Hundreds of shoppers eager for a deal snaked around the Piggly Wiggly warehouse in Jedburg Thursday, waiting up to two and a half hours in 95-degree heat to take home deeply discounted items. They left with carts and dollies loaded with pounds of pigs' feet, cartons of cigarettes and boxes of feminine hygeine products labeled a "lifetime supply."
"This is definitely more people than we expected," said Christy Boudolf, a spokesperson for Piggly Wiggly. The supermarket chain, which has sold many of its Lowcountry locations to Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter, announced the warehouse would close in November. Shoppers looking for bulk items began showing up to the Summerville-area warehouse around 8 a.m., two hours before doors were set to open. When Boudolf arrived at 8:30 a.m., there were more than 100 cars lined up.
Shortly after noon, a line of 200 people long ran along the side of the warehouse. Some shoppers brought umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun, and one man waited shirtless. Piggly Wiggly employees distributed water to the bargain hunters waiting in line, and a pile of crumpled plastic bottles accumulated outside the warehouse entrance.
Paper goods like toilet paper and paper towels went the quickest, Boudolf said. Diapers and canned vegetables were also hot items. Shoppers could pay $50 for a "lifetime supply" of maxi pads that came in a 5-foot tall box or $10 for 24 cans of chicken noodle soup.
Ann Combes, a self-proclaimed "couponer" from Charleston who likes buying in bulk, pushed a dolly stacked high with cake mix, food dye and flavoring. She said the items were her best finds because she likes to bake.
Ashley Grooms, of Summerville, had a cart full of canned goods, including applesauce and green beans. She had waited in line for about two hours with her husband and their two children after arriving as doors opened at 10 a.m.
Whether the long wait was worth it depended from customer to customer. Grooms was satisfied with her haul, saying the jars and cans of food would last her family of four for "quite a while." Combes was on the fence; while she didn't get any canned corn like she had hoped, she was happy with the deals on food dye and flavoring.
The sale will continue today and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the warehouse at 1125 Newton Way, though Boudolf is unsure whether items will still be in stock toward the end of the sale.
"I'm not sure if we'll make it to Saturday," she said.
Reach Amanda Coyne at 937-5592 or on Twitter at @AmandaCCoyne