Shoppers flock to Piggly Wiggly for Southside opening
By MarKeith Cromartie
The overflowing parking lot was the first sign that something grand was happening in the Southside Shopping Plaza. A clearer message was sent by the number of packed shopping carts being pushed out of the new Piggly Wiggly.
Thousands of southside residents packed the grocery store throughout the day for its grand opening late last week. Every aisle was crammed as shoppers hunted through each section looking for the bargain prices that the Piggly Wiggly stores are known for.
Deep in the back of the store, the biggest crowd was in the meat section.
“This is really good,” one customer was heard saying about prices in the meat section.
Prior to the new store’s opening, fans of the Piggly Wiggly had to travel to Quincy. It’s the only other Piggly Wiggly location in the area. Owner Roy Moore has been planning the Tallahassee opening for more than three months in the space once occupied by Harvey’s Market.
Tallahassee’s Michael Hunter said he likes the convenience of a shorter drive to the grocery store.
“We usually go over to Quincy to shop and I’m glad he (Moore) decided to open up a store here in Tallahassee,” Hunter said. “It’s more convenient for us.”
Moore personally tried to greet every customer, standing not too far from the entrance. Shoppers also had an opportunity to rub shoulders with popular radio personality Joe Bullard and County Commissioner Bill Proctor.
Joe Bullard has long been the voice of Piggly Wiggly’s commercials. He didn’t need a script on opening day.
“It’s beautiful,” Bullard said. “It’s been long waited, especially on this side of town.”
Not far from where Moore stood is a FAMU Hall of Fame of sorts. Pictures of athletic greats like Clemon Johnson and Andre Dawson. It’s all part of the hominess that Moore wants his customers to feel.
“Piggly Wiggly coming to Tallahassee is very important,” said Moore. “We had a chance to appease the community and we took advantage of it.”
He apparently didn’t cut any corners, judging from the freshness of vegetables in the produce department that greets customers. On the opposite side, shoppers had a choice of cooked food in the deli, where long lines waited for a taste of the menu.
“It feels good,” said Cylvia Merritt, a first-time Piggly Wiggly shopper. “It’s cheap and reasonable. I love it.”
Convenience is one other thing that delights shoppers, especially for those on the southside where their only choices were Winn Dixie or Save-A-Lot.
Now they have another choice that Moore is happy to provide.
“We are locally owned,” he said, pride ringing in his voice. “We give great service to our customers and we have the best prices in the city.