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The Piglet Opens
Oriental Piggly Wiggly: Views, Day 1
July 29, 2016

F
our words many residents of Oriental waited a half a year to say.

The. Piglet. Is. Open.

piggly wiggly opens
Billy Flockhart cuts the ribbon Wednesday, July 27, and opens his – and Oriental’s – Piggly Wiggly. It is also known as The Piglet as it is smaller than his other Pig’ in Grantsboro. The opening ended a half year in which the town had no supermarket after the January closing of the WalMart Express in that building (and months before that, the shuttering of the indy grocer, Town-n-Country.)
piggly wiggly opens
One of assistant store manager Lisa Lewis’ duties – readying Mr. Pig for his appearance before the ribbon cutting.
piggly wiggly opens
Some customers lined up three hours before the grand opening. Umbrellas helped.
piggly wiggly opens
Mr. Pig braved the heat for some dancing. Under the awning, customers lined up for several hours. In the foreground, the TownDock Video Division, which streamed the proceedings live.

(Click here for video recording of the opening.)

piggly wiggly opens
Dancing while waiting for the doors to open.
piggly wiggly opens
Before the ribbon cutting, Billy Flockhart thanked a long list of people whose efforts helped get the Piglet opened, among them Doug Sligh (in light shirt) of the Oriental Food Initiative. Doug had lobbied WalMart to let Billy buy the single building rather than its usual practice of selling its vacated stores in groups.

Inside the store in its first few hours – just ahead.

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piggly wiggly opens
The produce aisle is the first one customers see on entering the Piglet. As she pushed her cart along, Mayor Sally Belangia, second from left, was enthused about a lifestyle change – that she wouldn’t no longer have to use her lunch break to drive 15 miles to Grantsboro to shop for groceries.
piggly wiggly opens
Having freshly cut meat and a butcher were high on many peoples wish list in the survey. It drew a lot of customers in the opening moments of the store.
piggly wiggly opens
There’s the national Pig’ logo (at right) and the one drawn up for Oriental’s-smaller-than-average store, nicknamed The Piglet. Like Kathryn Garcia above, many customers walked in Wednesday already wearing Piglet t-shirts, which had been for sale since May at the Grantsboro Pig’.
piggly wiggly opens
Dwayne Miller of Oriental was one of the first customers to go through one of the 5 checkout lines.
piggly wiggly opens
Carole Norris traveled from Wallace for the opening and greeted customers at her son, Billy Flockhart’s store.
piggly wiggly opens
Across the store, the Dragon Cafe was getting its first customers.

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piggly wiggly opens
The checkout lines were busy through the morning – and the rest of the day.
piggly wiggly opens
Terry Halpren of the Oriental Food Initiative which advocated having a store that met the diverse tastes within Oriental’s population.
piggly wiggly opens
The first 100 customers received a bag of groceries. Also given away were pig cupcakes.
piggly wiggly opens
Several higher ups from the Piggly Wiggly home office and elsewhere dressed as they might for a store opening in most places and did not get the “Oriental Casual” memo, as seen here near the meat dept. (At right, Oriental Town Commissioner, Allen Price, sports the look as he checks out the store.)
piggly wiggly opens
A christening of sorts in the first hour when a bottle of wine hit the floor and broke.
piggly wiggly opens
Cheerleaders from Pamlico High greeted customers, and ventured into the heat to lead a few cheers.
piggly wiggly opens
Billy Flockhart’s name tag as he opened the Oriental Piggly Wiggly on Wednesday, July 27. That was 6 months to the day that he first came to a public meeting in Oriental and – in the spirit of that slogan – floated the idea of opening a store in the building WalMart would be vacating.

Posted Friday July 29, 2016 by Melinda Penkava


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