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Stew Leonard’s - the Connecticut-based store chain that has become legendary through its combination of customer service, in-store theatrics, and fresh foods – announced that it will open a new store in Newington, Ct., near Hartford, early next year. The 112,800-square foot unit will be in the former Caldor store given $15 million in renovations.

The store will be the company’s fourth. The original unit is in Norwalk, Ct., with newer stores in Danbury, Ct., and Yonkers, NY. It has run into delays that have slowed down its building plans on Long Island, NY, and zoning controversies that have postponed its plans for an Orange, CT., unit.
KC's View:
We have long been an unabashed fan of Stew Leonard’s, both personally and professionally – we’ve been shopping there for more than two decades, and have admired the company’s ability to turn a limited selection of product (only about 2,000 SKUs) into stores that can generate as much as $2 million a week apiece. Stew’s is a perfect example of how to compete by being something unique and different, rather than becoming preoccupied with fighting fire with fire.

Stew Leonard’s isn’t a store. It is a powerful brand name. It is a mark of how strong the brand is that when the company was hit with a series of tax and legal problems more than a decade ago, which led to its founder spending time in prison, the brand not only survived but even grew in strength.