Stew Leonard’s considers 2nd attempt at bringing store to Orange

Stew Leonard’s will open its eighth location this month—this one in Clifton, New Jersey—but the supermarket chain is already looking at spots for its ninth store.

Marissa Alter

May 7, 2024, 10:12 PM

Updated 21 days ago

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Norwalk-based Stew Leonard's could make another attempt at bringing the destination grocery store to Orange, a town the family business is more than a little familiar with after a 14-year fight to build there.
Stew Leonard’s will open its eighth location this month—this one in Clifton, New Jersey—but the supermarket chain is already looking at spots for its ninth store.
“Right now, we're focused on expanding every other year,” explained Brittney Tavello, director of training and development for Stew Leonard’s and a third-generation member of the Leonard family. “We love Orange. And part of what goes into another great store—what we look for—is a great community. And we know that we have that in Orange. However, we haven't made any decisions yet.”
Multiple places are being considered in the Northeast, including what was once referred to as Christmas Tree Plaza on Indian Road in Orange, a shopping center that was anchored by a Christmas Tree Shops store until it closed in August of 2023.
“There's no foot traffic. It's really sad what's going on here,” said Renee Mizrahi, who opened Renee’s Resale Clothing Outlet there at the end of 2018. “2019 was an amazing year. We had a great year. It was three anchor stores, 11 full stores. And today, three anchor stores are gone. There's one, two, three, four stores that are functioning right now.” Mizrahi told News 12 she'd gladly welcome Stew Leonard's as a new neighbor, and she’s not the only one.
“I think it would be really good. This plaza unfortunately has gone downhill a little bit, and there's not really close grocery stores to this central area, so I think it would be neat,” said Jennifer LaBree, who works at another business in the plaza.
It would be Stew Leonard's second shot at expanding into Orange. The company spent 14 years fighting to build a store on Marsh Hill Road but met resistance from some residents who were concerned about traffic and kept the effort tied up in court. Stew Leonard’s ultimately abandoned the plan in 2010. The land is now a FedEx freight facility and less than half a mile from the current possible site.
“There was just a group of people that didn't want Stew Leonard’s, and they were strong enough to shut it down, but most of Orange really wants it,” Mizrahi stated.
Tavello said a lot of thought and consideration goes into determining where to open a store.
“We're going to announce our next location at the end of 2024 so that we can get it up and running in the next year after that,” Tavello said. Brixmor Property Group, who owns the shopping center, released a statement saying, “In deference to our retail partners, we do not comment on potential leasing activity. Once we sign a lease, we are happy to announce new tenants.”
Along with its headquarters in Norwalk, Stew Leonard’s has two other Connecticut locations—Danbury and Newington. The company also has three stores in New York and one in New Jersey with a second set to open there after Mother’s Day.


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