MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The new Piggly Wiggly that opened here this month could serve as a template for future locations in some larger markets, David Schools, chief executive officer, Piggly Wiggly Carolina, told SN.
The store, which features an innovative layout centered around a kitchen area with products grouped by category — fresh, frozen and canned vegetables are located together, for example — borrows some elements from the chain's three-year-old, upscale Newton Farms store in Kiawah Island, S.C., near Charleston.
“We believe we can expand these stores to new locations,” Schools told SN.
The new Piggly Wiggly store here, measuring 43,000 square feet, also features a Starbucks cafe and Piggly Wiggly's second Dream Dinners make-and-bake franchise. The store has a heavy emphasis on meal solutions, with four small “pods” set up around the store that group together various chilled and shelf-stable meal components, such as pasta, meatballs, Italian sausage, sauces, cheeses and wines.
It also offers a call-ahead service allowing customers to order prepared meals for pickup outside the store.
Customers enter the store in the prepared-food area, where the checkout lanes are hidden from view, and travel counterclockwise through perishables, then short aisles of beverages and dry grocery, many with kitchen-hutch-style endcaps.
“We wanted shopping the store to be as intuitive as possible,” said Julie Dugas, senior designer at Marco Retail Group, Northville, Mich., which designed the store.
In an interview with SN at the grand opening, she said the companies examined a wide range of retail formats to come up with ideas for the new Piggly Wiggly, which is part of a newly opened shopping complex called Market Common.
She said it could take awhile for customers to get used to the new layout, where baking ingredients, for example, are located adjacent to store-baked and prebaked product.
“We really feel that after two or three times through the store, the shopper will understand how it works,” she said.