You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Market Basket customers hold rally at Tewksbury store

Show their support for workers, ousted Arthur T. Demoulas

Market Basket customers held a rally outside of the Tewksbury store.

Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe

Market Basket customers held a rally outside of the Tewksbury store.

The rebellion of Market Basket employees received a boost Saturday evening from hundreds of the company’s customers, who rallied outside a store in Tewksbury to declare their support for ousted company president Arthur T. Demoulas.

The rally, which convened in a parking lot at twilight, featured speeches in English and Spanish from several customers who had organized the event on Facebook earlier in the week.

Continue reading below

Customers and their families were joined by some employees, who said they were also customers.

Jeffrey Betterini of Epping, N.H., was one participant at the rally. He said he has visited every Market Basket store in recent weeks, meeting people and boosting morale by filing regular video dispatches to Facebook groups used by protesters.

“I’ve been shopping with these people since 1988,” he said. “Every time I’ve needed anything, they’ve provided it.”

Continue reading it below

After Arthur T. Demoulas was fired in June by a board controlled by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, employees launched a protest that has kept customers away and left store shelves largely empty.

The chain’s ownership is said to be negotiating a sale that could resolve the impasse.

Some people said they were angry at being depicted as “hostages” by the company’s management and by some journalists.

“We’re not mindless people following Arthur T. Demoulas for no reason at all,” said Danielle Androy of Merrimack, N.H.

While the crowd was in the hundreds, customers said they represented more than a million others who were boycotting the store.

Paula Sargent of Merrimac, Mass., said that some customers who could not make the rally held a “rolling rally” in which they gathered at several stores over the course of the day, even grilling food.

“It needs to stop,” she said of the family dispute that has brought the company to a standstill. “Enough is enough.”

Four rallies have been held at the same site, but the previous ones drew mostly employees because they were held during the work day, said Noel Gordon, who organized Saturday’s protest.

Gordon, whose husband is fired Market Basket employee Tom Gordon, said the rally was meant to show that thousands of customers are boycotting the store out of support for protesting employees, not because the shelves of its stores are running bare.

The rally was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Market Basket store at 10 Main St.

A page for the rally on Facebook had fewer than 200 people list themselves as “going,” although Gordon said she had received messages and calls from hundreds more who expected to attend.

Customer Larry Ballard of New Hampshire spoke at the rally.

Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe

Customer Larry Ballard of New Hampshire spoke at the rally.

Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.