Have you ever sampled a product, perhaps a baked good, at the Union Square Greenmarket and wished your local supermarket carried it so you would have regular access to it? Maybe you’re a vendor yourself and are looking for ways of building a market for your edible ware.
If so, farm-fresh food chain Stew Leonard’s (nicknamed the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores” because of its country-fair atmosphere, costumed characters, and animated entertainment) today announced the launch of its first-ever “Stew’s Tank” competition to identify exciting new products that will sell at its stores. New York-based food companies are invited to apply online for Stew’s Tank, which will give vendors the opportunity to present their products directly to Stew Leonard’s buying team this spring. The products chosen will be sold for the month of June at the Stew Leonard’s store in East Meadow, N.Y., where their sales will be tracked by the buying team. The best-sellers will be judged by a panel of food experts, including local chefs and Stew Leonard, Jr., president and CEO of Stew Leonard’s, and the winners will be added to the shelves of all six Stew Leonard’s stores in New York and Connecticut.
“Stew Leonard’s launched rock star brands like Newman’s Own, Bear Naked Granola, Rao’s Marinara Sauce, and Long Island’s Butera’s Meatballs,” notes Stew Leonard, Jr. “My family and I are excited about Stew’s Tank and we can’t wait to taste our next best-selling product!”
Just like the investors for that other televised “tank” devoted to new products, Stew Leonard’s buyers are always on the lookout for what will be the “next big thing.” Dozens of food vendors pitch Stew Leonard’s Buying Team every week for a chance to have their product sold in-store. Unlike other grocery chains, however, Stew Leonard’s doesn’t accept slotting fees, which means the products on the shelves are there because customers love them — not because a big brand has paid Stew Leonard’s to put them there.
Interested vendors should upload their best sales pitch video to the Stew’s Tank website by Sunday, May 5, 2019 and include information about the product’s background, why it’s unique, and why Stew Leonard’s shoppers will go crazy for it. Selected vendors who advance to the next round will meet with Stew Leonard’s buying team for a sales presentation. A select few will then be chosen to demo and to sell their products at Stew Leonard’s East Meadow location throughout June. The top sellers will be evaluated by the judges and the winners will be rewarded with space on the shelves of all six Stew Leonard’s stores as of July.