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The Piglet Turns Seven
Piggly Wiggly Party
July 28, 2023

S
even years ago, on July 27, 2016, the Oriental Piggly Wiggly opened its doors and brought a grocery store back into town.

Occupying the building where a failed Walmart Express had once stood – and had driven out the former Town-n-Country grocery store. The Town-n-Country had been around for 40 years. The Walmart Express; 20 months.

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Billy Flockhart, Piggly Wiggly owner, entertains the crowd with prize giveaways.

But during a public meeting at the Old Theater, held to determine what to do next, Billy Flockhart stood up and said he would open a Piggly Wiggly in town if Walmart would sell him their old building. He also promised to stock it with whatever people wanted.

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Piggly Wiggly employees bring out snacks while the crowd waits on lunch.

After much finagling, significant national media coverage casting a bad light on Walmart, and a few phone calls, Billy was able to purchase the building. It was the only one sold on its own to a buyer. The rest went in a lot of 100+ stores to Dollar General.

Billy got to work and set up the new store at the entrance to town, and has been keeping his promise of stocking it with whatever the people request.

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A tent keeps (some) of the heat at bay.

Over the last seven years Billy has annexed the affectionately named Piglet into Oriental, bought a large generator to keep the store going through hurricanes and power outages, and has sifted through his suggestion box week after week to make the Piglet a truly unique store, carrying items not found at other Piggly Wigglys in the state.

He owes all his success, he said, to the people of Oriental. To celebrate the Piglet’s 7 year anniversary, Billy invited the town out to the Piglet Parking to enjoy live music and a free lunch cooked by Jim Kellenberger.

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Jim Kellenberger, cook-in-waiting. He decided to wait until the gas delivery was finished before he fired up the grill.

While there was a hitch or two – the excessive heat and a fuel truck showing up to refill underground tanks just as the grills were lighting up – Billy was still able to entertain the crowd and pass out cash, gift certificates, and prizes until the food was ready and everyone had a bottle of cold water in hand.

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Billy sings with the UHOOs, Oriental’s Ukulele group.
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Art Halpern talks with Tom Lathrop under the tent.
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Billy discussing one of the prizes – a Piglet branded chair.
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LuAnn Parins is at the front of the line when the food comes out.
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Waiting to get lunch – the line stretches out to the gas pumps.
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The pup makes sure no crumb is left behind.

Posted Friday July 28, 2023 by Allison DeWeese


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