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Whatever Happened To Piggly Wiggly?

Via YouTube
Via YouTube

Here’s two words you don’t hear much anymore.

Piggly Wiggly.

A few of us were visiting here at the radio ranch that is Results Radio/Townsquare Media the other day (Research, boss, we were doing research), just kind of shootin’ the breeze when for some reason I mentioned that as a kid my folks would go to Piggly Wiggly for groceries.

From a couple of the younger guys I got the ‘deer in the headlights’ look. ‘Piggly what? Huh?’

So once again I was reminded that despite my devastatingly good looks, despite my beautifully sculpted bald head, despite my unlimited vim and vigor (OK, at least vim), I am indeed wearing an older person’s skin.

It seemed like, in ‘the old days’, just about any town of a certain size had a Piggly Wiggly grocery store. For our little southwest Minnesota farm family, it was Pipestone…or maybe Luverne. It’s been a few years since those days, so the ‘ol memory is a little foggy, but it was one or the other (maybe both!). And I’ll bet there was one near you, too!

Anyway, it seems like the competition was Piggly Wiggly or Red Owl (Red Owl! There’s another one!). So, as with an increasing number of things at my age, I wondered….whatever happened to??

Figuring they had long ago moved into the dust bin of history, I was surprised when I Googled them. (That’s about all I know with this new internet thing, Google)

My goodness, Piggly Wiggly is some 600 stores strong in 17 states according to their website. 

So I looked and looked and looked…and found out that a vast majority of those stores are down south. I mean down south! Looked to me like Alabama has about a hundred Piggly Wiggly’s. They’re in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana.  And what about ’round these parts?

Well, Minnesota has two, one in Duluth (maybe my niece shops there) and one in International Falls (the one place that is, yes, colder than Duluth!). Nothing for either Dakota, Iowa or Nebraska. Apparently in the few (yeah) years since I was a kid, Piggly Wiggly became snowbird’s.

Well, i hope they’re doing well. Piggly Wiggly is a warm memory from ‘back in the day’.

But what about Red Owl? Well, we’ll check that later.

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