As Simon Dunn, MD of food broker Product Chain says: "$80m in one store per annum says it all."
But the financial success isn't the main story of the company. Described in some corners as the "Disneyland of dairy stores", Stew Leonard's pile 'em high philosophy creates a sense of value without cheapening the experience. Customer service, making shopping an adventure and listening are what the success of the chain has been built on. Its customer service slogan, carved in stone, literally, at each store's entrance, is simple. Firstly, the customer is always right. Secondly, if the customer is wrong, re-read rule one. If that means some customers take advantage, then so be it, says Stew Leonard Junior, son of the eponymous chain's founder.
One customer even got a refund for the turkey she burnt. Happy customers return and bring their friends, he says.
From its beginnings as a dairy store in 1969, created off the back of the family's dairy farm, it now is focused on all fresh produce, selling 2,000 lines.
Location: Norwalk, US
No. of stores: 3
Fact: World record holder for
US food sales per sq ft in 1992