The Stop & Shop Strike Is Affecting Many SouthCoast Supermarkets
"How are you holding up during the (Stop & Shop) strike?" I asked a fellow parent while waiting in line to pick up our kids after school on Friday.
"Aaaah," he said waving his hand, "We don't go to Stop & Shop, we go to Shaw's. It won't affect us."
By the end of the weekend, he had changed his tune. "Shaw's was a madhouse," he texted me. The Stop & Shop strike was very much affecting him.
I felt his pain. I'm a Stop & Shop Fairhaven regular. I go almost daily because it is so close to Fun 107. Instead of grocery shopping for the week, we'll pick up fresh food each day. We find that we have less waste in shopping this way.
It doesn't work, however, if I'm shopping at Market Basket. With the strike in effect, I knew that I'd have to shop for the week at Market Basket. I intentionally went shopping early on Saturday, at 7:30 a.m., to try to avoid the crowds. That was an epic fail.
Market Basket in New Bedford was a mob scene. It looked like 5:30 p.m. on a night before a foot of snow is expected to fall on the SouthCoast. The shelves were emptying as quickly as the staff was restocking them. They were doing their best, but it was a struggle for them to keep up with the demand of the crowds. The strike was most definitely affecting Market Baskets this weekend.
Market Basket took an opportunity to hand out helpful sheets to new customers to help them find what they needed in the store.
Market Basket customer Erik Messier said, "Just left Market Basket in New Bedford. It was a zoo, but they had every register opened. Clerks were moving people right along the best they could. Everyone was so polite, as though they were all prepped for this strike. Even the customers were more pleasant than normal."
It was a similar story at Shaw's in Dartmouth. Although parking was difficult, the staff seemed to be handling the increase in volume. Tracy Durant works at Shaw's in Dartmouth. She tells Fun 107 that it has been "crazy" since the strike began. Lines stretched back much farther than usual.
Matthew Ponte, the marketing director at Lees Market in Westport, tells Fun 107 that the store manager and the front end of the store have seen an uptick in business since the strike kicked off Thursday afternoon. Ponte says that the store isn't doing anything differently to court new customers during the strike.
"Our staff tries to always be as inviting as possible whether or not it is your first visit to the store," he said.
Other Fun 107 listeners reported sampling Walmart and Target for their groceries.
The million dollar question is what Stop & Shop will be able to do, if anything, to win back some of these customers that have been sampling other stores in the area?