No one really knows where the name Piggly Wiggly came from. The founder of the supermarket chain always declined to explain. In fact, in some cases, he simply said he chose that name because he wanted people to ask why it was named that.
Cryptic answers aside, a Piggly Wiggly application is your ticket to joining this incredibly important and historical supermarket chain. Many of the things we enjoy today at our local supermarkets are there because of this company. Join us as we explore the history and hiring process of this company, ultimately giving you the tools to apply yourself today!
Piggly Wiggly’s Storied History
Today Piggly Wiggly is a supermarket chain that operates in the Midwestern and Southern regions of the United States. It is known for being the first true self-service grocery store. The company’s story begins all the way back in 1916 when the store was first opened on September 9th of that year.
The first location was located at 79 Jefferson Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. Piggly Wiggly was founded by Clarence Saunders. Today you can find a replica of the first store in the Memphis Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium. The self-service format was secured by the company and franchised to other grocers after it had been patented by Saunders in 1917.
This format involved customers entering the store through a turnstile. They walked through four aisles, selecting from the store’s 605 items. Everything was packaged and organized based on departments. It was a maze of sorts that eventually led back to the cashier.
This new format forced manufacturers to think about branding and packaging more than ever before. Along with this unique format, Piggly Wiggly also brought several other new innovations to the industry:
- Checkout stands
- Prices marked on every item
- Shopping carts (starting in 1937 in Oklahoma)
Piggly Wiggly was massively successful. Other grocery stores started adopted the same format through the 1920s and 30s. In 1932 the company hit its peak with 2,660 stores and annual sales of $180 million. Saunders made an attempt to squeeze the stocks and was caught by the Stock Exchange Governors and lost over nine million.
Piggly Wiggly was then divided into various units and sold to different grocery chains. Saunders lost control of the company, he spent his last years experimenting with automated shopping at a store called Keedoozle until he passed away in 1953.
This smaller variation of the company continued to grow as independently owned locations were given franchises under the Piggly Wiggly name. Yet another of the company’s innovations, the just-in-time inventory strategy, inspired Toyota to create their production system.
In 1978, Fleming Companies bought Benson Wholesale who owned the Piggly Wiggly name. Fleming file for bankruptcy in 2003 and ownership of the brand was passed on to C&S Wholesale Grocers. Currently there are 600 stores located in 17 states.
The headquarters are located in Keene, New Hampshire. Stores are most commonly found in small to medium-sized towns and cities. In larger areas, competition is higher, which prompted the company to start it’s own loyalty card discount and membership program which is common in today’s market.
Piggly Wiggly embraces the heritage of the company, and the purity of the communities it operates in. That’s why the company buys from local farmers saying that it goes from “field to shelf.”
While Piggly Wiggly did indeed pioneer much of what we know about modern supermarket structures, there are others who have risen to the occasion. It’s always smart to apply to more than one location, so after you’re finished here, check out Kroger.
Piggly Wiggly Application Online
Piggly Wiggly offers a wealth of career opportunities for job seekers both experienced and those looking for their first job. Many of the entry-level positions won’t require any previous experience. Instead, the company is looking for people who have a great personality and a strong work ethic.
By joining the company, you can take advantage of flexible scheduling, paid training, and huge potential for growth in your career. Many of the entry-level positions involve keeping the store clean and professional looking, along with assisting customers and completing transactions.
Here are some examples of entry-level positions you can apply for:
- Stock clerk
- Meat cutter
Management level positions are constantly available, but require more experience and tenure with the company. That being said, assistant and store managers enjoy better benefits and career level salary options.
In keeping with the classic ways of applying for a job, the company’s career page offers a PDF download of the employment forms. While you can’t apply online, the requirement of a paper form allows you to make a great first impression.
Print out the forms and examine them carefully. Make a couple copies in case you make a mistake. Better to just start fresh than try to cross something out or change it. That doesn’t look very profession in the eyes of an employer. Take your time, using a blue or black pen to input the requested information.
Before you go into the store, update your resume and cover letter to bring with you. Even if you don’t have previous experience, a resume can showcase your education, your volunteer work, or anything else that’s relevant to your work ethic.
In terms of your cover letter, it should be a short introduction to yourself and why you think you would be a good fit for the company. It’s a simple, but genuine gesture that many people fail to utilize. As a result, bringing both a resume and cover letter will make you stand out from the crowd.
Always ask for the hiring manager and dress professionally. If the store is particularly busy, wait until it slows down before you ask to see the manager. When you meet them, shake their hand, maintain eye contact, and briefly explain who you are and why you want to work for Piggly Wiggly.
Your Piggly Wiggly application is the key to a long and rewarding career in the supermarket industry. As a pioneer and innovator, you can be proud to work with such a historically significant company. Thanks for reading and best of luck in your career!