The intense competition and razor-thin margins of the supermarket business caught up with a longtime homegrown favorite in 2013.
In a dramatic and bittersweet retreat, the local Piggly Wiggly franchisee sold off 29 of its stores to two larger rivals, including most of the retail locations in its own backyard.
Bi-Lo snapped up 22 of the supermarkets in a deal valued at $35 million. Harris Teeter acquired the others, all in the Charleston area, for an undisclosed sum.
Charleston-based Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. Inc., which dates to 1947, was left with about two dozen corporate-owned supermarkets, including locations in North Charleston, Hollywood, Moncks Corner, Summerville and St. George.
A wave of consolidation has washed over the grocery industry in recent years, creating several big, deep-pocketed chains. That's made it more difficult for smaller, privately owned operators like Piggly Wiggly to compete with them on pricing and purchasing.
Roger McCain, construction manager with Bi-Lo, carted away one of two Piggly Wiggly logos removed from the facade of the Meeting Street store in downtown Charleston. That locale was one of 22 the Bi-Lo snapped up from Piggly Wiggly.×