Wegmans has the sizzle while Market Basket burns

As the Arthur S. Demoulas clan continues to fiddle while the Market Basket legacy burns, there is another entrant quietly moving into in the lucrative Massachusetts grocery store sector.

This fall, Wegmans, a popular, upscale supermarket chain will land on Market Basket’s turf in Burlington. The chain, which already has a store in Chestnut Hill, will also open a store in Westwood. (Alas, no stores in once-again-slighted western Massachusetts.)

Wegmans is probably not what Burlington’s Market Basket budget-conscious customers have in mind. Wegmans owes more to Whole Foods’ “whole paycheck” moniker than it does to the “more for your dollar” promise that Arthur T. Demoulas partisans cherish.

Market Basket’s current Union Square location in the quickly gentrifying Somerville neighborhood would be another good metro Boston catch for Wegmans if the company decides to expand beyond its currently planned 10 stores in the Northeast.

Boston Globe business columnist Shirley Leung notes the decision to sell is often difficult for family-based chains, unless, like the Big Y group in western Mass., families get past personal politics and act like big food companies by purchasing smaller stores.

But Wegmans, based in Rochester, New York, is just one of the chains that may stand to benefit if Market Basket collapses. Surprisingly, Leung doesn’t mention the most recently departed family-run chain, Chelsea’s Johnnie’s Foodmaster, which closed its doors two years ago after selling off most of its stores to Whole Foods.

Some upmarket retailers have an excellent sense of timing as demographics shift in their favor. Arlington is case in point: A Whole Foods moved into the former Foodmaster location in a town that continues to shed lower- and middle-income shoppers for more upscale denizens. The company also moved into a former Foodmaster location near Inman Square in Somerville. (Stop and Shop moved into another Somerville Foodmaster store on the Arlington border.)

Some Market Basket employees may fear that one of the new executive directors, Felicia Thornton, could steer the chain down a Foodmaster-to-Whole Foods road or worse. Thornton, a former executive vice president and chief financial officer, was a key player in the sale of Albertsons Supermarket to a Minnesota-based grocery chain, CVS, and a private equity firm. She earned $17.2 million after the company folded.

How this exceptionally messy family affair ends is anyone’s guess. According to the Globe, the spotlight now centers on still another family member, Arthur T.’s sister-in-law Rafaela Evans.

Other grocery retailers are no doubt waiting in the wings to snatch up some tasty morsels if Arthurs S. and T. can’t get their collective acts together and resolve their billion-dollar blood feud. But it should be noted that if the question is where do Market Basket customers go should the chain fail, Wegmans is not the answer.

–GABRIELLE GURLEY

BEACON HILL

Gov. Deval Patrick signs legislation authorizing a $1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention Center, the Associated Press reports.

A bill pending in the Legislature would aid homeowners who bought foreclosed houses in securing clear title to their property, but some are warning that it will hurt those who fall into trouble on their mortgage payments.

A second trial looms in the Probation Department corruption scandal, but will it happen? CommonWealth has some answers. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh defends convicted ex-Probation boss John O’Brien, saying he doesn’t think O’Brien’s actions in overseeing the department’s rigged hiring system were criminal and that “the system got the better of him.” Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker tells Broadside’s Jim Braude that O’Brien did commit a crime and tried to cover it up. The Patriot Ledger editorial page calls for House Speaker Robert DeLeo to allow the GOP call for a legislative hearing into his and others actions, saying the public deserves to know what went on and give DeLeo a chance to actually clear himself if he did nothing wrong.

Writing in CommonWealth, NRA and Gun Owners’ Action League member William Matthews says the Legislature will risk a constitutional challenge that could upend the state’s tough gun laws if it passes the House version of pending legislation giving local police chiefs discretion over who can legally own rifles and shotguns.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Kingston town assessor has been charged with lowering the value of his own home in an effort to reduce his property tax bill.

Ted Landsmark , announced yesterday as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh‘s new pick to serve on the Boston Redevelopment Authority board, was fired last week from his position as president of the Boston Architectural College.

Interim Brockton Police Chief Robert Hayden, returning to work for the first time since a horrific bicycle accident in June that left him hospitalized for weeks, was sworn in for the fourth time since his selection in January.

CASINOS

The earnings calls for Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts, the two companies vying for the eastern Massachusetts casino license, are very different. Wynn Resorts had good news to report, while Mohegan officials said their news was “less than stellar,” CommonWealth reports.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

A new poll indicates 53 percent of Americans feel no moral obligation to house undocumented children crossing into the country, the Associated Press reports. Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone says there is a moral obligation. CommonWealth’s Gabrielle Gurley explored the reactions of Boston minority community leaders to the crisis earlier this week.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The state’s population growth spurt after years of stagnation has been a boon for development but Greater Boston looks at the cost it is taking in the loss of open space.

In other Market Basket news:Theboard of directors says it’s continuing to ponder offers from suitors, including ousted former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. The Eagle-Tribune reports that the offer from Arthur T. is the only one the board is seriously considering.

Rep. John Keenan of Salem is stepping down August 24 to take a job as vice president at Salem State University, the Salem News reports.

Charter school advocates , frustrated by the Legislature’s resistance to expansion, begin considering mounting a ballot campaign in 2016, State House News reports.

A Princeton professor decries the latest offering in the ridiculous college rankings racket: A Money magazine rubric that uses post-graduation salaries as a key variable. (Princeton still ranks near the top.) Probably not scoffing at the new listicle is Babson College in Wellesley, which notched the No. 1 position.

HEALTH CARE

Paul Levy draws attention to a growing concern in hospitals — the increasing number, likely underreported, of patients being set on fire in operating rooms.

Boston hospitals are preparing for the possible need to treat Ebola virus carried here by travelers from West Africa.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

In a major rift between the Patrick administration and environmental groups, three environmental leaders have quit an administration advisory committee , saying state energy policies are moving in the wrong direction when it comes to combating greenhouse gases and climate change.

A new report says there is a lack of diversity in environmental groups, including government, because of “unconscious bias, discrimination, and insular recruiting.”

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The Justice Department sues the Pennsylvania State Police, arguing that fitness tests for new recruits discriminate against women, the Associated Press reports.

A SWAT team responded to a home invasion in East Bridgewater where masked men allegedly broke in, tied up several victims, and pistol-whipped one man in order to steal an expensive sneaker collection.

MEDIA

Ad revenue , and particularly print revenue, dip at the New York Times, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports. The Columbia Journalism Review says the newspaper’s expanded paywall offerings are off to a poor start.