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Local Market Baskets still missing deliveries, customers express support for employees

A display case at Market Basket in Warner is virtually empty yesterday.
(JANA FORD / Monitor staff)

A display case at Market Basket in Warner is virtually empty yesterday. (JANA FORD / Monitor staff)

Market Baskets in and around Concord continue to report missed deliveries and depleted stock as a result of company-wide turmoil following the May firing of former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

Managers said produce, meat and dairy stock was most affected by the missed deliveries, and at the Storrs Street location in Concord, the fresh produce section had displays of napkins and firewood to fill the shelves. Candy was moved to the fill the produce section as well, and the salad section had only salad mix displayed.

Robin Jarvis, a manager at the Storrs Street location, said the store received a delivery about 6:30 p.m. Friday but it was only two pallets of dairy products instead of the usual 22 pallets. No meat, no produce and no deli products were delivered, he said.

“We don’t foresee another delivery before Tuesday at the earliest, because that would be when the next truck from the warehouse could get here, but even that isn’t guaranteed,” he said. “We’re used to deliveries every day.”

Signs posted around the Storrs Street location read: “We apologize for our appearance. We are receiving limited deliveries. We will have Arthur T. Demoulas back as quickly as possible so that we can return to being the company you expect us to be.”

A manager at the Fort Eddy Road location also said he did not anticipate receiving the regular Monday deliveries, and it was mostly produce that was affected. The store received one delivery of produce, dairy and meat but it was a “very small fraction” of what would ordinarily be delivered, he said.

Termination threatened

Jarvis said store managers received an email from new co-CEO Felicia Thornton early yesterday morning that said Dean Joyce, the former head of warehouse distribution, had been fired. While the email did not give a reason, he said he believed it was because of the missed deliveries. A screen shot of that email has been posted on the Facebook page “Save Market Basket,” which posts updates about the employees’ ongoing protests.

“The new CEOs have threatened to terminate employees, but (yesterday) morning they finally did it,” Jarvis said. “There has never been anything like the way they’re doing this. Baggers, cashiers, everyone – and there’s over 25,000 of us – are affected by this.”

Nancy David, a manager at the Warner Market Basket, said the store hadn’t had a delivery since Thursday and that produce and seafood was most affected.

“To the best of my knowledge, there are no deliveries being made tomorrow either,” she said. “Customers are still coming in, and they’ve been tremendously supportive of what’s going on. They realize that if this doesn’t work, if they don’t reinstate our former CEO Arthur T., we will be no different than Shaws or Hannaford price wise. And the employees would lose benefits. The customers are worried for themselves, and they’re worried for us.”

Jennifer Allen, a customer at the Storrs Street Market Basket, said the lack of produce made her change her menu plans, but she still supported the employee’s protest efforts.

“We support Market Basket, so it’s worth changing the menu,” she said. “If Arthur T. doesn’t come back, we might move to a different grocery store though. I think it’s great that the employees are standing up for it and trying to do something about it.”

Lynn Karam, another customer, said her shopping suffered from the lack of produce but she agreed with the employees.

Looking elsewhere?

“I was looking for fresh green beans and lettuce and things like that, but since this is my first encounter with the issue, the next time I go shopping I’ll probably come here. But if it’s not available I might have to try elsewhere,” she said. “If (Arthur T. Demoulas) was good for the company, then why let him go? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, but clearly something is broken now if they’re missing deliveries.”

Anita Demos said she signed the petition to bring back Arthur T. while she shopped at Storrs Street, although her grocery list wasn’t affected by the missing items.

“They’re doing a good job keeping the shelves stocked even when they’re having a bad time, and there are signs everywhere explaining why,” she said. “I think it’s a good cause they’re fighting for. I’m a loyal Market Basket shopper.”

Mike Bourgault, another customer, said he knew about the missed deliveries but still came because the location is most convenient and he didn’t need any of the affected fresh food items.

“But if I was looking for salad stuff, I wouldn’t have come here,” he said. “I like Market Basket; that’s where I generally shop, but for vegetables and stuff I would have gone to Hannaford.”

Managers at the Concord Hannaford and Shaw’s locations declined comment on whether the Market Basket turmoil was affecting their business or the traffic in their stores.

Jarvis said employees were having another rally today at the corporate headquarters in Tewksbury, Mass., but he didn’t know whether Concord managers planned to attend.

“The new CEOs is supposed to be having a telephonic meeting with employees, which makes me wonder if they’re even in the state,” he said. “That tells me they can’t even make the effort to come here when the company is falling apart.”

(Ann Marie Jakubowski can be reached at 369-3302 or ajakubowski@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @AMJakubowski.)

One news report stated that Market Basket is attempting to resume deliveries by hiring new warehouse people and truck drivers. What a mess that will be until these new hires figure it out. The other thing is: OSHA requires lift truck operators to be trained on site, with the equipment they will be operating, under the conditions they will be working with. Grabbing a bunch of goons from rent-a-dummy and putting them to work will not work and is not legal. Legally, newly hired truck drivers must have drug screening and must meet all sorts of requirements BEFORE being put to work. This process takes about a week. Hey OSHA and Dept of $afety! Go get 'em!

Well it finally has happened - the evil and greedy side of Corporate America now has a face, Arthur S Demoulas. He fought long and hard for right to use excess company funds to pay higher dividends to shareholders. His other pet peeve was he wanted to increase company debt so more funds could be distributed to family members/share holders. Run up debt to pay dividends, must be a LIDV eh, PBR.

Demoulas Market Basket is able to compete with Walmart price-wise because they pay cash for their goods. That's how a small chain can compete with the big guys. To that end, Arthur S Demoulas, who recently won the boardroom fight to takeover this family-owned grocery chain, has brought in two new CEOs, one the former CEO of Radio Shack. However, new management wants a one-time dividend of $300 million for shareholders and to change the business model to one that is more typical of the supermarket industry, relying more on credit and using less cash. Using credit, Demoulas would no longer have the same price structure and their goods would be more expensive. Under new management, the Market Basket we all know and love will be gone forever. Think I'm kidding? Take a look how Radio Shack is doing...

Those 2 bozos pretty much destroyed 2 companies, Radio Shack and Albertsons. Wait & see. It's only a matter of time before we read about the sale of Market Basket to some private equity predator and the subsequent breakup. Who d'ya think it will be? Cerberus? Bain? Whoever - that's the real payoff they're looking for.

I have a prediction. Arthur S wants out of the business and these two nimrods were hired to break it up. BOTH of them were fired from their last positions. If I walked in their shoes I would settle this once and or all because it will only worsen their already poor reputations.

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