By: Tom Duggan – September, 2014
It was like a drama from a Hollywood movie. The “good” Arthur T. Demoulas vs. the “evil” Arthur S. Demoulas is how the scenario played in the news and on social media. The evil cousin, consumed with greed, profit, and the bottom line tries to take over a supermarket chain, while the good cousin was fighting for lower prices for his customers and better benefits for his employees.
When the “good” cousin Artie “T” was fired by the board, workers began to protest but more importantly the customers of DeMoulas-Market Baskets began to boycott the store. Days dragged into weeks as empty stores with empty shelves made everyone question the future of our favorite “More for Your Dollar”, family supermarket.
Why did the workers and the customers take such a bold stand for Artie “T” and boycott his dismissal?
Talking to the protesters every day it became clear on day one that Arthur T. Demoulas put his workers and his customers first. Employees happily recounted how Artie “T” had helped them during the death of a family member, showing up at their homes with baby formula after the birth of a baby, and donating money and or food to workers who were going through tough times.
The stories were so numerous it would take all 40 pages of this newspaper to recount even half of them.
As a small business owner myself, I was in awe at the way Artie “T” treated his employees but I was even more in awe, in the selfish narcissistic culture we live in today, that the employees and customers actually recognized and appreciated what Artie “T” had done for all of them and what he truly represented to the entire community.
It takes a special person to evoke that kind of selfless loyalty among an American population more consumed with Brittany Spears, weekend partying, their cell phones and MTV reality shows.
But somehow Artie “T” pulled it off. He not only had the full support of his employees and his customers, but also was able to make a huge personal sacrifice to purchase the entire Market Basket Supermarket chain from the “evil” Artie “S” and within 24 hours of his announcement, the workers and the customers were back.
We can all learn a lesson from this saga over Market Basket.
Despite what the media promotes every day on TV and in movies, being a cold, greedy businessman who only cares about profit and bottom line, does not make one successful. Having the respect and love of the people you employ and the customers you service does.
We wish there were more Artie T’s out there running major corporations and small businesses. As someone who covered this story from beginning to end, I can tell you that the new saying here at The Valley Patriot Corporate Office is “How would Artie “T” handle this” any time a tough situation arises.
Artie “T” not only inspired his customers and his employees but he is now an inspiration to all of us to “put people first” and bottom line second.
That’s why at next year’s Valley Patriot Annual BASH! (March 20th), we plan on giving out our very first ever “Artie T Demoulas College Scholarship” to an employee or former employee of Market Basket, among the other scholarships and awards we give away at our yearly celebration.
We also encourage other businesses to do the same, so that future generations will never forget how Artie T saved his employees jobs, the supermarket chain, and made personal sacrifices every single day to make that happen.
While we hardly expect a man as busy as Artie “T” to be reading our little monthly newspaper, it is our hope that the employees and the customers of Market Basket will pass the word along that we at The Valley Patriot recognize his efforts and appreciate all he has done. We are going to do everything possible to follow in his footsteps to contribute to the community the way he has for so many years.
Thank you Artie “T” and thank you to the workers, customers and food vendors for showing the rest of the country what caring for others is really all about.
Thank you as well to all the people behind the scenes who helped the cause of having Artie “T” restored as CEO, including but not limited to, State Senator Barry Finegold, State Rep. Diana DiZoglio, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, Lowell Mayor Rodney Elliott, State Senator Katy Ives, State Rep. Marcos Devers, Congressman Niki Tsongas, and the dozens of local city councilors, selectmen and state officials who saw a good man being treated badly and stood up for what was right.
You are all an inspiration to humanity. The efforts and accomplishments you undertook to make this happen will not be forgotten for a long time.
Now let’s take this lesson of Arthur T. Demoulas and pay it forward!
Let’s make Artie “T” proud!