Market Basket’s first Maine supermarket will create up to 600 jobs in Biddeford

By Dina Mendros, Journal Tribune
Posted Dec. 12, 2012, at 5:28 p.m.

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Market Basket supermarkets, with stores in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, is popular among many Mainers in the southern part of the state, who travel regularly across the border in search of lower grocery prices.

Soon, traveling out of state will no longer be necessary.

According to a city official, Market Basket will open its first Maine store next year in Biddeford.

Economic Development Director Daniel Stevenson said a store representative, who didn’t wish to be named, told him the store will open in the summer or early fall of 2013.

The company plans to invest $11 million to redevelop the former Lowe’s store at The Shops at Biddeford Crossing, according to company representatives. That building has been empty since Lowe’s closed in 2011.

Along with its reputation for low grocery prices, the store is also expected to bring new jobs to Biddeford.

Hiring for between 500 and 600 positions will take place next summer, said Stevenson. An estimated 25 percent of the jobs — between 125 and 150 — will be full-time. The company plans to hire local people to fill the positions, he said.

These are more positions than the approximately 100 jobs that were lost when Lowe’s closed.

“They’re excited to come to Maine,” said Stevenson. “This will be a really new, updated store for them.”

The supermarket will be approximately 108,000 square feet. It will include a bakery and cafe, said Stevenson. Another retail space, approximately 17,000 square feet, will also be at the site.

A number of the regulatory requirements for the store to locate in the state have been fulfilled or are nearly fulfilled. In August, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection granted Market Basket’s request to amend the site location development plan permit.

The city’s review of the company’s plans are still underway but should be completed shortly, said City Planner Greg Tansley in an email. He said he’s waiting for two more documents from the company.

Codes Enforcement Officer Roby Fecteau said in an email that he met with the store’s project manager on Friday to discuss the types of building permits they will need. No permits have been issued yet.

According to the discussion, said Fecteau, demolition permits would be pulled by the company prior to applying for building permits.

The store’s plans call for removing about 14,000 square feet of the building. The garden center that was part of the Lowe’s will also be removed and made into additional parking.

The state fire marshal needs to give approval before the city can grant permits, Fecteau said.

Market Basket, based in Tewksbury, Mass., is still owned by members of the Demoulas family, who founded the supermarket chain, Stevenson said.

Market Basket dates back to 1916 when Greek immigrants, husband and wife Athanasios and Efrosini Demoulas, opened a grocery store in Lowell, Mass., according to MyDemoulas.net. Market Basket does not have its own website, and the MyDemoulas site is not owned, operated or maintained by Market Basket.

Two of the Demoulas’ sons, George and Telemachus, grew the store into a supermarket chain. The company owns about 70 stores and there are more in the works, in addition to the Biddeford store, according to MyDemoula.net.

Neither Hannaford supermarkets nor Shaw’s supermarkets, the two largest chains serving Maine, are family owned any longer, according to their corporate websites.

Hannaford is a Delhaize America company, owned by the Belgian-based Delhaize Group.

Shaw’s is owned by SUPERVALU, based in Eden Prairie, Minn.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/12/12/business/market-baskets-first-maine-supermarket-will-create-up-to-600-jobs-in-biddeford/ printed on August 1, 2014