This is message to all those "carnivorous" profit grubbing nay sayers out there who claim that business that don't put profits first can not survive in a free market capitalistic economy.
Demoulas' fast-growing Market Basket chain is something of an enigma: It posts higher margins than its competitors, but by many accounts pays its employees better, sets its prices lower and treats its vendors like cousins.
"We're in the people business first and the food business second."
At this very well-regarded family company, employees are picketing to protest the board’s firing of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Shelves are largely bare, and suppliers are being hurt by the slowdown. Many shoppers are not crossing the picket lines. The company’s newly appointed co-CEOs are trying to replace striking employees; some 25,000 jobs are at stake, but employees are holding the line. Politicians and government officials are weighing in.
This high-stakes, riveting story obviously teaches us a lot about the vulnerabilities of family companies — but it’s also a good reminder of their strengths. It is important to keep in mind that family business, a largely silent sector of market capitalism, is also the biggest sector, accounting for two-thirds of all businesses in the world, and about half of the largest companies in the United States. Studies done in a number of countries indicate that both public and private family companies perform, on average, significantly better than non-family businesses. They are stronger financially, have higher stakeholder loyalty, live longer, and are more trusted by the public. These company strengths have a lot to do with their family ownership and family leadership. And this is also true at Market Basket.
The now-former family leader of Market Basket, Arthur T. Demoulas, built an impressive and extremely loyal employee group. What company wouldn’t love to have frontline employees striking to support their CEO? The same goes for the cult-like loyalty of Market Basket customers.