It was business as usual for employees of the Manchester Market Basket Monday – at least, as usual as it has been for the past nine days, since the boycott began.
The new normal is a slow trickle of customers through the door, and employees passing the time inside with little to do, taking breaks to join the protest outside, hoisting signs along Elm Street in support of ousted CEO Arthur T. DeMoulas.
Dennis Carpenito, a 38-year employee, was standing with fellow employees, holding a sign that read, “Don’t Come In Until We Win,” and waving at cars honking as they passed, in support of the workers, who say they are determined to continue asking customers to boycott the grocery chain until their “boss,” Arthur T. Demoulas, is reinstated.
“We’re just fighting for what we believe, that’s all, for the cause – to keep our boss,” he said. “We intend on winning, or we’re leaving. That’s it. This is a last-ditch effort.”
Customer Hollie Kraatz was also there holding a sign, along with her sister, Leah Kraatz, in support of the employees.
She said she lobbied for months for Market Basket to come to Manchester before it finally opened in April of 2012. She is visually impaired and her sister has mobility issues, so having the supermarket conveniently located in downtown Manchester has made their lives much easier.
Like most of the store’s loyal customer base, they are driven by discounted prices highlighted the DeMoulas’ slogan, “More for your dollar.”
“It’s hard for us to get very many places, so to have Market Basket be virtually right down the street from our houses – it’s convenient. And so to hear Arthur S. wants to close this down, it’s like, come on, buddy – get over yourself, stop fattening your wallet, get over the greed and let people get back to normal,” Kraatz said.
Inside the store shelves were fairly well stocked, with the exception of meat, produce and baked goods. Carpenito said there’s been one delivery truck in nine days.
The fallout for customers has been finding what they need at other local supermarkets, including Hannaford Brothers, which has two Manchester locations.
Hannaford spokesman Eric Bloom said Monday that Hannaford is working hard to serve customers in light of the Market Basket boycott.
“Our stores are every day working to make sure the products people need and want are there. We meet the demand that’s there and are making sure our shelves are fully stocked,” Bloom said.
DeMoulas has reportedly offered to buy the supermarket chain, worth an estimated $4.6 billion according to this Boston Globe analysis of the Massachusetts-based family owned business.
According to employees at the Manchester store, an “emergency” board meeting was scheduled for Monday night at 6 p.m.
Their hope is that Arthur T. DeMoulas will prevail.
“That’s what we’re hoping for, that he will be our boss again,” Carpenito said.
Carpenito said he knows Arthur T. DeMoulas personally, but hasn’t spoken to him since he was ousted as CEO by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.
“He’s not an outspoken guy,” Carpenito said.