Market Basket is the trade name of DeMoulas Super Markets. Today, it has 85 stores in places in the United States including in Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. The company gained a lot of media attention internationally as well because of controversies related to leadership and ownership. Finally in 2014, on August 27 an agreement was made where it was mentioned that 50.5 percent of the companies stake will be sold for USD 1.5 billion to Arthur T. Demoulas.
History of Market Place
Efrosini and Athanasios who were Greek immigrants opened a grocery store in 1917 named Demoulas Market in Lowells neighborhood-Acre. Fresh Lambs were the specialty of their store. This grocery store allowed its customers to buy groceries on credit at the time of the great depression which further led to foreclosure threatenings. The couple’s youngest son, Telemachus aka Mike, left school to help his parents save the business. Eventually, the family together earned enough to get rid of the foreclosure.
George, who was Mike’s elder brother joined the family business too after the second world war. The grocery store attracted a lot of customers, after Acre being loaded with a lot of housing construction. The brothers replaced the then-existing store and opened it in 80 Dummer street which was in Lowells only. The duo brother brought the business from their parents, making the family business reach a new par with an increase in sales figure within a year from USD 2000 to USD 9,00,000. In 15 years the brothers worked hard and open 15 modern supermarket stores.
Mike became the sole owner of the supermarket chain after his brother George passed away from a cardiac arrest in 1971 on 27 June. It was then when Mike started opening different stores with different names as there was a limit to the number of licenses a supermarket could have for wine and beer. These store with different names became a chain of Market Basket and was run by Mike and his Family.
Timeline of Market Basket
Arthur, the son of Telemachus was CEO and president of DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc in 2008. Under his ownership, the companies turnover increased to USD 4 Billion from USD 3 billion and the employees became 25,00 from 14,000 in just a year. At that time, when Arthur’s companies were making profits, the companies competition like Shaw’s and Stop & Shop had to shut down many stores because of a financial crisis. Wegmans was its new competitior. The reason why everyone was so fond of Arthur was he taking care of the companies employees as well as their families, attending every funeral and wedding, remembering their milestones, birthdays, and names. As he always chose people rather than profit, many employees saw him as a fatherly figure. His opponents said that his management style is similar to that of a dictator and he is openly defiant.
The 2014 Controversy
It was in 2014 on June 23, when Arthur T. Demoulas, who was the CEO and president of the market place was fired by the board of directors that led to protests by the customers and employees of the company. There were allegations on him that said he used the companies money for his personal and family use. After Arthur was fired, 6 employees from the higher management resigned as well. The very next day, around 300 employees gathered together outside the Chelsea’s Market Basket outlet for a protest. On 18th July, more than 500 employees and clients protested outside the companies headquarter in Tewksbury and many other locations, demanding to bring Arthur back to the position. Finally, after a 7-week long protest and strike, the board agreed to give Arthur 50.5 percent of the companies stake. This protest was one of a kind, as the employee as they did not do it for an increase in salary or for poor work conditions. They instead did it to save their boss because they were so fond of him.
The Current Scenario of Market Basket
Today, there are 85 outlets of market basket spread around 4 states that include Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine. They are planning to open more stores in different places across the USA. Even today, the company chose people over profits.