BIDDEFORD — The fight over who will run the Market Basket grocery chain spread Saturday to the Biddeford store’s produce department.

By Sunday, it could be into the dairy cases, the assistant manager of the store said, and the deli and regular grocery aisles by midweek.

Keith McGee said the dispute, which has led many workers to walk off the job at the chain’s warehouse in Massachusetts, has disrupted deliveries and is resulting in rapidly clearing shelves. The last delivery to the Biddeford store was on Thursday, he said, and the store usually gets a trailerload every day and two on Saturdays.

By Saturday afternoon, the produce department was cleaned out in whole sections. A large section devoted to prepared salads was empty and workers were cleaning empty produce trays rather than restocking them. Large gaps were showing up on the meat shelves.

The reason behind the emptying shelves is a fight over the decision by the family-owned company’s board last month to fire Market Basket President Arthur T. Demoulas. It was the latest act in a decades-long fight between two family factions for control of the chain.

Employees say they support Demoulas for his personal touch – tales of him visiting ill employees in hospitals abound – his vow to keep the chain family-owned and, not least, his commitment to support a company fund that pays annual bonuses to employees. They worry that their new leaders will cut pay and benefits and sell the chain, although the company’s new leaders said they remain committed to customers and workers.

A majority of the board said they fired Demoulas because of overspending and ignoring board directives, while Demoulas said his detractors on the board are more interested in pulling down big dividend payments than in taking care of employees and customers, according to The Associated Press.

In Biddeford, McGee said he and fellow employees remember Demoulas spending all day at the store during its grand opening last July, talking to workers and customers.

On Saturday, a picture of Demoulas over a quote about loyalty was on both entrances to the Biddeford store. Just inside, another picture of Demoulas was posted on a board, along with a letter from employees explaining the job actions, apologizing for inconveniences to customers and ending with a vow to keep protesting “until we get our company back.” Nearly every employee, including the managers, wore buttons with Demoulas’ picture and the words “I Believe” underneath.

McGee said the company’s headquarters hasn’t told him to take down the signs and he’s not sure what he will do if he is directed to do so, but he said he supports Demoulas’ reinstatement. He noted that hourly employees and salaried workers alike are behind the effort to bring Demoulas back.

The company’s two new co-chief executive officers sent an email Thursday to workers, telling them they would be fired if they refused to do their jobs, but they didn’t say anything about the public displays of support for Demoulas. The company said the board will hold a telephone conference Monday and a meeting this coming Friday to discuss the employee protests.

In the parking lot in Biddeford on Saturday, many customers said they were unaware of the dispute before visiting the store and weren’t sure whose side they should be supporting.

Freda Stanton of Old Orchard Beach said she worries that the argument could lead to Market Basket’s demise.

“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened in Biddeford,” she said, noting that she’s been shopping at the chain’s stores for decades, going back to when she lived in Massachusetts. “I hope it doesn’t close down.”

Stanton said she supports Demoulas, as does Nathan Williams of Standish, who was impressed by the workers’ unity.

“I can’t help but support that,” he said, but added that the dispute meant he would have to shop at his local Hannaford store to complete his shopping list for the week.

The same was true for Julie Scott of Limington.

“I went in mostly for produce, but I just got a couple of apples and bread,” she lamented.