One or two of my readers wanted my comments on the Artie T. and Artie S. situation, so here it is, « people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. » I do not particularly care whether, as youngsters, they got along. I do not particularly care whether or not as adults they get along. What is happening to an institution is my concern.
Very few of us have not worked at DeMoulas’ or Market Basket. I remember one time I did not wear a tie and a Vice President was called in to chew me out. After he did that, I never forgot to wear a tie. Why is that important? Because that was forty years ago and it shows how « Mike » DeMoulas ran his company. He did not let the smallest detail get by him and he built the chain into over fifty stores by the time he died. This entire mess, the managerial snafu, the lack of food on the shelves, and the hiring of a man whose CEO claim to fame was that he brought Radio Shack to its knees, would not have ever happened if the two original brothers lived to see it.
It is obvious that everybody who worked there, with one or two exceptions, respected and cared for Artie T. I know the man well, because our children played soccer together, and a better man would be hard to find. I have never met Artie S. and, in all honesty, after this show, I would not care to meet him. I want the place that allowed his cousin to prosper to continue in that vein.
Arthur T. DeMoulas was fifteen when I first met him. I was at the Speare House attending a function to take place at the DeMoulas mansion. I was scooping out the au gratin potatoes. Artie came over and we talked for a long time, long enough for Xenophon Speronis, the owner of the Speare House, to come over and caution me to allow Artie to mingle with his guests. I did, of course. Later, on the soccer field, we cheered on our children, who were the same age and on the same team. Again, I was struck by Artie T’s. depth of knowledge and his willingness to give back to the community. He told me an interesting story about how he and his wife met, and it showed now normal he really was.
So, what do I think about this week’s actions? Not much. Mike DeMoulas’ was forced to fight for the control of his company, the company that had grown from four stores to dozens, and he lost the fight. I was quite frankly surprised by the fact that Artie T. was even allowed to go to work after that battle. But work he did and he responded by making the DeMoulas name known throughout the Northeast. After giving him the responsibility for the company, and his fulfilling the position so earnestly, he deserved better treatment.
The fact that he did not get it just plays into the Mike DeMoulas alleged belief that anyone drawing money from the company should work for the company.
I took three Economic courses in college, and a couple of more towards my MBA. I am certainly no expert, but I firmly believe that Arthur T. DeMoulas deserves a role to play in the continuation of the dream. If that fails to happen, then I would urge Mr. DeMoulas to use his strong background to become the CEO of a struggling supermarket franchise and make it tenable. I believe that there is nothing that Mr. Artie T. Demoulas cannot master and I would follow him to another company in a heartbeat. He deserves our respect, our friendship, and our allegiance. He, and his father built the Market Basket Company into what it is now, if the Board of Directors refuses to give him access through his incredible holdings, he should open up his own chain of supermarkets or take over a struggling company and do what his father taught him to do – WORK.