TEWKSBURY -- More than two hours into her shift at Payless Shoe Source Tuesday, Zuleica Fernandes had helped just one customer.
Despite the start of the back-to-school shopping season, the store in Tewksbury's Stadium Plaza had been empty for most of the morning, she said, with a few people walking in from time to time to ask to use the bathroom or escape the heat -- not to buy shoes.
"We have a ton of payroll, a ton of people on staff, but there's really nothing to do," said Fernandes, 19, a full-time employee.
Outside, thousands gathered to protest the ouster of former Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, which has caused employees and customers alike to picket the chain until the former leader is reinstated.
Market Basket stores, which have been estimated to be losing about $10 million a day throughout the protests, aren't the only ones suffering from a boycott that has stretched into its 19th day.
At Stadium Plaza in Tewksbury, many of the surrounding stores are also seeing a dip in business, not just on days that rallies make the parking lot inaccessible, but every day since the boycott started sending customers elsewhere for their groceries.
"It's been like this day after day," Stadium Liquors clerk Janice Taylor said as the store stood empty Tuesday morning. "It's been terrible. Because Market Basket has no business, we have no business.
While normally the store would average seven to eight people in it at a time on a weekday morning, Taylor said, the store had seen only a small trickle of customers all day.
Assistant Manager Billy Daigle estimated that the store has lost about 35 percent of its business since the Market Basket boycott started. Another Stadium Liquors in Wilmington, which also sits next to a Market Basket, has suffered nearly as much, he said.
"People don't even bother pulling in because they don't want to deal with all that hassle," Daigle said in reference to protesters who have crowded the plaza.
Delivery trucks have also had trouble making it to the liquor store on rally days, sometimes turning around for lack of parking and not bringing those deliveries until the next shipping day.
Viseth Keo, manager of Anton's Cleaners, said customers had been complaining about the lack of parking, but "it is what it is."
"Since the rallies started we haven't been seeing some of our regular customers. They have their daily routines, a lot of people will go to Market Basket and then come here," Keo said.
At CVS, business has been slower too, but sales of drinks and snacks have been strong on rally days, employee John Taylor, 22, said.
"There's less foot traffic because of Market Basket. People will usually go grocery shopping and then stop here to pick up a prescription," Taylor said.
He estimated that business has been about 10 to 15 percent slower than usual since the boycotts began.
Despite the strain it has placed on their businesses, some employees said they are rooting for the workers to prevail in their bid to have Arthur T. reinstated.
Fernandes said she supported the workers, but thought their tactics were driving customers away.
Daigle, for one, is hoping for a quick end to the dispute.
"If people have parties celebrating that he's back, maybe that'll bring some business," Daigle said.
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