BIDDEFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Employees at Maine's only Market Basket embraced, exchanged high-fives and shed tears of joy as they returned to work on Thursday morning. They were not alone.
"I cried this morning when I saw on the news, Artie T. is back!" exclaimed Diane Rivard, a loyal customer who spent the morning loading up her minivan with groceries.
"I was so heart-broken," said Rivard, who has shopped at Market Basket for more than 20 years. She quit going to support the employees in their effort to have beloved former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas reinstated after he was fired in June.
"I think businesses, nowadays, they don't think that we are important as customers," said Rivard, who worried that the longer the situation dragged out, the more likely the demands of employees and customer would not be met.
"We spoke, and we said, 'we love this and give it back'," she said. "And I didn't think big business would let us have it, so this is really nice, and yes, I get emotional because this is for us."
To celebrate the victory, Rivard bought $300 worth of groceries to donate to the York County Homeless Shelter.
Rivard was not alone celebrating Demoulas' return.
"We are very patient people here in New England, and we fight hard for what we believe in, and it is, it is like winning the World Series!" explained cashier, Pat Berry. "That was my first reaction. We won! We won! I can't believe it."
Berry says the past several weeks have been difficult for everyone.
"It's been tough. It has been a struggle for me, for my family, for everyone who works here," she said. "The uncertainty and not knowing whether or not we are going to have our jobs."
She was thrilled when her husband sent her a text telling her she'd be going back to work.
"I'm happy to be back here," she said. "I'm happy to welcome our customers back."
"It has been a roller coaster ride, it really has been," stated store manager, Micum McIntire. "It was the hardest day of my life when I had to tell my part-timers I didn't have any hours for them."
He says he was elated to hear the company's shareholders had agreed to sell the company to Arthur T. Demoulas and allow him to return to run the company.
"We are going to put it all back together, bigger and better than it ever was before," said McIntire.