Back in business
The 5 local former Piggly Wiggly stores that are reopening as Bi-Lo on Friday are:
445 Meeting St., Charleston
630 Skylark Drive, West Ashley
9616 Highway 78, Ladson
3575 Maybank Highway, Johns Island
104 Jungle Road, Edisto Beach
“The Electric Slide” boomed from the speakers Thursday at the new Bi-Lo on 445 Meeting St. as employees line danced in front of the cash registers during a break.
The crew that once wore red Piggly Wiggly aprons were now cloaked in Bi-Lo green, but the lively attitude that has long characterized the store on Columbus and Meeting streets may not have changed with the name.
The store is one of five local Piggly Wiggly’s that closed Nov. 2 for a week of updating the stores to the Bi-Lo brand. The supermarkets are reopening at 7 a.m. Friday.
Citing intense competitive pressures from larger rivals, Piggly Wiggly announced in September that it was selling 29 of its stores, including more than half its Lowcountry stores, to Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter. Harris Teeter picked up seven in the Charleston area for an undisclosed price. Bi-Lo acquired 22, which includes five locally, for about $35 million.
Friday marks the first time in 66 years that a grocery store other than Piggly Wiggly has occupied the corner of Meeting and Columbus streets.
Jared Lott, who has operated the store for the past eight years, said the whole staff of the former Piggly Wiggly will keep working at Bi-Lo.
That includes co-operator D’Shawn Smith, who will still entertain shoppers with his lively announcements over the store’s public address system.
“The staff is pleased to move in a new direction and very happy to represent this community,” Lott said. “We’re proud that we’re able to still do it.”
All but one former Piggly Wiggly store is now operating under its new owner’s name. A James Island store at 1739 Maybank Highway is undergoing a complete remodel and will reopen as Harris Teeter in “late” 2014, according to a flier sent out to residents of that area.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail