New Jerseyans soon will no longer need to travel to Westchester, Long Island, or Connecticut to shop in a Stew Leonard’s grocery store. The family-owned chain says that its first Garden State location is expected to open later this year.
An 80,000-square-foot Stew Leonard’s is being constructed in Bergen County at the Paramus Park Mall, which is situated between Route 17 and the Garden State Parkway in Paramus. In a statement issued last week, a spokesperson for the company said that work on the new location is expected to be completed in the fall and that at least 350 employees will be hired there. There will be a bakery, butcher shop, hot food buffet, and seafood department inside, according to the statement.
An event with officials such as Senator Bob Menendez and Richard LaBarbiera, the mayor of Paramus, was held on Friday to celebrate the store’s groundbreaking.
Previously, the site contained a Sears store, which opened in 1974 when the mall was completed. The transition of the property from containing a Sears location to a supermarket was featured in a CBS Sunday Morning special last year about the decline of the department store company. Having supermarkets inside shopping malls is more common in Europe than in the United States, but while some businesses are leaving enclosed shopping centers, there has been a trend of sorts recently of American supermarkets moving in.
Stew Leonard’s does currently have a presence in New Jersey, operating liquor stores in Bergen, Passaic, and Union Counties, but the Paramus store will be the company’s first full-fledged supermarket in the state. Stew Leonard’s was founded 50 years ago in Connecticut but has ramped up expansion efforts recently, opening two Long Island locations in the last few years.