Clarence Saunders and Piggly Wiggly
Clarence Saunders liked odd names.
He opened a grocery store in 1916 and
called it Piggly Wiggly. He designed
his store in an odd way, forcing
shoppers to pick out their own
groceries. This was unheard of one
hundred years ago. But shoppers liked
his cheap prices. Businessmen liked
the profits they made investing with
him. Within seven years Saunders had
the third largest chain of grocery
stores in the nation. He was a
millionaire, and considered a brilliant
young entrepreneur. And then, he lost
Read about this remarkable individual
in my new book, Clarence Saunders
and the Founding of Piggly Wiggly.
Buy it now via PayPal.
Right: The Piggly Wiggly exterior store
design in 1918. Note the slogan under the
store name, "All over the world."
Saunders thought ahead of his time. He
made a new idea, self-service, popular. He
proved the idea could succeed, and that
changed the way people operated a retail
business. Today every supermarket,
convenience store and "big box"
merchandise store in the world uses a self
service design. His ideas are indeed, all
over the world.
Saunders used his new
wealth to build an
estate in Memphis
larger than anyone had
done before. People
called it the Pink
Palace. He never
finished it. The city
opened its first museum
there in 1930. A replica
of the original Piggly
Wiggly is now part of
the museum exhibits.
Below: The original Piggly Wiggly
stores were smaller than today's
convenience stores. His design had
one entrance and exit, shoppers had
to walk past every item on sale.
Piggly Wiggly slays the Demon of
High Prices! Saunders loved to
attract attention with his unusual
statements. He put a lot of his own
personality into his advertisements.
Here is a link to my new blog. I write
about music history or Memphis area
topics. This link is to one of my stories
about Clarence Saunders.