Around The Store With Stew
Feedback From You… Do I Really Write This?
I try to recap things happening around the store but, I don’t hit the “send” button right away. Rich Lung (Creative Director, 40 years at Stew’s) adds pictures. Then Meghan Bell, Director of PR, 12 years, lightly reviews but leaves in my voice. Then, Karen Berner reviews, CIA-trained chef and worked with Martha Stewart 5 years. Makes sure my cooking/product comments are correct. Lastly, my daughter Blake makes sure any wine/food pairings are correct, and then, I hit the “send” button! Goal is to make sure it’s from the heart.
Bummed Out About The New York Giants, But…
They had a great season. First time in the playoffs since 2011. “Big Blue” skies ahead. Many of the players shop at Stew’s and love our aged beef and fine wines! Big eaters.
Celebrity Wine And Spirits Update From My Daughter Blake
Product Story… Paul Newman’s Salad Dressing
Paul and Joanne Woodward lived in Westport, Conn. for years and shopped at Stew’s. One day, Paul presented my Dad with his homemade salad dressing that he made for his friends during the holidays. Can I get this made anywhere? My Dad hooked him up with a co-packer but, the minimum order was far more than Paul needed. My Dad said, “I’ll take whatever you can’t fit in your garage,” and recommended that Paul put his picture on the label. “You want a personal touch.” Paul agreed and the first batch of bottles arrived. We built a huge display in the store, and it created huge publicity. Newman’s Own was launched. Today, they have raised over $570 million, and, from the get-go, Paul insisted all profits go to charity. I always remember he loved our hamburgers too!
Talk To Me – Your Questions Answered
• I love using the Stew’s App, but what do I do with my over 100 free ice cream cones and coffees? We’re working on other rewards that we can offer you to use the points you’ve accumulated. Stay tuned.
• Why can't I purchase Tuscan bread in the Newington store? Good question. We sell our fresh baked Tuscan style bread in 6 of our stores and it sells really well. Why not in Newington? We’re going to try baking it and see how it sells.
• What is ultra-pasteurized milk and why is corn syrup used in our eggnog? “Ultra-pasteurized” is the wave of the future. Regular milk is heated to 161°F to kill harmful bacteria. Ultra is heated to 280°F. This kills even more harmful bacteria and extends the shelf life from a few weeks to over 2 months. By the way, my Dad (a UCONN Ag grad) did a taste test, and he couldn’t tell the difference in taste. As for the corn syrup? 70-year-old family recipe that needs to be updated. You’ll see cane sugar added in the next batch.
Save A Life One Lesson At A Time
We lost our son in a drowning accident. It happened nearly 34 years ago, but it never heals. Our family is on a mission to prevent drownings for kids. My dream was to open a swim school and it’s finally happening. Profits will be plowed back into free lessons for kids in need. We should be able to provide over 10,000 free lessons next year! Yeah! Stewie The Duck Swim School will open in late spring and we are hiring a General Manager.
How Do I Disconnect The Battery?
My daughter Chase came up with the idea of selling plush toys that sing our animated characters’ songs in the store. She wrote and sang a song for the Avocado Girls; they were a hit! Next, was the singing banana and then Stewie the Duck singing “Don’t Jump In Until You Learn to Swim.” Lots of you on social media posted about how the next plush toy should be a cow! It’s coming to the tune of “Old Macdonald Had a Farm.” The biggest complaint from parents? How to disconnect the battery because their kids have to go to sleep!
Shout Out To Senator Blumenthal
… for his decades of support for our water safety efforts. Every time we call him to help us publicize water safety for kids, he’s right there!
Many Of You Ask About My Dad And Mom
They’re still going strong at 93 and 90. Dad reads and writes for hours every morning, and my Mom is the Energizer Bunny. I hope I have lots of their genes! We surprised Dad on his 93rd birthday. Check out his happy reaction here.
Holiday Sales Were Strong In Spite of Inflation
We had to dodge a few weather issues but, with more people vaccinated, it seems that families were getting back together.
• Platter sales were up (shrimp, cheese, fresh cut fruit and salad bowls, and especially cannoli!)
• Catering sales were up 20%. Go to the website, order, and pickup. Simple. You especially loved our “Dinner for 8” meal. Filet mignon, rib roast and grilled shrimp were your favorites.
• Overall, customer visits were up. We beefed up our in store free samples too.
• We sold nearly 40,000 Christmas trees. That’s a lot of trees to tie on top of your cars!
Lights, Camera, Action
Nearly 20,000 of you viewed our YouTube videos with cooking and reheating instructions for reheating a spiral ham, how to cook a filet mignon, rib roast, and more. We also showed you how to pick the perfect Christmas tree. We’ll be doing more with QR codes to cooking videos on our catering boxes.
Tom Brady, When Are You Really Going To Retire?
I get asked all the time, “When are you going to retire?” I’m slowly passing over the reins to our family members and management team, but this holiday I toured all the stores and had so much FUN meeting our customers and Team Members. I loved it and can’t ever see myself fully retiring. I smiled when a customer told me why he hates Stew’s. Check it out!
What You’re Clicking On
Hope you enjoyed this newsletter and, again, I love getting your feedback. It’s time for me to hit the “send” button!