Market Basket customers gather in Portsmouth to support workers
Witkop’s daughter, Greenland resident Brooke Conlin, said she helped organize the local show of support for ousted Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas after a Facebook conversation with a friend, Kerrie Winsor of Greenland, who also held a sign outside the Portsmouth store Monday.
“It’s a dying breed — it’s the last kind of neighborhood store where it’s all people you know,” she said. “When this is gone, we’re living in a Walmart world.”
Conlin, a mother of 6- and 9-year-old daughters, said she shops several times a week at the store on Route 1, or Lafayette Road, and always checks out in Aisle 1 so she can chat with a particular cashier.
Assistant manager Mike Desmond spoke only briefly with the media Monday after stepping outside the store to talk with supporters. He said the store’s inventory was noticeably low after several days of walkouts by Market Basket warehouse staff and truck drivers who supported Demoulas, whom the company’s board of directors fired last month.
Desmond was hesitant to say much else, calling the ongoing unrest an “uncomfortable” situation.
At least eight Market Basket executives were fired Sunday, including Mike Kettenbach, deli buyer at the chain’s Tewksbury, Mass., headquarters. Demoulas is Kettenbach’s uncle. Demoulas was fired after years of family infighting that resulted in his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, taking control of the board of directors.
In one produce bin, a printed notice asked customers to email new Market Basket CEOs Felicia Thornton and James Gooch, and board members, “telling them that you support us and will shop accordingly.” The last three words were underlined.