Around The Store With Stew
What’s Our Number One Selling Item During The Holidays?
Filets from our Midwest ranchers are going strong. You can either buy the untrimmed filet for $13.99/lb. or the trimmed filet for $18.99/lb. Why is one more expensive than the other? They both net out to be the same price per pound after the filets are trimmed by our butcher shop, but it’s easier for you to buy the trimmed filet. Our chefs also have one that’s oven ready and all you have to do is pop it in the oven. Here’s a quick video that shows you how easy it is to cook a whole filet.
NY Times Goes Behind The Scenes With Amy
Congrats to Amy, our Assistant Fish Manager in Yonkers. She did a great job with the New York Times explaining what she does every day in a video from their “On The Job” series. It has had more than 20,000 views since it premiered last Saturday. Her enthusiasm is contagious! And that lobster costume gets to me every time. Make sure you stop by Fish when at the Yonkers store and tell Amy “hello.” Guaranteed, you’ll love her as much as we do at Stew’s. Watch Amy making customers happy here.
Norwalk's Farmers Market Is Now Open
We opened our new front entrance and farmers’ market right on time! So far, all of our customers are giving us a thumbs-up. My mom and sister Jill were there on opening day. Thanks to Maureen and Nicole for overseeing a very stressful year of many changes and everyone that had a hand in making things look so amazing and fresh
Mooo-ving Up The Ladder...And Moving Off The Ladder
I’m thrilled with all of the recent promotions we’ve had at Stew’s. 80% of our management team have been grown internally. I’m so impressed with the young people today. They are really sharp.
A special shoutout to Henry Gordon, who has worked for 43 years as a butcher at Stew’s. He’ll be moving off the ladder after Christmas when he retires!
YAY! We’re Teaching 700 Kids A Week To Swim!
The Stewie the Duck Swim School is operated as a nonprofit, so every penny of the proceeds goes to providing swim lessons for kids in need. What could be better? 75% of our students are under five years old. The key is getting your child water-acclimated and teaching them to roll over and float on their back. If you can do this by the spring, you’ll be doing your child and yourself a tremendous favor. We’re trying to turn our tragedy into something positive. We’re also noticing a tremendous number of grandparents buying gift cards for their grandchildren’s lessons.
2nd Annual Good Day Cares Event
We brought 5,000 jars of soup and 7,000 bottles of water down to NYC and donated them to the Food Bank For New York City as part of Good Day New York’s Good Day Cares Event. Rosanna Scotto was a great host and Leslie Gordon, the CEO of the Food Bank of NYC, has done a tremendous job. We were happy and proud to be a part of the event.
Meet 50 Cent At Stew’s Wines In Yonkers!
Stew’s Wines in Yonkers is hosting legendary rapper and entrepreneur 50 Cent next Thursday, December 28 from 5-8 p.m. for a bottle signing of his award-winning cognac and champagne. Pre-order your bottles here.
Wegmans: Competitors or Friends?
I recently paid a visit to the new Wegmans in New York City. Our family has been friends with the Wegman family for years, so I had to drop Colleen and Danny Wegman a note: “Colleen and Danny, you’ve made a splash on the NY scene with your new store. Beautiful as always. Loved your Japanese fish market. What I like about you guys is you’re always trying something new. Next time you visit Norwalk, I’d love to meet with you guys. We’re competitors, but more importantly, we’re friends. Please let me know the next time you’re in the area or I’ll meet you in NYC. Happy Holidays, Stew”
To which Danny replied, “Hi Stew. Huge admiration for you! Would love to see you! Have a great Holiday Season! (Yikes, it’s here!) Danny.
Holiday Wine FAQs
I asked my daughter Blake what are the top 4 questions she gets from customers around the holidays? Here they are...
- How much wine do I need for a gathering?
Rule of thumb: 1 bottle for every 2 people.
- How much should I spend on a bottle?
No need to break the bank. There are great values at $10 to $20 a bottle at Stew’s Wines & Spirits stores.
- How long does wine last once open?
White wines can last up to 5 days if stored in the fridge. Reds are less fresh after 3 days stored in the fridge.
- Screwcaps vs. Cork?
Great wines come in screwcaps now, and it makes them really easy to open!
Stew’s Whipped Cream Cheese Is Here!
You let me know that you’d like to hear more about new Stew Leonard items coming down the pike. I’m hooked on our new Whipped Cream Cheese. It’s a Sunday tradition of mine to have a bagel with our new whipped cream cheese and smoked salmon.
Why We’re Discounting Christmas Trees Now
You gobbled up all the large trees this year, especially the ones over 10 feet tall. But now we’re left with extra 5–6-foot trees. As of today, you can get them at half price! I’d rather have them in your living rooms than in the woodchipper. Good news. We sold 40,000 trees and just planted 80,000 seeds. They’ll be ready in 6-7 years. Have to plan ahead!
Stew’s Food Index Shows Inflation Is Cooling Off
We took a shopping cart of our best-selling holiday items and compared them to prices over the last several years. We included filet mignon, ground beef, chicken breast, lobster tails, shrimp, milk, butter, eggs, and berries. Plus, a sampling from every department. It showed that between 2021 and 2022, the consumer price index went up 12% but only 6% at Stew’s. Even though many of our suppliers are smaller local family businesses, they agreed to split their costs 50/50 with us. The good news is that this year the CPI shows there was an increase of 2% and only 1% at Stew’s. The main increase in food prices has been due to meat. If you take meat items out of the basket, the price actually decreased 3% this year versus last year. Ranchers are dealing with smaller herd sizes and all sorts of weather issues. As herd sizes grow, we should see these prices come down in the upcoming months.
What’s Really Selling These Days
- In the Bakery, it’s cannoli and cookie platters, and our store-made cheesecake with all our own ingredients.
- The Deli is going crazy with cheese and charcuterie platters, wedges of Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella balls made fresh in the store every day.
- The Fish department will be selling thousands of pounds of shrimp, lobster tails, and king crab legs. We’re ready for the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
- In the Grocery department, it’s going to be all about marinara sauce, and Rao’s leads the way, especially when we put it on sale. Also try the pigs in a blanket that are handmade in the bakery – I could make a meal out of them!
- The Kitchen is all about catering. Our chefs will be preparing Filet Mignon dinners plus spiral cut ham and surf and turf. Give yourself a break and try one of the dinners.
- The Meat department will be all about filet mignon and rib roast. These are the go-to holiday dinners.
How Do You Prepare 7,500 Meals In 24 Hours?
You guys kept our chefs busy! Thanksgiving turned out to be a great holiday at Stew’s. Our Dinners for 8 were a big success and catering was up over 20%. We also saw a strong increase in Hanukkah meals being ordered. Everyone wanted those braised beef briskets, crispy potato latkes, carrots with raisins, and rugelach. Hard to resist. You can make your life a little easier by ordering for the upcoming holidays, too.
The Secret To Tommy DeVito’s Chicken Cutlets
In Paramus and Yonkers, everybody’s talking about NY Giants QB Tommy DeVito and “Tommy Cutlets.” It’s his favorite meal. There’s a “secret sauce” that’s used in the dish that I share in this video I made at home.
In Other Yonkers News…
Vote for Stew’s for the best supermarket and wine store in Westchester Magazine’s “Best of Westchester” reader’s poll. Here’s the link to vote. Voting is open until January 10th at 5 p.m. We’d love your help to get us to #1.
Filling Up Bellies with Filling in the Blanks
My sister Beth took a group of our Team Members to volunteer here in Norwalk at Filling In The Blanks, which provides children in need with meals on the weekends. They filled more than 2,500 bags that morning! Beth also told me that Stew Leonard’s is donating milk, bread, and yogurt to Filling In the Blanks’ mobile pantry, which made me feel great.
Giving back in our community is something my dad and my grandfather instilled in us. My sister Beth wrote, “I think back to our grandfather, Charles Leo Leonard, when he was delivering milk during the depression. One day there was a note on the door of one of his customers. It said, ‘No milk today.’ My grandfather knew that they had a houseful of children and babies who needed milk, but the family couldn't afford to pay. My grandfather delivered it anyway and said, ‘I will be the one to decide when you stop your milk delivery. Pay me when you can.’ That family still shops at Stew's today.”
High Five To…
Farmingdale’s Store Manager, Joe!
From a customer: “I pulled up with my family to buy a Christmas tree only to find Joe just closing the gate, but he graciously asked us to please come in. We were able to purchase two trees and also made to feel very special. I am so thankful and wanted to share this act of kindness to help celebrate the holiday season.”
Rose Broke A Rule. Should I Fire Her?
A distraught customer called the Yonkers store. Her Dad had just passed, and she needed a catering order for the family funeral services. She had called 3 other caterers, and the answer was the same, “You must place your order 24 hours in advance.” She was upset until she spoke with Rose. Rose called one of our chefs and asked if they could quickly get something together for the family. The customer was over the moon but, guess what? We have the same policy at Stew’s. We’d like 24-hour notice too. Rose BROKE THE RULE and made the customer very, very happy. That made me very, very happy. Rose, do you want a promotion? Watch as I catch up with Rose about making sure that this customer left happy, too.
What Do You Do With 25,000 Candy Canes?
That’s easy. Give them to the kids who come to Stew’s to visit Santa.