All that Love for Market Basket Comes Pouring Back

All that Love for Market Basket Comes Pouring Back

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All that Love for Market Basket Comes Pouring Back

This is a wonderful story that looked, for a while, like it was going to be a very sad story. After a family feud amongst the owners, grocery chain, Market Basket’s board, looked like it was going to oust a long-standing, and much loved, CEO who had aligned the firm with a stakeholder-centric approach to management. Employees, suppliers and customers revolted last year, demanding that the board change it’s decision. After a nearly crippling month of essentially being shut down by its stakeholders, the board relented. Market Basket was allowed to stay true to its course. 

A year later, things are going gangbusters at Market Basket: 

If the past year is any indication, that model is working. Five new Market Basket stores have opened and three more are about to come on line. Store prices during the first six months of 2015 were, on average, about 16 percent lower than the competition’s, according to research firm Nielsen. Yet even with those lower prices, the company managed to distribute $129 million to employees in bonuses and profit-sharing. Its $4.8 billion in annual revenue projected for this year will be Market Basket’s biggest gross in its 98-year history.

I love this story, because it’s not just a reminder of what business can be; it’s also a reminder of just how far employees and customers will go to support an organization that takes care of them. A valuable, valuable lesson for all businesses. 


Being of Service: The Bridge to Meaning and Mission in Business

Thanks, Yifat Cohen, for flagging this one for me this morning.


  1. I hope the Gravity Payments story turns around too. And it’s interesting to see how the two have diverged. Maybe because the “good business” approach was baked-in (sorry) to the market from the beginning, rather than being added later?

  2. Wow, Jodi Kaplan, I really wasn’t familiar with that story, even though it’s happening in my backyard:

    I think that one of the difficulties of the Gravity story is that fairness is such a difficult thing to square. People have very different understandings of what it means. There’s the egalitarian sense of the word and then there’s the “I worked harder, longer, smarter than you and it’s not fair we’re compensated the same” sense. 

    I’ve just run into so many of these kinds of conflicts around compensation – even with very mission-driven, happy workplaces. It’s a real lightning rod. 

  3. The benefits of a rallying cause and of a great leader.  Culture eats strategy for breakfast

  4. Well said, Antoine Carriere. 

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