SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Stewart's Shops is helping ease the economic burden of dairy farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The dairy farmers that supply Stewart's Shops are continuing to produce milk and ice cream without having to dispose of unused milk as waste, reported the Times Union. Unlike many other milk suppliers that supply milk to restaurants and schools, these 25 farmers work exclusively with the convenience store retailer.
To help ease the burden that its dairy farmers still face, Stewart's has increased competitive premiums from 10 cents per hundredweight to 60 cents per hundredweight and decreased its hauling charge by five cents per hundredweight.
On the consumer-facing side, the retailer is discounting the price of all gallons and half-gallons of milk by 10 cents.
"We happened to be in the right position at the right time with our packaged dairy products and our nearly 100 years of experience in the dairy industry," stated Stewart's Shops President Gary Dake. "Our fresh and local dairy products continue to experience more demand and we are pleased that we are in a position to offer savings to our customers and relief to our dairy producers during these uncertain times."
The company has seen its dairy sales grow nearly 20 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic prompted widespread stay-at-home orders in early March.
"As families have changed how they've moved, Stewart's has always been a great place for them to get their dairy products," said Chris Koval, owner of Koval Brothers, a third-generation dairy farm and longtime Stewart's supplier. "We haven't had a problem. They're selling all of our milk and they're supporting us during a really unprecedented time in the dairy industry. We're unsure minute-to-minute what's going to happen, but what I get to know is that Stewart's is going to pay us for all our milk."
Saratoga Springs-based Stewart's Shops operates more than 335 locations across upstate New York and southern Vermont.