As we head into Christmas week, this next guest post is especially meaningful. The following post was received from a long time customer and admirer of all things “Demoulas Super Markets.” Ray Hamel grew up in the Lowell Acre and is as proud of his roots as he is of the biggest success story out of his hometown Demoulas Super Markets. Ray, President of Hamel & McAlister , is another Lowell success story with a deep commitment to helping people in need. Ray has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell for decades and is currently its Chairman. Ironically, the Club’s building is named the George A. Demoulas Memorial Building, for the father of Arthur S. Demoulas. Telemachus A. (Mike) Demoulas, father of Arthur T. Demoulas, dedicated the building in honor of his late brother.
As all of us look at what’s going on with the Demoulas family and Market Basket, I want to share a few thoughts of mine. This family business represents to me such a success, not just in monetary value but the family atmosphere and loyalty that has been developed within this business. Look at some of the badges the people working wear proudly. And they should be proud of, 10, 23, 32, 44 years of service. Where else can you work that you could go from a person who stocks shelves at 16 years old to a store manager without any more than a high school diploma?
The generosity of the Demoulas family is unbelievable as I have seen it many times over the years.
In 1973 Mr. Demoulas donated to the children of Lowell a totally new Boys Club with a gym, game room, theater, lunch room, pool and more. This club kept me and many others from hanging out on street corners or swimming in the canals, taking drugs and much more.
I will share with you a story I never told anyone outside my own family. One winter I was working at Demoulas (Dummer Street) retrieving shopping carts in the snow. Back then, Mr. Demoulas (Mike) worked in the store every minute of every day and more. I am positive he looked at me and noticed that I did not have gloves, hat, or what was a real winter jacket. As he was throwing sawdust on the floor in front of the entry and I came plowing in with about 6 empty shopping carts, he said, “Son, where is your coat?” I said, “I don’t have one other than this one.” I lived in the acre with a family of 7 and my dad was a shoe cutter and we just didn’t have the money. Mr. Demoulas said to me, “Go right now to Malliaros Clothing store and ask for Minnie.” I was not sure if I was in trouble, but I did what he said. I went right over, asked for Minnie and he brought me over to a rack and I tried on coats. When we found one that fit, Minnie said, “It’s yours.” I could not believe it and I immediately went back to Dummer Street. When I got there Mr. Demoulas was in front of the cashier station and he looked at me and said, “Get back to work” with a huge smile. I did and loved it and will never forget what he had done for me.
There is not a Demoulas, at least in Mike’s family, who brags, shows off, or doesn’t have extreme generosity and I wish everything they do to help people was public. But that’s not their way. Don’t be fooled, Arthur T. does not do this for the money, trust me. His heart is with all his loyal employees who work hard, have families and they have a 2 way relationship…he takes care of them and they take care of Market Basket. This is not a commercial, this is really the way it works…and so damn well.