At the Midwinter Gathering held on January 29 at Three Chimneys Inn in Durham, Plan NH announced that its first Villager of the Year Award was for Arthur T. Demoulas, who gained national recognition in Summer 2014 as the twenty-year battle for leadership at Demoulas Market Basket Supermarkets came to a head.
“There are shifts in thinking going on across the Granite State and the country,“ said Robin H. LeBlanc, Executive Director of Plan NH. “One that we are seeing is a desire for community, for belonging – whether in the community where we live, or maybe the community of our church, school, our work …. Another shift we are seeing more of is from the notion that the economic bottom line trumps all – to the realization that the social and environmental bottom lines are often more significant, especially when thinking long-term.”
“Mr. Demoulas took a stand last summer for his community: his workers and his customers. He took a stand against the long-held belief that good business means profits come first, and maintained that employees and customers take priority. The result was an unprecedented show of solidarity among all employees and all customers who together went on strike, held rallies and showed their absolute loyalty and support for Mr. Arthur T. They revealed the community that was already there, and their actions made it even stronger.”
Accepting the award on Mr. Demoulas’ behalf was Supervisor of Operations Joe Schmidt, who himself started working in the family of supermarkets at age 14. He recounted the tumultuous days of August and September, and concluded his remarks with a short video of images from across the New England states during that time.