HUDSON — Retired Teamster Don Gendron doesn’t work for Market Basket, but he stood by the entrance to the Hudson store in solidarity Wednesday afternoon, reminding shoppers that there are plenty of other places to get more for their dollar.
Gendron, who grew up in Lowell, Mass., said his family has been loyal Market Basket shoppers for as long as he can remember, but they will all be buying groceries elsewhere until the current situation is resolved.
“This is the only way we can help these guys,” he said loudly in the direction of a sole shopper as he entered the store. “Why don’t you go to the Walmart down the street, man? The only way to put a stop to this is for you to stop shopping here,” Gendron called after the cart-pusher, who made his way through the automatic doors despite his protests.
Another would-be shopper paused to sign the employees’ petition, then headed in the other direction after deciding to make his ice cream purchase at the pharmacy next door.
Brittanie Camirand, a two-year employee of the Hudson store, sat behind a table set up nearby, collecting signatures in support of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
“I hope this is resolved soon,” she said. “It’s putting a lot of pressure not only on us, but on our customers. It’s hard on them too.”
Inside the doors, the usually bustling store was eerily silent, with no music playing over the intercom.
Lights were dimmed over an emptied seafood case; a nearby meat display was completely void of sirloins and steak tips.
Half-empty produce bins were overflowing with overripe bananas and not much else, while warming trays normally filled with rotisserie chickens and submarine sandwiches were turned off and emptied.
Assistant Manager David Slater said quite a few customers reconsidered entering the store after chatting with some of the 30 or so employees waving signs at commuters on Lowell Road.
“We’re getting down to the bare bones,” Slater said. “But we’ll be staying open until the main office tells us otherwise.”
Many of the demonstrators came by on their day off, some of them clutching the hands of toddlers or their dogs’ leashes. A large, sandwich-board sign reminded passersby of the importance of attending Friday’s rally in Tewksbury, Mass.
Among the employees outside demonstrating was Luke Demers, a bagger who has been working for Market Basket for nearly 11 years.
Demers said he was happy to wave a sign in support of “Artie T” and had been standing outside in the summer heat for about four hours on Wednesday, but had been unable to do so on Tuesday as he was scheduled to work.
“We didn’t have very many customers yesterday,” he added.