Researched and Written by Lauren Mauldin
Before shopping carts and refrigerated cases became the norm in grocery stores, Piggly Wiggly completely revolutionized grocery shopping in 1916 with the first Piggly Wiggly store in Memphis, Tennessee. Clarence Saunders, owner of Piggly Wiggly, introduced the concept of “self-service,” allowing customers to select their own groceries instead of depending on a local grocer to collect a customer’s groceries. In fact, Piggly Wiggly introduced many conveniences we associate with grocery shopping today:
Check out counters
Individually priced items on open shelves
Full range of nationally advertised brands
Refrigerated cases for produce
Macon’s first Piggly Wiggly, and undoubtedly the earliest modern “self-service” grocery store in the city, opened at 460 Second Street on November 9, 1918.* This was also the second Piggly Wiggly to open in Georgia, with Columbus opening the first store in October 1918. The Macon franchise was so popular that it broke all Piggly Wiggly sales records by being the first store to have $10,000 in weekly sales. Apparently, Piggly Wiggly and its “self-service” shopping were so popular with Macon residents that a second Piggly Wiggly opened to “prevent crowding.” Piggly Wiggly remained at 460 Second Street until 1934 when it relocated to have more space. Despite its unassuming facade now, 468 Second Street is the site of the first Macon Piggly Wiggly and the introduction of modern grocery shopping in Macon.
*460 Second Street later changed to its current address 468 Second Street.
-Lauren Mauldin, Intern