Family Feud Delays Opening of Revere’s Market Basket Store

September 11, 2013
By

The aisles are shiny with wax, the shelves are ready for canned goods, and the cash registers are all set to be turned on, but the doors of the newly completed and long-anticipated Market Basket in the Northgate Mall aren’t likely to open anytime soon.

Market Basket attorneys sent a letter this week to Mayor Dan Rizzo and the City Council informing them that the ongoing internal strife within the company’s leadership and Board of Directors has caused them to delay the opening of the new Revere store. The letter apparently suggested that the opening – which was slated for mid-September – would come in early 2014 after the holidays.

A source close to the company told the Journal that all real estate decisions have been taken over by the Board. That source said this and all projects currently under construction are in jeopardy given the way the Board has handled matters so far.

All of that will come to a head this Thursday at a non-public meeting of the Board and the company’s dueling leadership in Andover.

The situation has particularly frustrated potential shoppers and City leaders who were looking forward to the recently completed store. Inside, everything seems to be ready for operation.

Cash registers are in place.

The deli counter is finished.

The shelves are standing and the aisles are marked with numbers and directories.

On the City side, all of the electrical, building and plumbing inspections are nearly completed – with an occupancy permit likely only days away from being granted.

However, there are no workers inside, no product on the shelves and no inventory in the storeroom.

“Obviously we’re disappointed, but we recognize that the issues surrounding the delay in Market Basket opening are clearly beyond our control,” said Mayor Rizzo on Tuesday. “I’m confident they will resolve their internal issues, and when they do, Market Basket will become a great addition to our commercial tax base and a great alternative for our residents to do their weekly grocery shopping.”

Ward 6 Councillor Charlie Patch, who represents the area, said the delay was a big disappointment for his constituents. He said the store is so anticipated he gets more calls about the Market Basket opening at Northgate than he does about the casino proposal at Suffolk Downs.

“I just hope they come to their senses and settle this because I have gotten more calls on this than I’ve gotten about anything else in the past six years,” he said. “People are so happy it’s opening. Every day people call and want to know when it’s opening. They heard July and then August and now September. Now that they’re ready to go, the store isn’t opening. I only hope they can settle the problems, smarten up and do what’s right for the people of Revere.”

Another store under construction in Waltham has also been delayed, and it had an expected opening of next spring.

The let-down for Revere food shoppers comes via a very public battle between rivaling factions of the Demoulas family and the company’s Board of Directors – a fight that has gone on for many years, but resurfaced publicly earlier this summer.

It is a fight that features the two ‘King Arthurs’ of the company.

Current CEO Arthur T. Demoulas has taken an approach to running the company that his father, ‘Mike’ Demoulas, took, which entails emphasizing lower prices, generous employee profit sharing programs, and limiting debt/expansion to maintain some of the highest profit margins in the supermarket industry.

His approach has been criticized and attacked by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas – whose father was also a co-founder of the company.

Arthur S. has accused his cousin, and the company CEO, of making improper business deals with relatives and of being too conservative in the company’s expansion. There has also been discussion surrounding employee profit sharing versus dividends to Board members.

Employees vehemently support Arthur T. and are very worried about the profit sharing plan that doled out some $43 million last year – a key element in the company’s ability to retain employees. A petition from employees and shoppers has gathered thousands of signatures this summer, with a recent online push for more signatures in support of Arthur T.

The company has always been very close to the vest in its operations and it’s sharing of public information – not even having a website and hesitant to give out e-mail addresses or phone numbers of company officials. However, late last week the Tewksbury-based company CEO, Arthur T., engaged in an interview with the Lowell Sun and stated that the company would forever change if he were removed.

“Not any of them know the culture of this business here,” he told the Sun, and called the Thursday vote “a predetermined assault.”

“I’m concerned for the organization and its people,” he told the Sun. “If they remove me, what kind of message is that to the company?”

On the other hand, those supporting Arthur S. have told the Sun – for the same article – that Board members leaning their way have notable business experience. Their expertise, it is believed, could help re-direct the company.

The Board is made up of seven members and it is believed that Arthur S. has the required number of votes to remove his cousin, Arthur T. However, that has been said before, and the saga will likely drag on longer than any care to believe.

  • Kris

    Sad that this will hold up store opening up along with others. Waltham is ticked also as their whole project is anchored by Market Basket and now is at a stand still.

    I don’t care what Arthur S says and how “Their expertise, it is believed, could help re-direct the company”. Yeah what ‘expertise’? Yeah that same expertise that is driving Shaw’s/Star and Stop & Shop into the ground because stock holders that want to milk the companies for everything its worth. OR expertise that says “Yes let’s take a company who has ZERO debt multimillions in profit and give it some debt and suck all the profit out of it to ‘make it better”? Really is that how it goes folks? If this was the case, maybe I should become a board member, anyone with a half a brain knows that you don’t mess up a good thing by ADDing debt and changing business practices when you’re running a good game so far. Stupid. Makes me wonder where people think this/these are great ideas. Wake up, It’s not working, and has not worked for decades.

    The employees will suffer and the shoppers will suffer. I know, myself, I will go back to Stop & Shop and shop if any changes happen that effect the employees and prices. As will a lot of people. Why can’t this ‘board’ see that they have something good here and not f**k it up.

  • jim

    To bad for the blue collar workers, The new board of Market Basket did not hesitate to get their $250 million payday however they are not paying the bills for new construction projects. Therefore tens of contractors are going to have financial troubles and hundreds of construction workers are out of work.
    WAY TO GO GUYS, YOU KNOW BEST HOW TO RUN THE COMPANY!!!

  • Kris

    You want someone to blame, Blame Arthur S and his greedy board members. He’s been dying to get his mits on Market Basket and drive it into the ground. He just doesn’t care, except how many zeros will be in his bank account when he totally kills off the company.

  • Cindy

    This is not what our CEO wants, but he has figuratively been put in handcuffs… Continue to support Market Basket and it’s employees, as we know our most important asset is our customers. We are fighting for you too! And will continue to fight… We are not giving up!

  • dancer92136

    This is just getting to be too much. Arthur S should just sit back, check is ego a the door, and collect his checks. His cousin has made him a rich man, and if they don’t stop Market Basket as we all know it will be a thing of the past. Arthur T and Arthur T alone is responsible for the money lining Arthur S’s pockets.

  • dancer92136

    I believe Jim is laying blame where it belongs with Arthur S. Time to get the round up the troupes, and send a clear message to the board…patrons and employees want Arthur T. back and empowered.

  • drensber

    The Stop and Shop at Suffolk Downs really needs some competition. I’ve noticed that the lines and service there have gotten unbelievably bad ever since the other supermarkets in town closed. It would be really good if one returned to the Wonderland area too (maybe an Aldi or something?).

  • Bob Smith

    We urge you the citizens of Revere and surrounding communities that will benefit from this Market Basket to check out the FB page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Market-Basket/136649323208808?ref=hl&bookmark_t=page where thousands of associates, customers, vendors and contractors have been active all summer to save Arthur T and the business model that has made Market Basket so successful

  • Colleen Jennings Moore

    Arthur S and the recent board have no intention of keeping Market Basket as the supermarket that communites and employees respect and depend on. They have no sense of responsibiliy to the many people who depend on Market Basket for a paycheck. It is a shame that during a time of economic hardship for many that Arthur S and his “independent board members” show no interest in the economic future of communities or to the the financial future of the many people who depend on Maket Basket for their paycheck. He maybe One of the wealthiest individuals of Boston but he certainly has not earned the respect of MB employees and their many loyal customers. I suppose greed and power is what fuels his ego and money is what fuels his motvation but what fuels his integrity?

  • Kelly

    if Authur T. is so bad for Market Basket why is he and Market Basket make so much money for the family and others?? I think I would want a man like that running my company!! He helps people with low cost of product and helps workers with a good wage and retirement plan next to none. Boy is he bad for Market Basket real bad!!

  • Ray

    When a company is increasing sales and has a great reputation why would they try to wreck there image. Arthur S should look in mirror he is wrecking a great thing he should talk with his priest. What he is doing is just wrong

  • pixreturns
  • Italod

    I feel more convinced and relieved now, as to how Market Basket came to be approved to move into Revere: given this article’s content, it seems they will eventually fit right in with our city’s long tradition of delaying progress due to pretty fighting and years-long, unresolved feuds. Gotta love it. I just think there’s more to this, it doesn’t seem to make sense that the Board overall would postpone potential new profits by shooting itself in the foot to delay the new store’s opening, due to these knuckleheads’ in-fighting. Classic.

  • Italod

    That was just a matter of time happening. All the S&S stores, other chains too, actually, all do the same thing by sending in their best workers and management, when the new stores are all brand-spanking new, spotless, painted and shined up, to impress and attract the customers–then, quietly when nobody’s looking after a short while, it’s back to poor customer service. Plus, it has to be taken into account our city in which this store is located–you won’t find Back Bay, Newport, or Manchester-by-the-Sea-style shoppers and workers here. Sad to hear, I liked going to that one by SD, it seemed to be a jewel oasis of shopping in a town filled mostly with pretty cruddy stores and service.

  • trix

    four of those shareholders (the Arthur T. Demoulas ones) didn’t want any of that $250.00 million

  • Voter123

    Arthur could care less what you post. I was at the Chelsea market yesterday and the prices are way up, produce, MEAT (lousy), and the deli has only a cheap company and high prices. It’s a bait and switch so that family can get Richer. to bad Stop and shop has lazy employees and a better bakery, otherwise now I’ll stick with the later and have a parking space

  • Mike

    I’m going to start shopping at the Super Wal-Mart. I’m tired of hearing about all the greed that this family has. The Hel! with them!

  • JeffersonFuentes

    Are they hiring? I need a job

  • Rick

    This is nothing new. These people have been fighting for more than one generation. The real hit will come when this grocery chain becomes a near monopoly in the region and consumers loose their options. I guess one can never have too much money or power for that matter.
    Get ready.

  • Doris

    Its time to grow up and knock it off ! People need jobs and the community needs a affordable quality grocery store. They need to stop being so selfish and move on.They are all making enough money !

  • Anonymous

    Well when you guys are done fighting, tell us.

  • floopdeedoo

    “redirect the company”

    yeah, that always works out in the interest of the consumer and the employees.

  • gawd314144

    Arthur S.- greedy bastard!

  • Giani

    I hope everything may be resolved. Hopefully you all may open up the place soon. My God be with all and may everything work out to help everyone.

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