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On again, off again for Market Basket deal as board meeting is canceled

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 24. 2014 8:18PM
A sign supporting the recent boycott of Market Basket is shown Sunday at the Hooksett store, which was almost empty. (DOUG ALDEN/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — Word came late Sunday that an anticipated meeting of the Market Basket board of directors had been canceled.

Spokesmen for Demoulas and the board said there was nothing new to report as negotiations continued for the sale of the troubled grocery chain.

“Both sides have continued to work with each other throughout the day,” said William Hinkle, a spokesman for New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan. “Governor Hassan remains hopeful that an agreement will be reached that keeps the company’s dedicated workers employed and minimizes the impact on consumers and other affected businesses.”

On Friday, Hassan and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick had indicated a preliminary agreement between the board and ousted former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas could come by Sunday.

“It’s frustrating, but I’m more optimistic than frustrated,” said Jared Archambault, front-end manager of the Market Basket off Interstate 93 in Hooksett. “We’re keeping the faith.”

Arthur T. Demoulas issued a statement Friday confirming he had made a final bid for a controlling stake in the company that he felt should be finalized immediately.

But the family feud that has lasted well over a month and led to customers boycotting the stores was not about to be resolved overnight.

Despite a nearly empty parking lot and a handful of customers inside, Archambault said he expected it to be business as usual soon again at the Hooksett store. He said he spent the weekend working on a backup schedule and calling his part-time employees to learn when they were available.

“Once I get the official word, I’m going to call them again and say it’s time to come back to work,” Archambault said. “The tone in their voice is very excited. They’re all ready to come back.”

Archambault said the fight to restore Demoulas would not have lasted as long as it has without the support of Market Basket customers, who have been doing their shopping elsewhere.

“This would be nothing without our customers,” Archambault said. “We all have each other’s back. Numbers speak louder than words.”

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