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Home News-Telegram News Piggly Wiggly reopening Aug. 12; new proprietors say it will be only franchise operating in Texas

Piggly Wiggly reopening Aug. 12; new proprietors say it will be only franchise operating in Texas

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The Piggly Wiggly grocery store on Main Street will reopen next month under new owners who anticipate offering a variety of additional products at a lower cost. The Sulphur Springs store will be the only Piggly Wiggly franchise open in Texas, according to Jimmy Whittington, who now co-owns the business with his wife, Donna, and son Matthew.

The store was owned by Affiliated Foods Southwest in Little Rock, Ark., which closed May 8 and announced it was filing for a “liquidating” Chapter 11 bankruptcy, meaning the company planned to liquidate assets instead of restructuring to continue business. Affiliated’s liabilities at the time were $101.5 million compared to assets of $47.6 million.

Less than a week later, the approximately 30 employees in Sulphur Springs were told the store would close May 30 after being in operation for at least 55 years.

The four other remaining Piggly Wiggly stores in Texas were also notified they’d be going out of business soon. The last two reportedly closed June 13.

When it reopens for business on Aug. 12, Piggly Wiggly in Sulphur Springs will employ 30 to 35 people, with Jason York serving as manager. York previously worked at Tom Thumb and Kroger stores in Dallas.

The store is owned by Jimmy and Donna Whittington, and their son Matthew, who also have a small independent store in Atlanta where they live, and also operate a Piggly Wiggly store in Arkansas.

“We have a Piggly Wiggly in Stamps, Arkansas,” Jimmy Whittington said Monday. “I’m told we’re the closest one to this one. We have the franchise. We will be the only one in Texas. We have had a lot of calls from the area wanting the store open.”

After checking out the store, the Whittingtons, who have about 40 years of experience in the business, worked out the details to open Home Town Piggly Wiggly in Sulphur Springs.

Whittington still has a few positions to fill but has a core staff in place, many with faces that regular patrons will recognize from the employees’ previous years of service at the business.

“Most of the employees are back that want to come back,” Whittington said. “I’m impressed with things here — these are such good employees.”

While the main butcher won’t be part of the staff when the store opens Aug. 12, two others who worked directly under him for a number of years will operate the meat market.

“We’ll have a bigger selection of meat and produce, and a lot of other items, more than you had before,” he said. “We’ll have a bigger variety at cheaper prices — that’s the first thing you’ll notice.”

Whittington said the bigger selection of products overall is due largely to his supplier, AWG out of Fort Worth, the same company that supplies Albertsons stores.

“They’re closer, and their products are good,” he explained, adding that among the additional offerings will be more bakery-type items. He also indicated plans to expand the products targeted for the Hispanic market.

And, if shoppers have a hankering for an item they can’t find in the store or see something on a food channel that’s not available, Whittington encourages them to contact store officials to inquire about it.

“If we don’t have what they want, they can call me and we’ll get it if it’s available,” he said.

Whittington said he’d even heard from the daughter of the man who originally started the store in Sulphur Springs and whose husband took over from him. He said they’ve been very supportive.

 

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