Stew Leonard’s is a small Norwalk, CT based chain of four grocery stores that are far more than just grocery stores.

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I woke up this morning to smell of the donuts that my mom was baking on her new donut making machine. Usually we have waffles and kielbasa, so it was a change from our normal Thanksgiving tradition. The change continued when my mom said, “It’s Thanksgiving, you should write about Stew Leonard’s.” It’s not new for her to present me with ideas, but it is new for me to politely accept them. Stew Leonard’s is a small Norwalk, CT based chain of four grocery stores that are far more than just grocery stores. It’s a very unique place, and a wonderful place to buy all of your Thanksgiving essentials and fixings. I haven’t been there in a long time (it’s a decent drive from my parents’ house), but I have wonderful childhood memories of animatronic produce doing song and dance shows, winning a free ice cream in the checkout line, and a petting zoo.

Rule 1

A good way to get a feel for what Stew Leonard’s is all about is to look at their pictures and videos. The first image in their photo gallery is of a giant slab of stone that looks like what the Ten Commandments were written on. It says, “Our Policy – Rule 1: The customer is always right! Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong, reread Rule 1.” Customer service is a huge focus at Stew’s and so is employee satisfaction. That’s why they’ve been named to Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For ten years in a row. Considering a career at Stew Leonards might be a bit of a change of tradition for you (like donuts on Thanksgiving morning for me) because their entry level positions are typically offered in the following departments: Baker, Meat, Cleaning Services, Demo, Management, Receiving, Barbeque, Grocery, Coffee, Fish, Office/Clerical, Transportation, Kitchen, Ice Cream, Construction, Garden Tree Shop, Pizza, Chef, Cashier, Security, Deli, Gift Center, or Produce. That may not be exactly what you’re looking for, but you have to keep in mind that their Assistant Controller started as a Cashier, their Director of Operations started as a Grocery Clerk, and one of their HR Managers started as a Deli Hostess. They call this “Up the Ladder,” and it’s approach that I’ve seen a lot of other grocery stores take–learn the business by starting at the ground level.

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