DeMoulas Market Basket

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DeMoulas Supermarkets, Inc
TypePrivately held company
IndustryGrocery
FoundedLowell, Massachusetts, United States (1917 (1917))
Founder(s)
  • Athanasios Demoulas
  • Efrosini Demoulas
HeadquartersTewksbury, Massachusetts, United States
Number of locations71
Area servedNew Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine
Key people
ProductsBakery (not available at all stores), Dairy, Deli, Frozen Foods, Grocery, Meat, Health & Beauty Aids, Produce, Seafood, Snacks, Beer & Wine (NH and Maine stores only), Food service (not available at all stores)
RevenueUS$4 Billion (2012)
Employees18,000 (2011)
ParentDeMoulas Supermarkets, Inc.
 
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DeMoulas Supermarkets, Inc
TypePrivately held company
IndustryGrocery
FoundedLowell, Massachusetts, United States (1917 (1917))
Founder(s)
  • Athanasios Demoulas
  • Efrosini Demoulas
HeadquartersTewksbury, Massachusetts, United States
Number of locations71
Area servedNew Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine
Key people
ProductsBakery (not available at all stores), Dairy, Deli, Frozen Foods, Grocery, Meat, Health & Beauty Aids, Produce, Seafood, Snacks, Beer & Wine (NH and Maine stores only), Food service (not available at all stores)
RevenueUS$4 Billion (2012)
Employees18,000 (2011)
ParentDeMoulas Supermarkets, Inc.

DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc, under the trade name Market Basket, is a growing chain of 71 supermarkets in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine in the United States.[1] Its footprint spans from southern Maine, central New Hampshire to southeastern Massachusetts with headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Market Basket's most recent expansion brought it to Maine in 2013.[2]

History[edit]

In 1916, Greek immigrants Athanasios ("Arthur") and Efrosini Demoulas opened a grocery store in Lowell, Massachusetts, specializing in fresh lamb. In 1954, they sold their store to two of their six children, the brothers Telemachus ("Mike") and George Demoulas. Within 15 years, the two brothers had transformed their parents' "mom and pop"-style store into a more modern supermarket chain consisting of 15 stores.

The last use of the name DeMoulas on a facade was on this former store in Salem, NH.

George Demoulas died of a heart attack in 1971 while vacationing in Greece, making Mike the sole head of the Demoulas supermarket chain. Although each brother had promised to provide for the other's family in the event of his death, a lawsuit filed in 1990 by the heirs of George Demoulas claimed that Mike had defrauded them out of all but 8% of company stock by moving assets into shell companies, such as 'Market Basket Inc.' and 'Seabrook Sales Inc.' and claiming that these were separate companies from DeMoulas itself. The ensuing legal cases threatened to require the sale of the chain, most likely to Royal Ahold's Stop & Shop. In 1994, Judge Maria Lopez ruled that Mike Demoulas had defrauded George's family out of nearly $500 million, transferring 51% of Demoulas' stock to George's family.[3]

Mike Demoulas died in 2003 at age 82 and is buried in Andover, Massachusetts.

In March 2006, Boston magazine rated the late George's son, Arthur S. Demoulas, as Boston's eighth wealthiest person, with assets of $1.6 billion.[4] He was not listed in the Forbes 2008 edition. In early 2008, the board of directors elected Mike's son Arthur T. Demoulas president of the corporation.

A separate company controlled by the Mike Demoulas side of the family operated the Lee Drug chain from 1983 until it was sold to Walgreens in 1990; these stores were usually located in the same shopping center as a DeMoulas Market Basket. The chain's corporate relationship to Mike Demoulas' family interest in DeMoulas Market Basket was cited in the 1990s litigation.

In 2013, there was some controversy regarding the leadership of Arthur T. Demoulas from the board of directors. However, in July 2013, he was kept in office as president.[5][6]

The Family Feud[edit]

DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc, began in 1917 when Arthur DeMoulas and his wife, Ephrosine opened a grocery store in Lowell Massachusetts. Approximately 40 years later he sold that store to his sons, George and Telemachus. within 10 years the brothers had opened five additional stores. in 1964,the brothers executed wills with their respective wives, promising each other that if either one died the surviving brother would take care of their spouse.[7]

In 1971, George died suddenly. Telemachus assured George's widow that he would keep the promise he had made to George. Financial records show that over the next 16 years, Telemachus slowly transferred stock out of ownership of George's older son, Evan without Evan's knowledge or permission. the information came to light because of a discrepancy in an income tax return filed by Telemachus on behalf of Evan which showed Evan living in New Hampshire, when he actually lived in Dracut Massachusetts. The resulting imbalance and ownership ended up with one of George's sons only owning 8% and the remaining 92% in the hands of Telemachus and his family. The ensuing trial for fraud was started in 1994. Followed by several more rounds of legal battles in court.

As of September 2013 the legal struggles continue. The parties currently await the decision of a judge on whether or not to block a $300 million stockholder payout from an existing $500 million cash balance in the company's reserves.[8] The ongoing feud has slowed construction of the new Waltham, Massachusetts store and has canceled the September 2013 opening of the new Revere, Massachusetts store, which, though complete, is still vacant as of February 2014.[9]

Market Basket today[edit]

Typical Market Basket in Portsmouth, NH
The interior of the largest Market Basket in Chelsea, MA

Market Basket's main competitors include Hannaford, Shaw's, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market, and smaller, local markets, such as Butcher Boy and McKinnon's Market. Though the chain is often referred to as DeMoulas, all of its stores now operate under the Market Basket name (the last of which, No. 6 in Salem, New Hampshire, changed in spring 2010). Market Basket supermarkets are usually in shopping centers with other stores, often properties owned by the company through its real-estate arm, Retail Management and Development, Inc. Only three stores in the chain's history have ever closed: Store 38, in Plaistow, New Hampshire, Store 11, in Andover, Massachusetts, and Store 29 in Nashua, New Hampshire. At the time of Store 38's closing, there were larger Market Baskets located 1.4 miles (2.3 km) away in Plaistow and three others in Haverhill, Massachusetts, within 6 miles (10 km) of the closed store's location. A number of stores have moved out of existing locations in order to relocate to larger buildings.

Market Basket's newest additions to its chain of stores were scheduled to open in Biddeford, Maine, in August 2013;[10] and Revere, Massachusetts, in early fall 2013. The chain's footprint has expanded greatly in the past decade, and now encompasses an area stretching from Cape Cod to southern Maine, just shy of the Vermont and Rhode Island state lines.

Several cities are home to multiple stores. Nashua, New Hampshire had four Market Basket stores (the most of any city) until 2013, when two of the locations on New Hampshire Route 101A closed and combined into one larger store; the three remaining stores still outnumber any other grocery chain in the city. Market Basket also has three stores each in Haverhill, Massachusetts, where it has been the only supermarket chain for decades; as well as in Billerica, Massachusetts, where all three are located along the Route 3A commercial strip. With the opening of the new Cornerstone Square shopping plaza, there are now two stores in Westford, Massachusetts, as of December 2, 2012. There are also multiple stores in Fitchburg, Methuen, and Lowell, Massachusetts, and in Portsmouth, Salem, Seabrook, and Concord, New Hampshire.

Modern improvements[edit]

Market Basket has started adding Market's Kitchen to some of its existing stores and most of its new stores. Market's Kitchen offers submarine sandwiches, panini, rotisserie chickens, salads, and fried foods, as well as pre-made family-style meals. Many new stores also feature a dedicated seafood department that makes fresh sushi daily. Self checkouts do not exist in any store.

Unlike other grocery store chains in New England, Market Basket typically does not feature pharmacies within its stores, although in many cases, pharmacy chains are located in shopping plazas adjoining Market Basket stores, or in some other cases fairly close to the store.

Market Basket's flagship store in Chelsea, MA

Throughout the past five years, Market Basket has been opening about four or five new stores annually, while relocating some stores to newly constructed or renovated buildings. Market Basket has invested in building new stores to replace smaller, older, and outdated stores. It has also renovated and updated equipment in stores that were built within the last 15 years.

Market Basket lacks an official website, Facebook or Twitter account, rare for a company its size.

Awards[edit]

Supermarket News ranked DeMoulas Market Basket No. 43 in the 2010 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers based on 2009 fiscal year estimated sales of $3.0 billion.[11] Consumer Reports ranked DeMoulas Market Basket as the No. 7 supermarket in their 2012 survey.[citation needed]

Loyalty cards[edit]

Like most low price grocers, Market Basket does not use supermarket loyalty cards.[12]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]