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July 15. 2013 9:18PM

NH Market Basket workers: Why mess with success?

STRATHAM — Dean Clevesy is doing all he can to gather signatures for a petition in support of Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

A 34-year employee of the supermarket chain known for its "More For Your Dollar" slogan, Clevesy and others fear Demoulas could be ousted this week by the company's board of directors.

A leadership change could bring other changes that some employees say aren't necessary

Acting as a private citizen, Clevesy, assistant store manager of the Stratham Market Basket, has contacted more than 100 people to drum up support for keeping Arthur T. Demoulas at the helm.

He's not alone.

"Why mess with success?" said Stratham Market Basket store manager Mark Owens, who has worked for the company for 32 years — 25 as a manager.

"We're doing a phenomenal job. We're opening four to five stores per year, and there's no debt in this company," Owens said.

Owens said the company has been able to pay for the new stores using company profits instead of taking out bank loans.

Demoulas often talks about "valued consumers" and "valued employees."

"This guy is returning money to consumers every day in lower prices, and employees are rewarded through their pay and pension plans. That could all change overnight," Owens said.

Clevesy said Market Basket "does things the right way," and he hopes Arthur T. Demoulas remains in his leadership role.

Grocery associate Alex Booth was among the Stratham Market Basket employees who volunteered time over the weekend to collect signatures for the petition.

"We've got a good business model, and it doesn't make sense to change it," he said.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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