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Johnnie's Foodmaster employees told they will lose their jobs by November 30

Posted by Your Town  November 7, 2012 06:07 PM

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Dozens of Johnnie’s Foodmaster employees received a letter last week telling them they would lose their jobs later this month, as the small grocery chain makes plans to close its 10 stores around Boston.

The Nov. 2 letter—addressed to the employees of the Alewife Brook Parkway, Somerville store—states:

“[W]e wish to inform you that, as of November 30, 2012, your employment with Foodmaster will be terminated. We do not anticipate that there will be any other positions available with Foodmaster.”

While the letter states that the official termination date is November 30, employees say the store is expecting to close its doors on November 19. That means they would face unemployment before Thanksgiving. Employees say there are about 85 workers at the Alewife location.

Reached by phone Wednesday, owner John DeJesus provided little information on the future of the chain and his employees.

“The deal’s not done yet, it’s all in the works,” he said. “I can’t say anything if there’s nothing to say.” DeJesus declined to comment further.

Employees say they were told not to expect to expect severance pay. In some cases, the employees say they have worked there for more than 20 years.

The Globe reported Nov. 3 that all 10 area Johnnie’s Foodmaster supermarkets are closing, including six that are being taken over by Whole Foods Market. A seventh store — in Medford — will reopen as a Stop & Shop.

A spokesman for Johnnie’s would not comment for that story about the fate of its remaining stores — in Lynn, Whitman, and Alewife Brook Parkway in Somerville.

The letter to employees says that the Alewife Foodmaster location is expecting to complete a transfer or sale, and that they “expect that [employees] will have the opportunity to apply and be interviewed for positions with any buyer.”

When the transfer of the six stores to Whole Foods was announced, DeJesus was quoted in a press release as praising the employees.

“I want to extend my sincerest appreciation to the wonderful employees in the six locations who have provided excellent service to our loyal shoppers for so many years,” said DeJesus. “I also want to express my gratitude for the customers who have embraced Johnnie’s Foodmaster in these communities as their family grocer for more than 50 years.”

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