There is quite a difference between the nearly empty parking lot at the Stonington Stop & Shop and the non-stop traffic at McQuade’s Marketplace which is the nearest grocery store three miles away in Westerly, Rhode Island.
“Super busy all week long and part of that is Easter and I’m sure part of that is Stop & Shop,” said McQuade’s customer Linda Camelio of Stonington.
“Like doubled our business so we’re doing very well,” said Michael McQuade who owns McQuade’s Marketplace.
He also has a store in Mystic which is eight miles away from Stop & Shop. It too has seen an increase in customers who don’t want to cross Stop & Shop’s picket line.
“All our staff is tired from working overtime,” said McQuade.
“It’s a drive to go elsewhere,” said Rebecca Griswold who owns Madeline’s Crewcuts & Curls in North Stonington which doesn’t have a grocery store of its own.
The Stonington Stop & Shop is the closest.
“I use it almost once or twice a day sometimes,” said Griswold.
And it’s where she would have done all of her Easter shopping.
“It’s definitely been inconvenient,” said Griswold. “So we have to use other markets.”
“You get to know where everything is in the store,” said Laurel Fernandes of Stonington.
She says her son and daughter-in-law are in Ledyard and don’t have any other close options.
“Now they got to travel closer to ten miles to do their shopping,” said Fernandes.
These workers say they appreciate the sacrifice.
“Not only are they going over there but the places are all busy and they’re waiting in long lines and they’re doing this they’re doing this for us,” said Stop & Shop striking employee Mark Sposato. “We don’t even know how we can say thank you.”
There are still customers going in and out of the Stonington store and striking workers say that they’re trying not to bother any of them.
Workers understand if an elderly person has to come there for convenience. They have asked some customers though to shop elsewhere.
Stop & Shop released this statement Friday evening:
“Stop & Shop and the five UFCW local unions are continuing negotiations into the evening. We remain focused on reaching fair new agreements that provide market-leading wages, excellent health benefits for eligible associates and increased pension contributions for all of our associates.”