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June 14, 2021

Bull Moose takes back fired NH employees, promises company-wide raises by June 2022

File Photo / Jim Neuger Brett Wickard, founder of Bull Moose, sold the company to employees through an ESOP.

All 23 employees of Bull Moose in Salem, N.H., who were abruptly fired in a dispute with management over the use of face masks, have returned to work after the Portland-based music and entertainment retailer issued a public apology.

Founder and President Brett Wickard also offered company-wide raises by June 2022.

The clash stemmed from a decision to drop mask requirements for shoppers at the Salem store and prohibiting staff from asking whether customers had been vaccinated, according to media reports.

Bull Moose employs 175 people in total at three locations in New Hampshire and eight in Maine. A store in Portland closed last fall.

In the company's Facebook page on Friday, Wickard apologized for what he called a humbling experience. After listening to employees over the past few weeks and "changing what needed to be changed," the company offered to take back all those who had been let go, with back pay.

Wickard said he was grateful that all of them chose to return.

While the original Facebook post originally referred to 20 people that were fired and returned, he told Mainebiz via a spokesperson on Monday that the number was actually 23.

"While that really didn’t sound like us, it was, and we must take responsibility for that," Wickard wrote in the post. "We are sorry that we did not act anywhere near how we want to be as a company. We pride ourselves on building community and acting with empathy, yet we failed on both those counts. We strayed from our values and have to set things right."

He added: "Over the last few weeks, we listened to our staff and got to work on fixing what we could, changing what needed to be changed, and demonstrating a concrete recommitment to our values."

The note went on with a pledge to accelerate company-wide raises so that all employees can earn at least $1 an hour by next June, and said  that it had promoted one of its staff in Salem to provide the store and team with the "support, training and care they so deserve."

Wickard also said the company is expanding its internal dialogue to give all staff members a stronger voice in company decisions that have an impact on them

Bull Moose started as a single store in Brunswick in 1989, when Wickard was a student at Bowdoin College, selling 75% cassettes, 20% CDs and 5% everything else. Today it's a chain that sells video games, books, music and other items, in stores and well as online.

In an "On the Record" interview with Mainebiz published in December 2019, Wickard spoke about the evolution of the business and his other business, retail software provider FieldStack.

Asked at the time about Bull Moose's advantage over Blockbuster and other rivals that went bust, he said, "We quickly realized that our edge is community ... So really paying attention to what people are buying, and who's buying it, and we adapt."

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June 15, 2021

does anyone know when its gonna open?

June 14, 2021

$1 per house seems a little low....

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