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Gatsas: Arthur T. Demoulas should be running Market Basket

July 17. 2014 1:14PM

MANCHESTER — The mayor of the state's largest city, who considers the downtown Market Basket one of his biggest redevelopment successes, said Thursday he wants Arthur T. Demoulas back as the company's leader.

"No question," Gatsas told a reporter. "My relationship with Arthur T. is much closer than the other one.

"I certainly believe he should be in charge,” he said.

In 2011, Market Basket opened a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot supermarket on Elm Street at the site of a closed Rockwell Automation factory. When Gatsas announced that Market Basket was coming, the mayor said it was the most frequent request he'd get from one key constituent, his mother.

In his last election, Gatsas' opponent sneered that a Market Basket was the best he could do. But his supporters said a supermarket is key to downtown development. The location has proved successful; within two years Shaw's and Stop & Shop closed its supermarkets in Manchester.

Gastas said he had several conversations with Arthur T. before the store opened in Manchester. He called Demoulas, a fellow Greek, an acquaintance.

Gatsas said he did not know him before he was elected mayor.

The mayor said he's impressed with the direct relationship that Arthur T. has with his employees, and with the success of the company.

"I think he's done a good job and created an awful lot of value," Gatsas said.

Gatsas was a small businessman when he and his brother launched Staffing Network, which handled human resources tasks such as payroll, workers compensation and insurance for small business.

The brothers sold the company for $40 million in 1997. He is in his third term as mayor.

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