After enjoying a re-conquering hero's welcome at Market Basket headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, ousted-CEO turned owner-designate Arthur T. Demoulas now faces the management challenge of a lifetime: Re-stock and relaunch a 71-store chain that was selling on average over $12 million a day worth of groceries before a month of protest, boycotts, and chaos.
"We'll get to work. We'll have lots of fun," Demoulas told hundreds of cheering workers barely 12 hours after shareholders and directors of the company agreed to a deal for his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas's, wing of the family to sell its 50.5 percent stake to Arthur T. "We're going to take a couple of weeks, get the stores back up and running -- hopefully, less than that -- and welcome everybody back, and we can't wait to see them all."
Employees who have spent much of the last month picketing and urging shoppers to boycott in protest of Arthur T. Demoulas's replacement by Jim Gooch and Felicia Thornton said they're fired up to take on the challenge.
"I don't think it's going to be that big of a challenge, and I think everybody's so excited and gung ho," said Steve Leonard, an 18-year company veteran and forklift operator in its Lawrence distribution center. "We're giving it all the best we can. Whatever it takes, that's what we're going to do."
Marc Trottier of Hudson, New Hampshire, who also works at the Lawrence warehouse, said, "With our crew, I don't think it's going to be that much of a challenge. Not really. The only challenge it's going to be is the customer is going to have to have a little bit of patience. Just a little bit. I see it basically coming back together within three days."