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With Market Basket back in business, employees are all smiles

  • Front end manager Jason Desjardins writes a welcome message to customers on the blackboard at the front of the Market Basket store on Storrs Street in Concord yesterday. Desjardins said he stayed up until 12:30 a.m. the night before, watching the news about Market Basket. "(We're) in the mode of showing people how quickly we can get this company back together," he said yesterday.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

    Front end manager Jason Desjardins writes a welcome message to customers on the blackboard at the front of the Market Basket store on Storrs Street in Concord yesterday. Desjardins said he stayed up until 12:30 a.m. the night before, watching the news about Market Basket. "(We're) in the mode of showing people how quickly we can get this company back together," he said yesterday.

    (SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

  • Dairy manager Aimee Menard stocked milk at the Market Basket on Fort Eddy Road in Concord yesterday morning.<br/><br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

    Dairy manager Aimee Menard stocked milk at the Market Basket on Fort Eddy Road in Concord yesterday morning.


    (SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

  • Mike Ciaraldi and Andy Pierce at the Market Basket in Warner on Thursday.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

    Mike Ciaraldi and Andy Pierce at the Market Basket in Warner on Thursday.

    (SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

  • Front end manager Jason Desjardins writes a welcome message to customers on the blackboard at the front of the Market Basket store on Storrs Street in Concord yesterday. Desjardins said he stayed up until 12:30 a.m. the night before, watching the news about Market Basket. "(We're) in the mode of showing people how quickly we can get this company back together," he said yesterday.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)
  • Dairy manager Aimee Menard stocked milk at the Market Basket on Fort Eddy Road in Concord yesterday morning.<br/><br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)
  • Mike Ciaraldi and Andy Pierce at the Market Basket in Warner on Thursday.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

Enxhi Shtino could have been at the beach yesterday.

But she was at work, and smiling all the brighter because it had been almost a month since she last donned her blue smock and stood behind a cash register at Market Basket.

“Being here is better than the beach,” she said. “Everyone is smiling, everyone is so happy. This is where I want to be.”

Market Basket was the place to be yesterday, as the stores buzzed to life after a six-week standoff and customer boycott. Employees claimed the new leaders were poised to ransack the company for quick profits by driving up the chain’s low prices and driving down wages and benefits.

They were calling for former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas to return to his post with full authority, which he did yesterday morning.

Word spread to staff Wednesday night through a series of text messages and phone calls, from corporate headquarters to store managers, down the line to cashiers.

Last week, executives from the company headquarters began telling store managers a deal could be imminent. Managers made two schedules: One bare-bones boycott staff, and one contingency schedule of almost full staffing levels.

During the standoff, business fell to about 10 percent of normal operations. Thousands of part-time employees were out of work for three weeks and more than 1,500 Market Basket employees filed claims with New Hampshire Employment Security.

Getting the call to return yesterday “was like a dream come true,” said Carlene McIntyre of Manchester, a cashier at the Storrs Street store.

“We’re as happy to see the customers as they are to see us.”

Customers waved to staff, shook their hands and said congratulations. One woman stopped a manager at the Warner location to say she didn’t need any groceries, but came in to buy a pack of gum and show her support for the company.

Hollee Wells of Boscawen had done her shopping elsewhere for six weeks, and yesterday finally returned to Market Basket.

“If the employees stood by their CEO that much, the customers had to respect that,” she said.

She bought almost everything she needed yesterday at the Market Basket in Warner, finding the shelves stocked except in the produce and meat sections.

“I’ll make another stop somewhere to make do, so I can give (Market Basket) my money this week. I’ve been waiting weeks to do that again,” she said.

Produce and meat deliveries were starting yesterday and will continue through the weekend. Local managers expected to have at least some fresh inventory before the start of the holiday weekend, they said.

Brian Boucher and Robin Jarvis, managers at the Storrs Street location, said they’ve been waiting weeks to put on their red Market Basket jackets and get back to running a busy downtown grocery store.

“When this all started, I took (my jacket) off, hung it up and made a mental vow not to wear it again until this day,” Boucher said.

Putting the jacket back on, knowing the CEO he trusted was back in charge, was the third-most exciting event in his life, Jarvis said.

“It’s better than anything except the day I got married and the birth of my children,” he said.

Despite rushing around the store to fill shelves and unload deliveries and greet customers with a handshake and a “Thank you,” he wasn’t getting tired.

“The feelings are only escalating as the day goes on,” he said.

At a rally yesterday morning at the company’s Massachusetts headquarters, Arthur T. addressed a crowd of supporters with a message of gratitude and unity.

“Words cannot express how much I appreciate each and every one of you,” he said.

“You have demonstrated that in this organization, here at Market Basket, everyone is special. . . . Whether you’re a sacker or a cashier or a grocery clerk or a truck driver or a warehouse selector, a store manager, a supervisor, a customer, a vendor or a CEO, we are all equal. By working together, and only together, do we succeed.”

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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Legacy Comments8

For those of you waiting for the movie, Robert DeNiro will play Arthur T; George Clooney, Arthur S. Paul Shaffer (David Letterman's bandleader) will do all stunt work for both Arthurs. They're still looking for someone to play Brian Boucher, so get down there and audition, Mayor Bouley!

The company hemorrhaged 10 mil a day while employees were on sabbatical. It is not likely that MB will stay in business without price hikes. Nice work, as the company will fold because of your tantrum. I guess you really showed the man.

LF, looking forward to your mea culpa when you are wrong again.

Laurie, this post demonstrates once and for all how flawed your (doesn't qualify as) logic is. If the associates had played along with the incompetents that the board had installed, MB would be on its way to a buyout and probably a breakup. Tantrum? How about the "I want mine" tantrum from Arthur S? As to the $10 Mil a day - those losses only slightly exceed the cash dividend that the Arthur S-dominated shareholders voted themselves. Ya think that money might be handy in reviving the company, huh?

Congratulations to all Market Basket employees. I will see you soon!!! Glad to see that the two losers who took over as co-CEO's will be out soon. They can go ruin another company somewhere far away from New England.

we are on the same page for a change!

Probably not for the same reasons. For one, the CEO was being supported by the team in the stores because he believed in catching people doing things right and treating them right. I have no sympathy for unionized employees who keep trying to bleed companies and do less and less.

We just got home from the Fort Eddy Road Market Basket. They're still getting restocked, but we found everything we needed. Several employees thanked us for our support and welcomed us back. We wish them well

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