More vendors say they cut ties to Market Basket
No progress evident in standoff
One day after committing to push for a deal by Friday, the family fighting over Market Basket remained quiet Tuesday as the grocery chain continued to suffer the financial fallout of its weeks-long stalemate.
Several additional vendors came forward to say they had severed ties with Market Basket, citing payment problems and their support for ousted president Arthur T. Demoulas.
"They're not paying the bills, and there was a very clear distinction [in] my mind of what the right thing to do was," said Michael Fairbrother, a former Market Basket employee who runs the Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry, NH.
Fairbrother said that Market Basket is his largest account and he has foregone more than $9,000 in sales since cutting ties to the grocery chain three weeks ago.
Another vendor, Extra Virgin Foods of Watertown, said it has ended its relationship with the company to support other managers who were fired along with Demoulas.
Extra Virgin Foods sells $2 million in Greek foods to Market Basket each year, said owner Paul Hatziiliades. "They're about 60 percent of our annual business.
"But I'm just not going to deal with those people," he said of co-chief executives James Gooch and Felicia Thornton, who were hired to replace Demoulas.
A spokesman for Gooch and Thornton has said that they have tried to work with vendors, but that problems were inevitable, given a walk-out by employees that has shut down the company's distribution system.
The company declined to comment on staffing Tuesday, but there were no signs that its management has followed through on threats to fire employees who have refused to work, in solidarity with Arthur T. Demoulas.
People briefed on negotiations over the company said its managers have agreed to hold off on firings, store closings, and other drastic actions to allow more time for an agreement on its future.
Arthur T. Demoulas is trying to buy the 50.5 percent of the chain owned by his cousin and longtime foe, Arthur S. Demoulas, and other relatives. The company's board has said there are other possible suitors for the chain, which has 71 stores and $4.6 billion in annual revenue. Market Basket employs 25,000 people in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
The company's troubles with vendors have included missed payments and, in some cases, overpayments caused by problems processing invoices.
The decision by some vendors to end relationships with Market Basket further undermines the company's already dire financial position. It is losing millions of dollars a day because of the employee walk-out that has prevented fresh food from getting to stores. Some customers are boycotting the chain to support Arthur T.
Governor Deval Patrick and Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire called the parties together over the weekend to try to reach a settlement. Patrick divulged little of what went on in those talks, but said Tuesday the dispute is “eminently solvable.”