Around The Store With Stew
Clifton Groundbreaking For Our New Store
This will be our 8th store, and our second food and wine store in New Jersey. It was a successful day. We had all the local officials attend, many of our suppliers, and many of our Team Members. We also smashed a 356-pound pumpkin! Most stores break ground… Stew Leonard’s smashes pumpkins! We can’t wait to open in Clifton next summer.
The Annual Golf Tournament Was
A Super Home Run!
We just had our 26th annual golf tournament in support of Stew Leonard III Water Safety Foundation and raised over $500,000 or 50,000 free swim lessons for children in need! Our mission, “Saving lives, one lesson at a time.” Since we are a non-profit, every penny goes back to teaching underserved children potentially life-saving swimming skills. I want to thank some big sponsors, like Rowdy Gaines (Olympic swimmer and world record holder), M&T Bank, Westside Foods, CharLeigh Charitable Trust, Chobani, DGC Capital Contracting Corp, Imperial Dade, National Beef, Seaboard Corporation, Sparkling Ice, Talking Rain, The Wine Group, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Makes my heart grow with every donation.
We Just Visited 50 Happy Cows
One of my favorite things to do is talk to our farmers and learn more about their products that we sell at Stew’s. A bunch of us made a visit to Hyde’s Dairy Farm, one of our raw milk suppliers. We spoke with husband-and-wife farmers, David, and Brie Hyde, and got up close and personal with more than 50 happy cows… They milk twice a day, seven days a week. Can’t do that working from home. We talked about how great the milk is – pure tasting, no antibiotics or hormones used. There’s a marriage issue brewing. Brie grew up with Jersey cows and David grew up with Holsteins. They each said their cows produce better milk!
Watch Out, Bobby Flay!
Our chefs went head-to-head with the East Farmingdale Fire Department over who had the best chili. Guess what? We lost! The fire department won, and we donated $5,000 to the Billy Moon Foundation on behalf of the fire department. We love Farmingdale. Maybe the next time I see Chief Lewis he’ll tell me what their secret ingredient is!
You Have To Watch This Video
of Me and My Mom
She talks about her “go to” recipe for pot roast. If there’s a birthday or any type of family celebration coming up, she’ll typically bring her pot roast. I asked my mom for the recipe, and we’ve put it on our hot buffets. I think you’ll love it because it’s great eating in the cooler weather. What’s the secret to it? Watch here and find out straight from the source!
USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards Results
First of all, thank you for voting! Since we are just a small footprint on a national stage, Stew’s placed in the top 10 in a few categories, up against 20 other grocery stores. Many of them have big national and regional footprints. This year, we’re thrilled that we can say we placed in the top 3 for “Best Grocery Store” and “Best Grocery Store Deli” in the country. But we’re still working to improve. I’m proud of our team at Stew’s! We were nudged out of #1 and #2 by The Fresh Market and Hy-Vee. Can’t figure that one out but, I’m not going to take issue with the voting process!
Customer Service Dilemma?
A Team Member who demos our fresh squeezed orange juice in the store came up to me and said, “A customer walked up with his empty coffee cup and filled it with the orange juice and walked away. How do you want me to handle something like this?” I asked, “Well, how did you handle it?” She replied, “I told him to have a nice day.” I then told her that she handled it perfectly. Don’t tell anybody, though. I don’t want to see a lot of you filling up your coffee cups with fresh juice at the demo station!
New Chef, New Recipe
We hired Chef Nieha recently at the Farmingdale store. Nieha oversees the hot buffet. She used to supply the NY Giants with their training camp meals. One of the things she said they raved about was a mustard chicken she made. We’re offering this now as a special in Farmingdale. There’s no guarantee that if you eat it you’ll be on the roster for the Giants, but it’s a great item. It tastes really good.
Team Member Shoutout
We do an attitude survey amongst our Team Members about every 6 months. Anthony from the fish department in Danbury was voted Number 1 in the company by his Team Members for his great attitude and shared work ethic. Here’s a little video of Anthony sharing his tips for taking care of his Team Members. He also brought in a 500-pound tuna to break down in front of the customers. I love that. We call it “show & sell” here. Rather than doing the butchering in the back room, we did it out front and customers went crazy over it.
Blake's Wine Notes
Bravo to our latest 5 Certified Wine Specialists who put in about 70 - 100 hours of studying (after work) to take the very rigorous WSET (the Wine & Spirit Education Trust exam). They all passed! Why is this important? You’ll have even more knowledgeable people on the floor to help you with your wine selections. That now brings our WSET graduates up to over 30 at Stew’s.