In the early 1900s, budding Memphis entrepreneur Clarence Saunders worked in grocery sales and came up with the idea of a self-service store. In 1916, he opened his first Piggly Wiggly – the first of its kind to offer checkout stands, open shelves and shopping baskets.
By the mid-1920s, Piggly Wiggly was the nation’s third largest grocery chain, with stores in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington. Eventually hundreds more would span the state.
Many storefronts have closed in recent decades, but Piggly Wiggly’s devoted customer base remains. There are still around 60 locations in North Carolina – mostly in smaller, rural towns.
– Kristie Coggins, The 100 Companies