Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we visited Mom up in Central Connecticut, and experienced an unexpected pleasure. A Stew Leonard’s grocery store had opened up nearby, and we went for a visit.
I had heard about this small NY/CT chain over the years, and so I was prepped for the fact that Stew’s was a destination, not a mere grocery store.
And so, there I was wandering through a food store, a bemused grin painted across my face, fresh amusement and amazement delighting me with every turn of the corner. Folks, these people are ON IT! This is how food shopping ought be!
First of all, the store is not laid out in traditional aisles. You wander a meandering path from department to department, taking in the various sights and smells of each area. Wisely, the fresh coffee (with a roasting machine on-site, and bins of beans that, in some cases, are still warm!) is right up front. I could not resist grinding and buying some and it is delicious. Plus, at many points along the way, free samples are offered – the pumpkin donuts, and the thick sweet potato chips were scrumptious – so you’re definitely getting a multi-sensory experience all along the way.
For kids, there are various stations where you can press buttons and have amusing farm animals perform for you, plus there are mechanical thingamabobs hanging from the ceiling to keep young (and old!) attention spans occupied.
I felt like I was at a country fair. Probably looked like a real doofus, with a crooked grin seeing all this marketing genius embodied in a store, but I didn’t care – it was so much FUN!
When was the last time you went to buy food and had fun? When was the last time you looked forward to a trip somewhere so you’d have an excuse to return to a grocery store? I’m looking forward to my next visit over the Christmas holidays!
The food quality appeared to be quite good across the board – a lot of fresh stuff and quite a wide variety. Prices were moderately higher than normal, but somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to care about that. I was too enthused about the overall customer experience. Stew’s re-defines what shopping should be!