The History of Piggly Wiggly
Piggly Wiggly®, America's first true self-service grocery store, was founded in Memphis, Tenn. in 1916 by Clarence Saunders. In grocery stores of that time, shoppers presented their orders to clerks who gathered the goods from the store shelves. He developed a way for shoppers to serve themselves.
Saunders’ first store opened September 6, 1916 at 79 Jefferson Street in Memphis. Operating under the unusual name Piggly Wiggly, it was unlike any other grocery store of that time. There were shopping baskets, open shelves and no clerks to shop for the customer – all unheard of!
Piggly Wiggly's introduction of self-service grocery shopping truly revolutionized the grocery industry. In fact, many of the conveniences and services that American shoppers now enjoy were introduced first by Piggly Wiggly®.
Piggly Wiggly was the FIRST to…
provide checkout stands.
price mark every item in the store.
give shoppers more for their food dollar through high volume/low profit margin retailing.
feature a full line of nationally advertised brands.
use refrigerated cases to keep produce fresher longer.
put employees in uniforms for cleaner, more sanitary food handling.
design and use patented fixtures and equipment throughout the store.
franchise independent grocers to operate under the self-service method of food merchandising.
Piggly Wiggly Corporation, established by Saunders when he opened the first store in Memphis, secured the self-service format and issued franchises to hundreds of grocery retailers for the operation of Piggly Wiggly stores.
Today there are more than 600 Piggly Wiggly stores serving communities in 17 states. All Piggly Wiggly stores are independently owned and operated, and are located primarily throughout the Southeast and as far north as Wisconsin.
We continue to pride ourselves on quality customer service, and to this day, still carry groceries out for our customers, giving them full service. An act that is virtually unheard of in this day in time.
To provide our customers with a clean, fully-stocked and well-merchandised store offering the highest quality products and values in an appealing, friendly, service-oriented environment with a strong commitment to our communities and associates.