After 44 years at Shawsheen Plaza, Market Basket has less than a month left in Andover.
The supermarket that has served and employed generations of Andover shoppers and family members will close Saturday, June 26, as its lease expires on June 30.
A few months of renovation work by Stop & Shop will follow as that larger supermarket chain plans to open a store there in early October 2010.
"It's not a happy day for us," said David McLean, operations manager for Market Basket headquarters in Tewksbury. "It's been an honor to be in Andover."
The Demoulas family owns the supermarket chain and has a long affiliation with Andover. According to the company's website, Telemachus "Mike" Demoulas and his brother George bought the supermarket chain from their parents in 1954. Their Andover store opened in 1966 and the business has grown to 60 Market Basket supermarkets.
Mike Demoulas died in 2003 at age 82 and is buried in Andover. He was the sole head of the supermarket chain for years after George Demoulas died of a heart attack in 1971 while vacationing in Greece.
"We are preparing (for the closing) and right now we are most concerned about our employees," McLean said.
There are about 100 employees and the company is offering each of them a job at another Market Basket store, McLean said.
"There are no layoffs," he said. "We are taking care of our employees."
The company will mail a goodbye letter to local customers to thank them for their business, he said.
Market Basket in Andover was a smaller-sized supermarket when compared to today's more popular super-sized supermarkets. McLean said that was part of its appeal.
"Our Andover store had that country charm feel," McLean said. "It was like a village, generations of families shopped and worked there."
McLean said Market Basket never had the chance to renew its lease after Shawsheen Plaza was sold in 2008. The Guys of Andover LLC of Salem, Mass., bought the plaza for $12.7 million, according to the Registry of Deeds Northern Essex District. Stop & Shop now holds the master lease to the entire shopping center.