Piggly Wiggly

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mike and Susan Reed along with deli manager Jennifer Marquez (right) “guestimate” order quantities last week while getting ready to open the new Piggly Wiggly in Gateway Shopping Center at the Hwy. 6/278 and 51 intersection. The store opens Wednesday, June 1. The opening follows months of remodeling in the building that will double the store’s size over the current location allowing additional services and inventory. (Please see additional coverage and advertisement inside.) The Panolian photo

Piggly Wiggly opens Wednesday in big, new store


(Correction: The photo caption on the front page of Tuesday’s print edition named the wrong day of the week for Piggly Wiggly’s opening. It is Wednesday.)

On Wednesday morning, shoppers will get their first inside view of the relocated, enlarged and expanded Batesville grocery store they have come to affectionately call “the Pig.”

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Store owner Mike Reed has judiciously guarded until today the announcement of the opening date, but as the day has approached he’s been almost bursting to tell about all of the new space, new features and increased selection that customers will find.

Every store department has been expanded and new departments added. There are more meats, produce, frozen foods, groceries and dairy selections in their respective departments. There is a new floral department, a new bakery/deli and a new beer department.

And wide, spacious aisles.

“We’re aware of our old store being cramped,” Reed said of the store building one-quarter mile north on Highway 51 that Piggly Wiggly will vacate at the close of business on Tuesday.

Customers visiting the new store at the Gateway Plaza Shopping Center at the intersection of Highways 6 and 51 will find more room both inside and outside. The parking area is larger, solving another dilemma Reed faced in his old location. At the new store, not only is there more parking available, there are more entrances to the parking lot.

On the inside of the new store, customers will find that Piggly Wiggly has been certified to sell Certified Angus Beef®.

“Only three percent of the cattle in the U. S. qualify for processing to be sold as Certified Angus Beef®,” Reed said.

“We’ll be able to sell it at or close to regular beef prices. They’re going to have a chance to buy premium grade beef at a price they would buy regular beef for,” the store owner continued.

New store logistics will allow trucks to off-load meat in refrigerated conditions, keeping the product fresher because it remains cooler.  The meat department with its Butcher Shoppe and display of cold cuts and specialty meats occupies most of the east end of a store that is “doubled in size” from the old location, Reed said.

Customers will not only get an eyeful as they visit. There will likely be an enticing aroma from the bakery/deli department filling the store. It could be chicken cooking in the rotisserie or bread, cookies, cakes and pies baking. “You name it!” Reed said.

Bakery customers will be able to select from the mouth-watering cakes prepared by Sugaree’s Bakery, the small batch bakery in New Albany that creates cakes, brownies, bars and cookies so rich and moist they bring back the memories of the great cooks of generations gone by whose skills were thought to have passed on with them — until now.

Fresh produce — always attractively displayed at the old location — will appear even more appealing in the new store’s expanded produce department where it awaits customers under a colorful mural. Among the many new items available there will be flowers from Piggly Wiggly’s new floral department.

Shoppers will find more grocery products on more aisles as they walk through the new Piggly Wiggly. There’s even a whole, long aisle devoted to items priced at $1. “Every item is a dollar,” Reed said.

More selections of frozen foods await shoppers in the expanded frozen food department.

Shoppers for dairy items will find the products behind glass doors where the cold air to keep them fresh is contained more efficiently, the store owner said. The wide selection will include fine cheeses and butters in addition to milk and other dairy products.

The “Beer Cave” features domestic and imported beer sold from closed coolers located in a refrigerated room. Again, the arrangement keeps the cold air contained next to the product where it does the most good instead of escaping into the building.

The floor plan and staffing at the new store will continue the emphasis on the customer service that built Piggly Wiggly’s reputation. There will be more checkouts and a troop of young men always ready to carry shoppers’ groceries.

In addition to the colorful displays, increased selection and delightful aromas customers will encounter, there are many features that will go mostly unnoticed but also make Reed beam with pride.

Every handle that a customer touches to open a freezer or refrigerator door in the new Piggly Wiggly has been developed by Microban® which incorporates multiple technologies to keep the surface germ free, Reed said.

“Have you ever seen a grocery store’s motor room?” Reed asked.

The motor room is the area that houses the cooling equipment required to keep frozen food frozen and refrigerated foods at their right temperature. Normally an entire room at the back of the store is required to house the motors, fans and refrigeration equipment used for cooling the store’s product.

At the new Piggly Wiggly, the “motor room” is within a sheet metal enclosure built atop the refrigerated portion of the Butcher Shoppe. Within the metal enclosure is technology that allows the new store to incorporate state-of-the-art protocol for reducing energy costs in the new building. The fan motors used in refrigeration now produce little or no heat, Reed explained, breaking the cycle where cooling equipment gives off heat while producing cool and working against itself as a result.

LED lights bathe the store’s interior, providing bright illumination at a fraction of the cost of the fluorescent lighting used in the old building, Reed said.

“It’s about keeping down overhead; everything starts with keeping down overhead,” the store owner said.

Lower overhead allows the lower prices for shoppers that has brought Piggly Wiggly the success that has required and enabled its move to a new, much larger store.