Stew Leonard’s, a family owned and operated grocery store, will be opening its second Long Island location this summer. (Photo From: Flickr / Mike Mozart)
By Samantha Salomon
Stew Leonard’s, a family owned and operated grocery store, will once again be opening its doors on Long Island this summer. What began as a small dairy store founded in 1969 has since been recognized as the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores” by The New York Times.
East Meadow will be home to Stew Leonard’s sixth grocery store. In addition to Stew Leonard’s headquarters store in Norwalk, Conn., there are four other stores located in Danbury and Newington, Conn., Yonkers and Farmingdale, N.Y., home to its first Long Island market.
Stew Leonard’s will replace what was once a Pathmark, which closed its doors in 2013. Shortly after its closing, Best Market, a private, family-owned supermarket, opened in 2014 behind the shopping center Pathmark was located in.
Best Market is located on Hempstead Turnpike and arrived in, what a member of the East Meadow community calls, “the nick of time.” Just two years after Pathmark, Waldbaum’s also closed its doors. Both grocery stores were centrally located on Front Street.
“I never shopped at Pathmark much, I was always more of a Waldbaum’s person,” Jill Cagan, an East Meadow resident, said. “When Best Market opened I wasn’t really interested. It was only when Waldbaum’s closed that I stepped foot into Best Market. Now I’m hooked.”
Stew Leonard’s East Meadow location will be walking distance from Best Market. The placement of their newest store is not random. Each store is located in an area where the company thinks it will prosper, Meghan Bell, Director of Public Relations at Stew Leonard’s, said. “There are lots of folks on Long Island. Between the business and the residential area, it just made a lot of sense to us.”
The company does not believe that there will be any competition between the two grocery stores, Bell said. “We are not your traditional grocery store. Eighty percent of our stores are fresh food and we also offer fresh baked goods, great meat and wonderful produce.”
And workers from Best Market agree.
“I don’t think Stew Leonard’s will necessarily be ‘stealing’ our business. I think our customers will be interested to check out the new store and compare their prices and promotions to ours,” Samantha Haimowitz, a Best Market cashier, said. “I think people will shop at both stores and then maybe pick the one they prefer and stick with it.”
The new store will be 70,000 square feet and will provide up to 400 jobs with opportunities for full-time employment and a “full array of benefits.”
What makes Stew Leonard’s stand out from other markets, Bell explained, is its farm fresh food, dedication to customer service and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
“I’ve been to the Stew Leonard’s in Farmingdale and it is insane,” Matthew Scarinci, an East Meadow resident, said. “I’m so excited to have one in my town. Even though I’m 22-years-old, there’s just something about singing animatronics and free ice cream that really speaks to me.”
Stew Leonard’s newest location can be found in what is currently known as the Serota Organization’s East Meadow Mall. Within the year, the Mall will be completely renovated and renamed Stew Leonard’s Marketplace.