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Discount grocer Lidl shelves months-long plan to take over Columbia's 'Social Pig'

Piggly Wiggly (copy)

Despite legal applications in 2020 for a Lidl store, the downtown Piggly Wiggly on Devine Street in Columbia is staying in place.  File/Mike Fitts/Staff

COLUMBIA — Discount grocery chain Lidl has backed off from its plans to replace a Piggly Wiggly store on Devine Street in Columbia.

Talks that lasted months among German-based grocer Lidl, the owner of the Piggly Wiggly store commonly known as the “Social Pig,” and the owners of the building have ended without reaching a deal​, The Post and Courier has learned from a source with knowledge of the negotiations. 

Lidl had gone as far as to seek city permission for new signage and a liquor store.

Asked about its Devine Street plans, Lidl spokeswoman Chandler Ebeier said only, "We are looking at a number of sites in the Columbia area."

Piggly Wiggly store manager Darrell Miller has said consistently that he had no plans for the store to move and that it had lease options extending years into the future.

Miller and the property owners, the Derrick family, did not return calls seeking comment May 5. 

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In 2020, a real estate group representing Lidl sought approval from the city to change the signage on the "Social Pig" store at 3818 Devine St. to the discount grocery chain. That change was approved by the Columbia Planning Commission last September.

An application to the Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals also was approved to add a small Lidl liquor store to the building.

The store has been a mainstay of the Shandon and Sherwood Forest neighborhoods for decades, and many residents were unhappy over talk that the end might be near for the "Social Pig," called that because it is such a crossroads where neighbors meet.

Some had objected to the idea of the discount grocer taking over a classic Southern grocery store. Others were enthusiastic about Lidl, which like its German peer Aldi, has a business model of having some special goods and household items available for a limited time. 

Lidl has two stores in the Midlands, one on Sunset Boulevard in Lexington and the other in northeast Richland near The Summit neighborhood. 

Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikefittsat140

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