LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Monday marked day five of the strike at Stop and Shop stores throughout New England.

The grocery store chain and the union representing it's employees still have not come to an agreement.

Both sides were back at it today, trying to hammer out a deal.

In the meantime, each day the strike continues, more and more customers are forced to try competing grocery stores. It's a fact not lost on at least one family-run market in Longmeadow.

Striking Stop and Shop employees in Agawam were out in the driving rain Monday for day five of the strike organized by United Food and Commercial Workers international union, which represents some 30,000 Stop and Shop employees in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The union is asking for, among other things, increased pay and health insurance.

Representatives of both sides told Western Mass News that negotiators failed to reach an agreement over the weekend and continue today.

Inside Armata's Supermarket in Longmeadow, assistant manager Thomas Aiello told Western Mass News that since the strike began, it's been packed.

"Oh, I'd say 15 to 20 percent easily easily. A lot of customers say they've haven't been here forever," Aiello explained.

Armata's is a family-run business. In a world of big supermarket chains, Aiello said that while they'd never wish ill on a competitor, "It's a plus for us. It's Easter week. I mean, it's Easter Sunday. We're picking up extra business but we'll take it."

The extra business does not come without it's challenges.

"Yah, absolutely. We've had to get extra orders, extra people helping up front," Aiello said.

More shoppers, Aiello said, means more inventory and more hours for staff.

Katelyn Michaels said that she likes the change of pace of what a smaller market offers.

"I think it's just nice to come and get your groceries and see the same people. They're always friendly," Michaels noted.

While negotiations continue down the road at Stop and Shop, staff at Armata's hopes once customers come, they'll come back.

"So you know, hopefully they come back after when they see what we offer," Aiello explained.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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