Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store, 106 S. Austin (at Madison), Oak Park, Illinois. 1926

Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store, 106 S Austin at Madison, Oak Park, Illinois. Chicago Daily News - 1926.
Piggly Wiggly was the first true self-service grocery store. It was founded on September 6, 1916 (although it did not open until five days later due to construction delays) at 79 Jefferson Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, by Clarence Saunders.

Piggly Wiggly was the first grocery store to:
  • Provide checkout stands.
  • Price mark every item in the store.
  • First to use shopping carts.
  • 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 fresh.
  • 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.
Clarence Saunders' (founder) reason for choosing the intriguing name "Piggly Wiggly" remains a mystery; he was curiously reluctant to explain its origin. One story says that, while riding a train, he looked out his window and saw several little pigs struggling to get under a fence, which prompted him to think of the rhyme.

Someone once asked him why he had chosen such an unusual name for his organization, to which he replied, "So people will ask that very question." Regardless of his inspiration, he succeeded in finding a name that would be talked about and remembered. 

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