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We Are Market Basket by Grant Welker, Daniel Korschun

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1

“You’ve Never Met a Family Like This”

It is hard to imagine a more challenging time and place to open a grocery than 1917 in Lowell. But that’s when Market Basket got its start in this mill city on the Merrimack River about twenty-five miles north of Boston. In the late 1800s, Lowell had been heralded as a beacon of the Northeast. The first two decades of the twentieth century were a different story. Lowell’s fortunes were on a downturn.

The city had previously relied on the Merrimack River to generate endless, relatively low-cost hydropower. This enabled decades of growth, turning the Merrimack Valley into a stalwart of the textile industry. But the rise of coal as a cheap alternative energy source turned Lowell’s competitive advantage into ...

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