Lewisville shoppers mourn loss of Piggly Wiggly (The Dallas Morning News)
LEWISVILLE – The neighborhood Piggly Wiggly in Lewisville's Old Town closed last week after more than 40 years in the city.
To many – especially in the South – Piggly Wiggly has always been more than a store with a funny name. Its creation revolutionized how Americans buy groceries. And in the 90 years it's been around, the Pig has wiggled its way into Southern culture and become an emblem of small-town life.
Memphis entrepreneur Clarence Saunders opened the first Piggly Wiggly in 1916, and it was an immediate success. Back then, people would hand clerks their lists and the employees would pull groceries from shelves behind a counter.
But Mr. Saunders envisioned a self-service approach. In his stores, customers walked through a turnstile and down four aisles where they picked out their own merchandise. The way the stores were designed, everyone had to walk by all the merchandise before they got to the checkout stands, which were also a new idea.
"This, of course, encouraged impulse buying," Mr. Brister said.
It also led manufactures to start thinking about their packaging, since customers were for the first time pulling things off the shelf for themselves. The approach brought down operational costs, since fewer clerks were required, people paid cash instead of maintaining store accounts, and the store didn't deliver the groceries to people's homes.
Number of stores: About 600 in 16 states