‘Merica: Stew Leonard’s: The World’s Largest Dairy Store
The story begins in 1921 at the opening of Clover Farms Dairy in Norwalk, CT. By 1960 brothers, Stew & Jim had inherited the milk delivery business and continued to run it until they were forced to relocate in the late 1960’s as the State of Connecticut began work on building a highway that would run directly through the original location. The new location opened in 1969, with the name officially being changed from Clover Farms Dairy to Stew Leonard’s in 1971. The start-up was small, selling only eight items from two registers, but grew rapidly throughout the 70’s and 80’s. The combination of carefully selecting items for freshness, quality and value and the store’s mantra “Rule #1 — The Customer is Always Right”; Rule #2 – If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1,” has not only enabled the store to expand to four locations, but has built it a legion of loyal customers. Its country fair atmosphere, complete with in-store animatronics, costumed characters and a petting zoo make a trip to the store an experience you’re unlikely to find at other markets.
Much more than a dairy store today, today’s Stew Leonard’s is also a renowned grocery store that actively works within the communities where they are located, making monthly donations to various local organizations. Their popularity led to the spontaneous start of Bags Around the World, when in 1974 a customer had here picture taken in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and Stew Leonard displayed it in the store. Today, thousands of customers continue to submit photos of themselves holding Stew Leonard’s bags at different locations around the world.
Original Location: 100 Westport Avenue, Norwalk, CT
Additional Locations: Danbury, CT; Newington, CT and Yonkers, NY