Who knew the sale of a few supermarkets in the Lowcountry would become such a hot topic?
After Piggly Wiggly announced two weeks ago that it would sell 29 stores to Harris Teeter and Bi-Lo, and close two others, shoppers are still buzzing with questions about how they will be affected, and rightly so.
Will they keep the same employees? Will there be a hot food line? How about Mrs. Mac’s Chicken? Thanks to Brian Hicks, my colleague and “brother in fried chicken,” we know that Bi-Lo has it under consideration. (Note to Bi-Lo: keep Mrs. Mac’s Chicken).
But what about the meats to season those Sunday dinners of okra soup, lima beans and collards to go with the fried chicken?
‘One big happy family’
At the Meeting Street Piggly Wiggly, I chatted with shopper Daisy Washington, 75. She has lived on the East Side “all my life.”
Washington and her friend come to the The Pig “just about every day. Even if we just come and look around.”
It’s the only store where she shops.
Washington does wonder if she will be able to get smoked neck bones, ham hocks and pig tails to make her favorite soups. (Sounds like the home cooking I grew up with or Sunday dinner at Mom’s).
For many on the East Side who don’t have transportation, The Pig is their store of necessity. It’s the closest to the neighborhood.
Washington likes the variety of specialty foods there. Also, she likes that employees are courteous. “Everybody acts like we are one big, happy family.” She hopes Bi-Lo will keep the same employees.
Assistant market manager Jason Ridge said The Pig’s customers have nothing to worry about. As he restocks the smoked meats, Ridge said nothing will change.
He said store officials are working together to retain local vendors and maintain the same selections in the new store.
Bi-Lo is very receptive to “what we want,” including sales of local products, such as Murray’s Links, he said.
Also, Bi-Lo has a list of all local vendors the store does business with now, he said.
Meanwhile, many are enjoying the drastically reduced prices at these stores. Last Monday, the James Island store had long lines all day. I went by about 9:30 p.m. and could not get in; they had closed at 8 p.m. because of the lines.
About mid-afternoon Wednesday, the store had been nearly picked clean. The produce and meat sections had nothing left.
I walked down a few aisles and saw a few odds and ends. If you have the taste for it, there were plenty of 24-oz jars of whitefish and pike for $10.79; that’s $5.40 with half off.
Also, there were a few bottles of top-shelf water such as VOSS for $3.29. Ordinarily, I would not buy it, but at $1.66, well, I could afford to take a swig.
Scratch that off my bucket list.
So keep on the lookout for more sales at Piggly Wiggly stores. You may get lucky.
Meanwhile, Daisy Washington, what time is dinner?
Reach Assistant Features Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555, or firstname.lastname@example.org.