Parkersburg, Vienna Foodlands to become Piggly Wiggly

Photo by Jess Mancini. Foodlands in Parkersburg and Vienna will become Piggly Wigglys on March 18. From left, Jim and Becky Oppe in the produce aisle at the Plum Street store.

PARKERSBURG — Local Foodlands will become Piggly Wigglys next weekend.

Owners Jim and Becky Oppe said the decision was difficult to make after more than 30 years under the Foodland flag, but it was a business decision based on what will be best for the future of the company, employees and customers.

“This seems like the best decision going forward,” said Oppe, who bought his first Foodland in 1995.

The change and its trademark Mr. Pig will affect the stores on Plum Street, Gihon Plaza, Emerson Avenue and in Vienna, Oppe said. Foodland in The Plains became Piggly Wiggly about two years ago and Shoppers Value in Spencer will remain under that banner, he said.

The first ad to carry the Piggly Wiggly flag will be in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel on March 18, the effective date when the Foodlands become Piggly Wiggly.

“All the signs may not be up yet,” he said.

Piggly Wiggly was established by Clarence Saunders in 1916 in Memphis, Tenn.

In that era, customers gave their shopping list to the clerk, who gathered the items. Saunders realized the inefficiency and created the self-service method of grocery shopping that continues today.

Today, more than 500 Piggly Wigglys are located in 17 states. Stores are franchised to independent grocery retailers.

“I’m excited,” Mrs. Oppe said. “There’s going to be a lot of really good changes.”

Through Piggly Wiggly, the stores will offer a greater variety of products, Oppe said. Some may cost more, but for the vast majority, customers will see lower prices, he said. “There’s over 3,000 items that will go down in price.”

Oppe employs around 230 people. No changes will be made; however, more jobs will be added as business activity increases.

“We’re in kind of a transition period,” he said.

Stores will be renovated, such as painting walls and moving or installing new cases. Interiors may re-arranged.

A grand opening celebration will he held in June.