A Great Service Example

stewleonardsrockA few weeks ago I had the chance to visit a special place that was a prominent part of my childhood. It was a dairy store. That’s right, a dairy store, but it was not just any dairy store. It was the world’s largest dairy store; however, it didn’t start out that way.

The name of the store is Stew Leonard’s and it opened in 1969 selling bottled milk with 7 employees. Today, Stew Leonard’s has annual sales of over $400 million and more than 2,000 employees. The genius of Stew Leonard’s wasn’t selling bottled milk; it was the unrelenting commitment to customer service and the customer experience.

As a kid, we couldn’t wait to go to Stew’s to watch, through the big glass window, the milk actually getting bottled while jamboree music was being played by Disney-like animated farm animals (the real farm animals were right outside). Today, Stew Leonard’s is more like Whole Foods meets Costco and Disney World.

Why has this dairy store idea been such a success? It is because of their customer service culture that was established one day 47 years ago and has never wavered. As you enter Stew Leonard’s, there is a huge granite rock engraved with:

Rule 1 – The customer is always right!

Rule 2 – If the customer is ever wrong, reread Rule 1.

As I think about The Service Companies, I believe more than ever that our commitment to our brand, service code and Service. Above All is the engine that drives our success. Just like Stew Leonard’s customer service-oriented culture, our brand and service code put our customers first:

Service is not what we do – it is who we are.

We come to work to make our customers shine.

We are guests in our customer’s ‘house’.

We trust our co-workers, in all ways.

We leverage our expertise to solve problems.

Companies become successful and grow by providing either great services or goods to their customers. That is why we, The Service Companies and its 10,000 employees, strive everyday to live our service code and provide our customers and their guests exceptional service.

To learn more about our service code and who we are, visit our website here.


Steve Wilson is the President and CEO of The Service Companies, the leading provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry. With over 30 years of experience in service and hospitality, he flies more than 200,000 miles per year (all domestic) and spends over 200 nights per year in hotels visiting the company’s associates and customers, located in 44 states across the country.


  1. I could not resist commenting. Very well written!

  2. Excellent write-up. I certainly love this site.
    Continue the good work!

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