew Leonard’s was recently named as one of the Best Places to Work in Connecticut. This ninth annual program was created by the Hartford Business Journal, Best Companies Group and sponsored by Hooker & Holcombe Companies. This is the fourth consecutive year that the family-owned farm fresh food retailer has been named to the list.
“One thing I’ve learned from growing up in this business is that you can’t create happy customers without happy team members. If we want to make Stew Leonard’s a great place to shop, we have to first make it a great place to work! I’m grateful to all our Team Members for this honor,” said Stew Leonard, Jr. CEO of Stew Leonard’s.
Stew Leonard’s began as a small dairy store founded in Norwalk, Conn. in 1969 with just seven employees. Since that time, the company has grown to become a nearly $400 million dollar business with more than 2,000 Team Members across four stores. Three of the stores are located in Connecticut and more than 1,300 of those Team Members are based in Connecticut.
Since the very beginning, Stew Leonard’s has been an active supporter of Connecticut-based suppliers, farmers, and vendors. The company buys local produce from 20 farms throughout the state of Connecticut, including plants, lettuce, and tomatoes from J Defrancesco Farms in Northford; pumpkins from Cohen Farms in Ellington; and peaches and apples from Blue Hills Farm in Wallingford as well as from Lyman Orchards in Middlefield. Oysters sold in Stew Leonard’s seafood department come directly from the Long Island Sound from shellfish farmers like Westport Aquaculture and Norwalk’s own Norm Bloom & Son. Bear Naked Granola and Newman’s Own salad dressing, both Connecticut-based companies, also got their start on the shelves of Stew Leonard’s.
The Leonard family also makes it a point to give back to the communities it serves. Local charitable groups and churches pick up nightly donations of unsold baked goods. The stores’ Wishing Wells collect thousands of dollars annually for local charities and almost 2,000 turkeys are distributed to families in need every Thanksgiving through Stew Leonard’s Turkey Brigades. Team Members also volunteer for local mentor programs through Stew Leonard’s and additionally host an annual food drive for a local food bank.
Stew Leonard’s employs twice as many people per square foot as the average food retailer and provides at least 50 hours of training per year for full-time Team Members. Plus, advantages like Stew’s comprehensive benefits plan, extensive on-site medical screenings, and competitive pay package, which includes profit sharing, helps to attract and retain some of the very best talent in the business. Notably, 83% of the management team from across the entire company has been grown internally and 31% of Team Members have a family member working at Stew's.
This survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best employers in Connecticut, benefiting the state's economy, workforce, and businesses. The list is made up of 35 companies split into two categories: 20 small/medium-sized companies (15-199 US employees) and 15 large-sized companies (200 or more US employees). Stew Leonard’s has been named one of this year’s Best Places to Work in Connecticut in the large category.
To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a for-profit, not-for-profit business or government entity;
- Be a publicly or privately held business;
- Have a facility in Connecticut;
- Have at least 15 employees in Connecticut;
- Be in business a minimum of 1 year.
Companies from across the state entered the two-part survey process to determine the Best Places to Work in Connecticut. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company's workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in Connecticut, analyzed the data, and determined the final rankings.
The actual rankings will be published in the March 2014 issue of Hartford Business Journal and the ranked companies will be recognized at a special awards ceremony on March 19, 2014.
For more information on the Best Places to Work in Connecticut program, visit www.BestPlacestoWorkinCT.com.
About Stew Leonard's
Stew Leonard's, a family-owned and operated fresh food store founded in 1969, has four stores in Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington, Conn. and Yonkers, N.Y. 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.
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