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Stew Leonards's : The Disneyland of Supermarkets
Nov 26, 2008

Known for its rah-rah culture, this supermarket chain opened its fourth store in Newington, Conn., creating 430 new jobs (85% of managers were hired in-house).  They were selected as one of Fortune Magazine's top 100 places to work in America in 2008. 

The New York Times called Stew Leonard's the "Disneyland of Dairy Stores." The stores are not set up like traditional grocery stores; one must walk through the entire store (though there are short cuts). As customers walk through a path of aisles, they are greeted by different employees dressed up in costumes and by animatronic favorites such as Twinkie the Kid, the Chiquita banana, and Clover, a cow's head that moos when one pulls its rope. The stores also feature petting zoos and outdoor cafes in the warmer months and sell a variety of prepared meals year round. Customers are also offered an unusually large number of food samples for a supermarket, as well as free drink samples.

Dating back to their earliest days , they posted a sign in their store clearly stating the importance of shippers to their business:
1) The customer is always right. and
2) If the customer is ever wrong, re-read rule #1.

They have always prided themselves on carefully listening to their customers; Stew Leonard  Sr. always  said "God gave us two ears and one mouth.  Listen, listen, listen to the customers and always be accessible."  Very uncomplicated isn't it? Just recently the Connecticut Retail Food Merchants Association awarded Stew Leonard their "Retailer of the Year" recognition.

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"How You Do What You Do", by Bob Livingston

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