1 Last Saturday was a big day at Stew Leonard's in Norwalk, Connecticut. I came to town to sign the "One Pot" book at the "world's largest dairy store," and the entire Leonard family gathered to greet me. What a clan!!!!
2 Mr. and Mrs. Stew Leonard Sr., the founders of the great store which now has several giant branch stores in New York, Connecticut and Long Island.
3 Stew Leonard, Jr., is the CEO of the chain. He is boisterous, a great salesman, and a champion of the family brand. He recently bought the giant lobster at a trade show.
4 On a trip to Japan, Stew bought some very realistic food replicas and showed them off.
5 Outside, under a red and white striped Stew Leonard tent, Stew introduced me to a crowd that was lively and friendly.
6 The Leonards have a great sense of humor--there were life-size cutouts of me everywhere, and hundreds of my bestseller, "One Pot," for sale.
7 Bales of hay were lined up as chairs for the waiting throngs.
8 Each customer was given a life-size cutout on a stick of my head--they loved them!
9 I signed many books for staff members, including the chef of all the chain's many kitchens.
10 Stew himself got in the act and helped me get through the piles.
11 Stew with me and his daughter.
12 Some examples of the many branded Stew Leonard's products. I have been buying from the store since the early 1970s. In fact, I remember when there were vending machines for milk on many street corners in Westport.
13 One very interesting thing about Stew Sr. and Jr. is that they really do believe in the customer, and they have great relationships with their employees.
14 Another encouraging and straightforward "mission statement."
15 Stew Jr. and I have known each other for many years, and we joked about our experiences in business.
16 I was helped by several of the store's employees--they moved the big crowd along efficiently and nicely.
17 Allyn Magrino works closely with her sister Susan at the Susan Magrino Agency. They are a powerhouse public relations team.
18 Stew Leonard Sr. loves his stores and is an active advocate of the customer.
19 A local newscaster interviewed the Stews and the crowd.
20 Everything was very well organized.
21 Many of the book buyers waved the Martha masks. It was very amusing.
22 Susan Magrino looks very good as Martha.
23 The three Marthas!
24 Now who can this be??
25 Jocelyn Santos my radio producer!
26 Stew and Martha with Clover, the historic cow, producer of all the milk sold in the stores.
27 We posed with the frisky and very fresh Maine lobsters--the store sells many many lobsters and lobster rolls. I bought a swordfish steak, caught locally. It was so good. Shopping at Stew Leonard's is always an experience, and signing hundreds of books was a delight. Thanks so much, Norwalk!