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An employee at the closed store on James Island in 2013. File/Staff

The Post and Courier’s investigation into the demise of Piggly Wiggly Carolina, “Stickin’ With the Pig," is a finalist for the 2018 Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, the highest honor in business journalism.

Other co-finalists in the features category include The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Atlantic. Winners will be announced in June.

Written and reported by Tony Bartelme, "Stickin’ With the Pig” exposed how officials with the iconic Piggly Wiggly Carolina grocery chain carted away millions of dollars, leaving its employee-owners with depleted retirement accounts.

“We’re excited for Tony and honored to be recognized for the commitment our locally owned news organization has made to quality, in-depth local journalism,” said Mitch Pugh, executive editor of The Post and Courier.

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Earlier this year, the American Society of News Editor gave Bartelme its Deborah Howell Award for Writing Excellence, one of the nation’s top writing honors, for “Stickin’ With the Pig." The story also was a finalist for the Nieman Foundation’s Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism. (Existing Piggly Wiggly stores are no longer associated with Piggly Wiggly Carolina.)

In 2008, Bartelme won a Gerald Loeb Award for a series about the effects of China’s growth on local economies.

The Gerald Loeb Award is presented by UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.