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'Falling flat on our faces was humbling' | Bull Moose store apologizes after dispute with workers over mask policy

"Falling flat on our faces was humbling - but we're determined to have our mistakes become a transformative event for Bull Moose," the company's founder wrote.

SALEM, New Hampshire — In mid-May, multiple former employees of the Bull Moose store in Salem, NH, said the entire staff was terminated following a dispute over the store's changing mask policy. Now, the company's founder has apologized, and said in a tweet Friday that the store has offered every employee their job back.

Bull Moose is a retail chain in Maine and New Hampshire that sells music, movies, and video games in a variety of formats, as well as books and gifts.

"A few weeks ago, Bull Moose suddenly terminated 20 people in Salem - and while that really didn't sound like us, it was, and we must take responsibility for that," Bull Moose founder Brett Wickard wrote in a statement posted on the company's Twitter account. "We pride ourselves on building community and acting with empathy, yet we failed on both those counts."

Wickard said every Salem employee has been offered their job back with backpay, and added the company has made a commitment to accelerating companywide raises so that all employees can earn at least $15 per hour by June of 2022. He indicated in his statement that the "team chose to return."

"Falling flat on our faces was humbling - but we're determined to have our mistakes become a transformative event for Bull Moose," Wickard continued. "Thank you to our staff, in Salem and beyond, and to our community for letting us know how far we strayed from being the company you expect us to be."

On Saturday, May 22, former employee Andrew Bove posted on Twitter: "Bull Moose has fired the entire staff of the Salem location because we disagreed with their decision to end the store's mask mandate in spite of their being a continuing pandemic. People whose lives depend on this job have been abandoned." 

In addition to speaking with Bove, NEWS CENTER Maine connected with several other former store employees who corroborated that the entire team of 20 employees had been fired, saying they believed it was related to a dispute over the store's plan to lift its mask requirement beginning Monday, May 24.

Employees also shared the email they received from Bull Moose CFO Chris Brown, notifying them of their termination, which was "effective immediately." 

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu lifted the state's mask mandate on Saturday, April 17, making it the first state in New England do so. Maine's mask mandate was lifted on Monday, May 24.

RELATED: Bull Moose store fires all workers after dispute over mask policy, according to former employees

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story below aired Saturday, May 22, 2021.