In the News

Piggly Wiggly planning late June grand opening

Piggly Wiggly planning late June grand opening
It's official! Work is now underway on the renovation of Piggly Wiggly's new home in the former Harvey's building on North Main Street.

The store will be managed by WallStreet Markets of Dothan, the owners and operators of two Piggly Wiggly stores in Dothan and one store in Enterprise. Company president Ricky Treadwell and vice-president Keith Howell expressed their excitement for opening the new store in Blakely at a recent Development Authority meeting.

"We've spent a lot of time studying the market. We're confident we're going to be successful," Howell stated. "We already have a large number of customers from Blakely at our Dothan stores."

In a press release officially announcing the new store released Thursday by EC2055, Howell stated "Our research showed the demographics for a new store here were excellent. There has been a tremendous amount of business leaving Blakely and Early County to purchase groceries because there were not enough shopping options. By having another grocery store alternative we can help keep the business in Blakely and, in fact, bring new business to the area."

"People in Early County are very excited about the news that Piggly Wiggly has signed on to open a store in Blakely," said Lisa Collins, EC2055 Director of Economic Development. "We have been working to make this project a reality since 2006."

Collins mentioned in the release that according to a recently commissioned Claritas Retail Market Opportunity Gap Report, about $40 million per year in retail spending was leaving Early County.

The opening of the new Piggly Wiggly is expected to help return a lot of that money back into the community's economy and help revitalize the entire retail sector.

A new grocery store was one of the economic development priorities included in the EC2012 Strategic Initiative plan launched in recent months. Collins noted that the store will also be the anchor for the redevelopment of North Main Street.

With a grand opening expected by mid summer, the 23,000 sq. ft. grocery store will be full-service including produce, meats and groceries. In addition to a full service grocery store, there will be a feed department.

The store will employ 40-50 people. "We plan to hire local people as much as we possibly can, and are happy to help provide more jobs to the area," Howell said.

The news release quoted several Early County residents excited about the news of a new grocery store.

"We are extremely pleased we were able to secure a new grocery store for our city," Mayor Ric Hall stated. "I feel sure the people in the area are excited. Also, we are grateful to the Rice Family and the new owners, Ricky and Pam Treadwell and Keith Howell, for their confidence in bringing this business to Blakely."

"This is the single most needed business in Blakely and it will do well," said Robert Collier, life-long resident.

Pricilla Collins, another lifelong resident, agreed. "We are all overjoyed!" she said. "We need it so badly. I have heard nothing but excitement at the proposition of having a Piggly Wiggly here. We need the competition, variety and good prices."

The Harvey's building has been unavailable for purchase or lease since Harvey's moved into the Food Lion location in Blakely Corners in 2003 due to a split Harvey's family ownership and lease of the property.

That changed in December when a Charles Barton Rice holding company, Dream Big Development, LLC was able to purchase the North Main property.