One of the Lowcountry’s largest grocery chains until three years ago has sold off its last remaining corporate-owned store in the Charleston area.
David and Haley Smith of Goose Creek recently bought the former Piggly Wiggly Carolina-owned supermarket at 6251 Highway 162 in Hollywood for undisclosed terms. The buyers also have upgraded the Charleston County store and are marking its reopening this month.
“We had some people come in and give us a face-lift,” he said Wednesday. “We freshened up the store to give it a cleaner look.”
Smith said he worked for Piggly Wiggly Carolina for 20 years as an assistant produce manager. For the past 18 months, he worked as the wholesale manager of perishable merchandising for New Hampshire-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, which supplies Piggly Wiggly supermarkets and others.
He said he wanted to strike out on his own after working most of his adult life in the industry. The couple formed Palmetto Grocers LLC to acquire the Hollywood store.
The updated supermarket features new dining options, added variety, more staff and a separate drug store owned by Delta Pharmacy. The buggy corral, once outside along the sidewalk, is now inside in the vestibule. Drink and ice machines were moved outside.
The store will host giveaways every Saturday through July 30, with prizes including a Brinkman grill, Miller Lite tailgate chair and umbrella speaker set, a Grizzly cooler, and a 40-inch-screen TV.
Also, the grocer will host block parties July 23 and July 30. It’s open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
David Schools, president of Greenbax Enterprises and affiliate Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., declined to comment on the sale, announced Wednesday.
The employee-owned chain ran into financial trouble and sold off most of its supermarkets to larger rivals Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter in 2013. Piggly Wiggly Carolina and some of its management are being sued in federal court by several former workers and stockholders over lost retirement benefits.
According to its website, the company is down to one corporate-owned store — in Myrtle Beach. Most of the other Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in South Carolina belong to independent operators.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.