Less than a week after Piggly Wiggly announced that it will sell more than half of its corporate-owned stores, the Charleston-based grocer said it will close its Northbridge store in West Ashley.
Workers at the 32,400-square-foot store at 14 Sumar St., between Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Old Towne Road, and Piggly Wiggly spokesman Christopher Ibsen confirmed Tuesday that the store will close. No closing date has been announced.
On Thursday, Piggly Wiggly announced that it is selling 22 corporate-owned stores to Bi-Lo and seven corporate-owned stores to Harris Teeter. There was no mention of closing the Northbridge store last week.
“It was not announced last week, both because the store employees had not yet been informed and because the decision was made independently of the purchase agreements reached with Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter,” Ibsen said.
The Northbridge store, which opened in 1974, made this announcement on its Facebook page early Tuesday before it was yanked from the web:
“In an effort to be honest to our tremendously loyal group of followers, we regret to inform you all that we’ve been given the word that the Northbridge Piggly Wiggly will be closing. We do not have many details at this time as to when the closing will take place, but we will post any and all updates here where our closest friends are. It’s a very sad day for us. We truly hope that you all know how very special each and every one of you is to us. Thank you always for your support.”
Comments on the Facebook page before it was taken down ranged from sadness to shock and anger. Some of them expressed outrage with Piggly Wiggly management.
“My family has been Northbridge Piggly Wiggly customers since the store was built,” Miriam Bumgarner wrote. “It is truly a sad day for us to find that ‘our’ store is closing.”
Scott Davis wrote, “Great, just what West Ashley needs — another vacant building... This is a travesty and a slap in the face to not only West Ashley but all of Charleston.”
Shelby Harward wrote, “Wow, are you serious? I thought Northbridge was in the clear. So sad.” She was referring to the store not being listed among those sold last week.
Jean Louisa Steele said, “I am so sad that I’m rippin’ mad about this.”
Debbie Brown wrote, “This is an atrocity. I think I’m going to cry.”
Longtime shoppers in the store Tuesday afternoon expressed consternation with the move.
“I’m upset about it,” said Anne Chassereau of West Ashley. “We have too many vacant buildings in West Ashley now. I would prefer they put another store in here rather than leave it empty.”
Glenda Boyle said, “I can’t imagine not having a Pig in West Ashley. It’s an icon in the South. I’m heartbroken.”
Geovennia Scott has never shopped anywhere else.
“It’s going to be an inconvenience for people who have always shopped at the Pig,” Scott said. “I don’t understand it. Piggly Wiggly is a good store.”
The Post and Courier has learned that Bi-Lo, which has a store next door to the Northbridge Piggly Wiggly, plans to buy the Sumar Street store site to keep a competitor from moving in. Bi-Lo will offer Piggly Wiggly employees at the store the opportunity to apply for jobs.
The sale and closing will leave Piggly Wiggly with 26 corporate-owned stores, about 10 of them in the Lowcountry, and inventory distribution to 31 other independently owned stores in South Carolina and coastal Georgia.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.