Piggly Wiggly is a supermarket chain operating in the Midwestern and Southern regions of the United States, run by Piggly Wiggly, LLC, an affiliate of C&S Wholesale Grocers. The current company headquarters is in Keene, New Hampshire. Presently, more than 600 independently owned Piggly Wiggly stores operate in 17 states, primarily in smaller cities and towns.

Piggly Wiggly was the first true self-service grocery store. It was founded on September 6, 1916, at 79 Jefferson Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, by Clarence Saunders. A replica of the original store has been constructed in the Memphis Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium, a mansion that Saunders built as his private residence, and was later sold to the city.

Piggly Wiggly Corporation secured the self-service format and issued franchises to hundreds of grocery retailers for the operation of its stores. The concept of the “self-serving store” was patented by Saunders in 1917. Customers at Piggly Wiggly entered the store through a turnstile and walked through four aisles to view the store’s 605 items sold in packages and organized into departments. The customers selected merchandise as they continued through the maze to the cashier. Instantly, packaging and brand recognition became important to companies and consumers.

There are presently more than 600 independently owned and operated stores in 17 states. The company headquarters are located in Keene, New Hampshire. Some of the stores have formed a retailers’ cooperative to manage distribution, while using the Piggly Wiggly name (e.g., Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company, and Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co.). Piggly Wiggly stores are found predominantly in medium to smaller size cities, and remain a fixture in many rural communities. In many of the larger cities and more metropolitan areas within the company’s territory (especially in the faster growing regions), competitive national grocery chains have built larger supermarkets with greater variety and selection than Piggly Wiggly, targeting a more upscale clientele. In response, Piggly Wiggly has developed a loyalty card discount membership program similar to many other national merchants.

Source: www.wikipedia.org

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