NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — After weeks of picketing, boycotting, no grocery deliveries to the shelves and closed-door negotiations, Arthur T. Demoulas is on the way to being in charge again at the Market Basket supermarket chain, with a deal to buy a majority holding for $1.5 billion.
Thursday morning, shoppers and workers at the New Bedford store on Sawyer Street were out in force, happy for the deal.
“When the boycott started, I stopped shopping here,” said customer Phil Hamel.
The doors to the stores didn’t quite close, but many stores practically turned into ghost towns — few customers, workers out on picket lines, and little merchandise because deliveries stopped, refused by drivers. Millions of dollars in revenue was lost.
Now, the stores are back up and running with full staffs.
Demoulas was ousted in June by a board of directors controlled by his cousin and other family members. It sent the Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire chain into a tailspin of turmoil for six weeks. Workers expressed devotion and loyalty to Arthur T., as they called him.
“It has been so tough,” said employee Thomas Dupuis Thursday morning. “Five weeks, no paycheck. My wife has been the only one bringing home a paycheck. She’s a part-time hairdresser. We have two small kids at home.
“But it’s all been worth it. It’s all been worth it,” Dupuis said.
“When I saw this morning that they were reopened, I had some time, and I came down and bought some stuff that I probably didn’t need!” said Hamel. “I could’ve went a little longer without!… But I just really wanted to show the people here in the New Bedford store that people really do support them here.
“And we’re glad they’re back to work.”
The purchase is expected to be complete within several months.