In the parking lot of the new Revere Market Basket at Northgate Monday morning, workers outside were spiffying up the outside and moving carriages inside – but they weren’t getting much done in between having to answer numerous questions from the excited passers-by, many that are greatly anticipating this Sunday’s (Oct. 26) opening at 7 a.m.
“Are you open today?” exclaimed one woman.
“Not yet ma’am,” said the worker. “Sunday.”
“Are you going to have the roasted chicken there that I always buy at the other stores?” she asked.
“We’ll have everything you need ma’am,” reassured the worker.
She replied, “Well, I can’t wait until Sunday.”
And neither can anyone else.
For more than a year, the Market Basket store a short distance over the City Line in Revere has sat finished, but unoccupied. During that time the company went through some internal strife that resulted in a positive change within the ownership structure and an even greater affinity than already existed between loyal customers and the company.
All of that’s over with now, and Market Basket officials William Marsden and David McLean happily announced on Monday that the Revere Market Basket would open for business at 7 a.m. Oct. 26, with an official Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30.
“We’re just really pleased to be here in Revere,” said Marsden, director of operations, on Monday in between fine tuning the new Revere location. “We know that we’ve served a lot of [this area’s] customers for quite a few years in our Chelsea location and we think they’ll be pleased with what we have to offer here in Revere. We’re pleased with the support from the community, Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo and the Revere city councillors. They’ve all been very positive. We did experience a delay in opening this store and we’re sorry for that, but we’re here now and are proud to be part of the community and look forward to this new relationship.”
David McLean, operations manager at Demoulas, said they are very excited as a company to open the Revere store, which will be the first of five new stores in the region over the next several months.
“This is the first of five additional stores to take care of our customers who took care of us,” said McLean – who like Marsden was ousted last summer with CEO Arthur T. Demoulas during the company’s issues. “It’s a very exciting time in our company right now and these stores are a nod to our customers who have supported us the past 100 years. We are approaching our 100th anniversary in 2017 and so it’s that much more exciting for our company. As Arthur T. says, ‘We’re in the people business first and, above all else, we’re looking out for our customers even when they’re not looking.’”
The additional stores to open before the end of this year will be in Waltham at the old Polaroid site and in Littleton. Stores in Attleboro and Athol will open in the 1st Quarter of 2015.
The Revere store will be under Store Director Ron Lambert, who is a store opening specialist and has been with the company since 1976.
The Revere store will be 80,000 sq. ft., which is a bit smaller compared to the 135,000 sq. ft. Goliath of a store in Chelsea. However, Lambert said they believe the size is perfect for the Revere area and they have streamlined operations in the storeroom to give as much shopping space as possible.
“Everything the Chelsea store has, we have here,” said McLean. “We’ll have the Market’s Café, the Market’s Kitchen, including the sushi, and we’ll have a few new things too. We will have a new demo station in the back of this store that Chelsea doesn’t have. We’ll also have a Butcher Block section for premium Certified Angus Beef products.”
Lambert said the “tasting station” is likely to be a hit with customers – outfitted with cooking equipment, a Bose PA system for sound and ample space for customers to listen to vendors and taste products.
“The tasting station is something that’s a new and unique way for our vendors to come in and test out some of their products with customers,” Lambert said. “It could be hummus one day or a fish demonstration the next day. There are a lot of different things we’ll have there. It’s a great way to put new products in the spotlight for our customers.”
He said the first demonstration will likely be a new popcorn seasoning product – with customers able to try out a variety of flavored popcorn in the store.
Another feature will be the ‘Butcher Block’ feature where Certified Angus Beef (CAB) will be highlighted prominently. The CAB products debuted about three years ago at Market Basket’s Westfield store and Lambert said it was an instant hit.
He believes it will be reach the same popularity in Revere.
He said the program is a non-profit comprised of cattle producers who choose only the most premium grades of beef for certification – that being based on fat marbling, bone structure and heritage of the animal.
It all equals out into a mouth-watering steak or a scrumptious roast.
“Once you’ve tried it, for $1 more, you won’t eat another piece of meat other than CAB again,” Lambert said.
McLean said customers can be assured to have a full variety of healthy options integrated within the aisles and shelves. This, he said, is something that is necessary for a modern grocery store in accommodating new ways of eating – whether for better health or for medical reasons.
“There are gluten free products throughout the store and the amounts of healthy products are increasing,” he said. “It’s not your grandmother’s supermarket with just meat and potatoes. We have specialty foods, organic foods, gluten free foods and low sodium foods integrated into the store.”
Added Lambert, “A lot of stores do the store within a store, but we don’t do that. We have it integrated into the store and printed on the display tags on the shelf. Customers can see it’s gluten free right there and they don’t have to go looking for it in another part of the store.”
The Revere store will also be a major job provider locally.
Lambert said there are 460 new employees at the store, with 75 percent being from Revere. Another 100 employees have transferred into the Revere store from other nearby locations.
And in addition to the new things and old things in the front of the store that have made Market Basket so popular with customers – and so eagerly anticipated in Revere – the store will be a marvel of efficiency within its backroom operations.
McLean and Lambert said the Revere store will have 90 percent LED lighting with some solar lights mixed in. There is a mandate to recycle – keeping trash in a separate stream from cardboard and plastic.
One sign in the back near the trash compactor read, “Do your part! Always Recycle! Do Not Throw Clean Cardboard or plastic into trash compactors. Doing so Throws Away Money.”
In that spirit, virtually nothing is wasted.
Cardboard is bundled for recycling.
Clean plastic is wrapped into bales for reuse.
Even produce that has gone beyond it’s date isn’t thrown out. Instead, Lambert said it is sent up to a New Hampshire farm where it’s used to feed pigs.
“When you’re talking about a company, you want to know if they treat they’re employees well,” McLean said. “You want to know if they treat their customers well. But you also want to know what are their environmental initiatives. Those initiatives say a lot about the personality and the mindset of a company.”
And that kind of company mindset between Market Basket and its customers – after a harrowing summer of uncertainly – have never been more aligned.
And in Revere, that alignment will mean a line of folks ready to come through the doors on Oct. 26.