You’ll see Stewart's Shops throughout the Saratoga County area. This popular convenience store chain is a private employee- and family-owned business with 330 stores throughout 30 counties in upstate New York and southern Vermont. It is headquartered in Saratoga Springs and has 4,500 employees who work in their shops, dairy, ice cream plant, distribution center, and corporate offices. 1,500 are employed in Saratoga County, making it the second largest employer in the area.
Stewart’s Shops sell Stewart’s own milk and ice cream, juices, coffee, food to go, gasoline (2/3 of the locations have pumps), and an assortment of convenient home and food items.
Stewart's is vertically integrated, producing many of its own food items and working closely with local farms. They run and maintain a fleet of 50 delivery vehicles. The company repair shops also maintain Stewart's Shops equipment, signage, and gas pumps. In 2013, 2,400 solar panels were installed on top of the manufacturing and distribution center.
As reported in the Saratogian, Stewart’s Shops has plans to construct a new location in Malta, with six gas pumps, 3,500 square feet of store space, and a 1,200 square foot bank branch with a drive-through. The planned site is near the southern entrance to GlobalFoundries on Route 67. Rezoning discussions are ongoing.
The Stewart's Shops website reports that it has $1.5 billion in annual sales, owns all of its real estate outright and is debt-free. Stewart's makes a $9 million dollar contribution to an employee profit sharing plan yearly. The company states that it donates $2.5 million to charity annually and the Stewart family foundations contribute $5 million.
Stewart's began in 1917 with the partnership of Charles V. and Percy W. Dake who bought the Dake family dairy farm in Middle Grove, NY. In 1921 they began making butter and ice cream along with selling milk. Their ice cream was called Dake's Delicious Ice Cream. By the 1930's they had various businesses including a soda bottling plant in Ballston Spa. In 1935 New York required all milk to be pasteurized and in 1938 the Dake brothers began the Saratoga Dairy on Franklin Street in Saratoga Springs.
The name Stewart comes from the 1945 purchase of a small dairy and ice cream business in Ballston Spa -- the Stewart Ice Cream Plant on Route 50 became the very first Stewart's Ice Cream Shop. Other shops quickly followed in Saratoga Springs, South Glens Falls, and Latham. In 1948, Stewart's became the first to offer ice cream in a folding paper carton, and the ½ gallon package is still in use today.
The Dakes continue to operate Stewart's Shops, with Gary Dake as President and his father, Bill, Chairman of the Board.