My letter to Market Basket:
Many Somerville residents rely on Market Basket for fresh, wholesome foods at affordable prices and for jobs that provide strong benefits. As a mayor and as a Market Basket customer, I hope for a swift resolution to Market Basket’s current issues, which though internal are directly affecting our community. I also encourage all involved to find a solution in the best interest of all parties: Market Basket’s employees, customers, the company and the community.
I understand the loyalty displayed by Market Basket employees and support their right to take a stand on the future of their jobs. Like many other kids in Somerville, I worked at Market Basket growing up—as a bagger, then the dairy department, and finally in the deli. I experienced the family atmosphere among the employees and saw managers take the time to care for employees young and old, sometimes helping kids at risk of making the wrong decisions in life get on the right track. That same sense of family extended to Market Basket’s customers. Employees knew their customers and developed personal relationships with their regulars. I remember my grandmother being surprised in the checkout line by a birthday celebration put together by the store’s employees, complete with cake.
The reason Market Basket has engendered such loyalty from both customers and workers alike goes beyond their prices. It is because of these values—customer service and connecting with the community. It’s also because Market Basket has served as a leader in providing access to affordable fresh foods in urban areas, like Somerville, that have historically faced challenges in making sure residents have access to healthy and fresh produce.
These values that have made the company a beloved part of our community are the same values that we hold dear in Somerville. We believe in value-based decision making, with our city policies and initiatives based on the community’s values. The unfortunate circumstances today put Market Basket in a position to lose much more than profits. The company could lose the path that had led to its strong success in the marketplace. Market Basket has a history of making business decisions based on their company’s long-held values, and I believe that the company can find a solution that upholds those values.
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone
(Letter from Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone posted on his Facebook page Friday, July 25, 2014)