The Glenville State College Department of Business is bringing entrepreneur Tom Leonard to campus for a presentation for Global Entrepreneurship Week. The free event will take place on Tuesday, November 9th at 12:30 p.m. in the Presidents Auditorium in the Heflin Administration Building. GSC students, faculty and staff, as well as the general public are encouraged to attend. The presentation will last no more than one hour. Leonard will speak about “The Customer is Always Right.” The message will emphasize “only happy customers.”
Tom Leonard grew up in the family business. His grandfather, Charles Leo Leonard, founded Clover Farms dairy in 1921 in a barn in Norwalk, Connecticut. Charles gathered fresh milk from local farms, hand-bottled it, and delivered it door-to-door by horse and buggy hours later. Tom’s father, Stew Leonard, eventually took over the little dairy from his father. With four milk trucks, he ran the business until 1968, when the state told him a new road would run right through his plant. So Stew started over. This time, instead of taking milk to his customers, Stew built a storefront where his customers could come to him – in the beginning for the freshest milk around and later for the other products sold and the outstanding customer service. Stew Leonard’s, the tiny store in Norwalk had become the world’s largest dairy which now boasts annual sales of $120 million, more than 10 times the grocery store industry’s average. With the family business in his blood and a drive to succeed in his bones, Tom was determined to help his family’s business grow while putting his own stamp on things.
Tom built a second Stew Leonard’s store, one that reflected the suggestions of his customers and team members. Starting out selling produce in a tent in Danbury, Connecticut in 1986, Tom built the second family store. He also gained international attention in publications such as The New York Times, New York Magazine, Forbes, and The International Herald Tribune. Tom was recognized in 1988 as one of the “Top 10 Young Entrepreneurs in America” by the Small Business Administration.
Tom decided to strike out on his own, taking what he learned from his parents and his years at Stew Leonard’s and applying it to his own business. Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market opened its doors in Richmond, Virginia on March 9, 2004.
Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market has been recognized by Richmond Guide as #1 in the Top 15 Things to Do with Kids in Richmond, #1 in the 50 Best Food Finds in Richmond Magazine, and #1 place to purchase produce in Richmond Magazine.
For more information about Tom Leonard’s visit to Glenville State College, contact the GSC Department of Business at (304) 462-4123.