SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

July 18, 2013

Our view: The battle for Market Basket

It may be among the unlikeliest of battles. A grocery-chain family takes its internal feud public, and the public jumps in with both feet.

There’s a family fight playing out now that consumers across Massachusetts and New Hampshire believe they have a real stake in.

The outcome of the Demoulas family battle, which pits cousin against cousin, could have an effect on consumer spending throughout the 71-store Market Basket chain.

The chain’s board of directors was expected to vote today on whether to replace CEO Arthur T. Demoulas with his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.

Ordinarily, family in-fighting is no concern of ordinary citizens. But Market Basket customers are a loyal bunch. And they’re loyal for one primary reason: low prices.

Threaten people’s pocketbooks and their ears perk up.

There’s been bad blood within the family for decades, but the chain has continued to grow.

And with that growth have come new, larger stores and a swelling consumer base loyal to the brand.

Add in longtime employees who fear what changes may come under a new CEO and you have a very public fight. An online petition to “Save Market Basket” had nearly 40,000 signatures Tuesday afternoon. Store workers and others have stationed themselves outside the grocery stores this week to collect more signatures to present to the directors in advance of their vote.

Some employees, including Alex Butler, who works at the Danvers store, have stepped up to speak, presumably at some employment risk should the directors opt to replace one cousin with the other.

But, Butler said this week, “There are a lot of good people working for this company. And they’ve really taken care of me.”

Managers and employees took out full-page ads yesterday in The Salem News and sister papers supporting Arthur T. Demoulas and pleading with the Board of Directors: “Do not jeopardize our future.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion

AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate
Helium