DANBURY, Conn. - For the third year in a row, family-owned, “farm-fresh food grocer” Stew Leonard’s -- with Fairfield County locations in Norwalk and Danbury -- was named “one of the best places to work in Connecticut,” according to a report by Hartford Business Journal, Best Companies Group.
At the Danbury store, Nicole Weiss manages what she refers to as “the front end -- cashiers, customer service, accounting and more.” A 25 year veteran of Stew Leonards -- she began working there when she was 16 -- the dairy store’s accolades come as no surprise.
“Stew's is a great company to work for,” she said. “They are very flexible with employees’ schedules, particularly where kids are concerned -- sports, events and sick children.”
Weiss, who is married to the director of Stew’s kitchen in Danbury, takes none of what she calls “the perks” for granted. They include, she said: regular free lunches, “annual appreciation parties” for each department, gift cards for free holiday turkey, gift cards for the holidays, profit sharing, a 401k and health insurance.
And, she said, there are 49 other advantages to working at Stew’s: she gets seven weeks of vacation per year.
Stew Leonard’s, whose humble beginnings as a small dairy store founded in Norwalk in 1969 with seven employees, was the seed for a now nearly $400 million business, has more than 2,000 employees -- more than 1,300 of them based in Connecticut -- in the region.
Stew's earned its nickname, the "Disneyland of Dairy Stores" because of the stores’ country-fair atmospheres, replete with petting farms, costumed characters and animated entertainment. Joining shoppers down the aisles are characters such as “Larry Lettuce,” Cindy Celery” and more, all of whom lend a musical and festive air to Stew’s unique shopping experience.
But for Weiss, it all comes down to one thing: “Stew’s truly cares about the people who work there.”