By age five, Tom was attending meetings at the dairy
with his father. By the time he was a teenager, Toms father was
to milkmen what Paul Bunyon was to woodcutters. STEW LEONARDS, the
tiny store in Norwalk had become the worlds largest dairy. Remarkably,
the Norwalk location now has annual sales of $120 million, more than 10
times the grocery store industrys average. With the family business
in his blood and a drive to succeed in his bones, Tom was determined to
help his familys business grow while putting his own stamp on things.
Tom built a second STEW LEONARDS store, one
that reflected the suggestions of his customers and team members. Starting
out selling produce in a tent in Danbury, Connecticut in 1986, Tom built
the second family store. He dreamed up the robots, singing milk cartons,
and banjo playing dogs, gaining international attention in publications
such as The New York Times,
New York Magazine,
Forbes, and The
International Herald Tribune. These efforts
earned STEW LEONARDS the label of "The Disneyland of Dairy
Stores" and Tom the recognition in 1988 as one of the "Top 10
Young Entrepreneurs in America" by the Small Business Administration.
The result? In the 1995, Guinness
Book of World Records recognized STEW LEONARDS
as having the highest sales per square foot of any store in the world.
Today, the three stores accommodate over 300,000 customers each week with
the total annual sales exceeding $280 million and is prominently featured
in Tom Peters bestseller In Search of Excellence as an example of
American retailing success. STEW LEONARDS has been recognized by
Fortune Magazine for the last three years in a row as one of the "Top
100 Best Companies to Work For in America."
Tom decided to strike out on his own, taking what he
learned from his parents and his years at Stew Leonards and applying
it to his own business.
Tom Leonards Farmers Market has been recognized by Richmond Guide as #1 in the Top 15 Things to Do with Kids in Richmond, #1 in the 50 Best Food Finds in Richmond Magazine and #1 place to purchase produce in Richmond Magazine.