We have chosen to live in a small town though it is not as small as it used to be. The advantages of a small town greatly outweigh the limitations, and the people and sense of community make it all worthwhile. This past year saw the closing of the Piggly Wiggly. It might not sound like a big deal but in a small town it is the end of an era. The entire community revolved around that store and with it’s closing the community will never be the same.
Don’t get me wrong, there are brand new stores to take it’s place. And products never seen before in the county now appear in multiple locations. Vegan and gluten free, non GMO and diabetes friendly items line the shelves of the larger chain stores. There are bright, shiny, sleek displays and freezer cases that seem to go on forever. The choices are endless and there is no need to look elsewhere. For the enthusiastic grocery shopper their experience has improved exponentially.
In small town America the grocery store did more than dispense food, it was a gathering place, a hang out, a place where if you misbehaved your Momma would eventually find out and “ya’ll be in trouble”! It was the place where the local kids learned a work ethic and were taught to handle money, run a business and how to treat people with respect no matter how they behave. The whole town shopped there and knew when someone was sick, or needed help, the local gossip was shared and people knew your needs. No matter how grand or vast or special a chain grocery store might be, it can never recreate that environment.
Is the old store being replaced by a bigger, better store progress? Is the town better off or will something be lost in this transition? The sad thing is new people in town won’t even know what they are missing. They will be excited about organic kale and never know the people who built the town on relationships and how the way was forged for success long before anyone knew what GMO meant. Property values are on the rise, the new hospital is already expanding and new homes are going up like well watered crops. Progress is here and can’t be stopped. The end of the Piggy Wiggly is a sign of the times, the end of an era and a milestone in the life of this area. It might not have had all the bells and whistles of the chain grocery stores, but the name was fun to say AND people knew your name when you arrived. That smiling pig will be missed…