“Market Basket” CEO, A Demoulas, Ousted Over The 4% Cash Back? Wow!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.… .. ... .. .
by Anura Guruge

Click to access WMUR coverage.

Click to access WMUR coverage.

Wasn’t sure how to react when I read this story on WMUR early (i.e., 12:30 am) this morning — whether I should laugh, be sad, be upset or do all.

I am a huge fan of Market Basket. It is a family joke that I am pathologically incapable of going to or through Concord WITHOUT stopping at Market Basket. As it happened we had been at Market Basket both Sunday and Monday of this week — Sunday the one in Portsmouth when we were coming back from Strawbery Banke and on Monday, Concord, because we were driving through. We typically try to do two ‘BIG” shops at Market Basket a month. Though we go to Concord the most, I actually like the ones in Tilton and Portsmouth better — just a question of distance. I don’t like the one in Rochester and have not been to it in over 5 years. [I have heard that it has been refurbished and might be better than what it used to be.]

I like the prices at Market Basket, which are always competitive, I like their prepared food and I was amused by their 4% — especially how they highlight what you saved on each shop on your bill with a yellow highlighter. 4% is 4%. Since I easily spend at least $400/month at Market Basket that is $16/month. That pays for 10 days of red wine.

So, yes I am distressed that they would fire the CEO about the 4% — especially since, I assume, that the Board must have given him approval to institute the 4% off for ‘this year’ (till December yy, 2014, I think).

“Demoulas” and I go back a long time — 28 years. I came to New England, in September 1986, to work for Wang, in Lowell. Lowell was the spiritual epicenter of Demoulas Supermarkets at the time. I actually ended up marrying into, what they call in Lowell, a “Demoulas family” — no, no, no, not part of the Demoulas family, but a family where nearly everyone, at some point, had worked in a Demoulas store. My ex-wife’s uncle, ‘Norman’, from what I recall, was “like the #4 employee” hired by the original Demoulas brothers when they took over the first Lowell store. The rest really was history. He stayed with them for all his working life and did very well thanks to the Brothers — and only ever had the BEST to say about them. Yes, he was a manager for over 20 years and his son followed him into management. Thanks to him nearly all of his nephews and nieces had, at some point, worked for Demoulas.

Yes, I remember when all the Demoulas stores in MA and NH had a “Yum Yum” store next to them. Yes, I knew of the legal battles, the disputes and the family feud though I hadn’t paid much attention to it because my connections with Lowell kind of ended around 1998.

So, I was not happy to read what I did read this morning. It is a shame. I just hope that they keep the ‘boat’ on a fairly even keel. I like Market Basket — and the 4% sure helped us.