Vancouver History: Piggly Wiggly

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Heading down to the Piggly Wiggly for a quart of milk is something you would hear in Memphis, Tennessee where the revolutionary grocery store chain was founded in 1916. However, you could also go to the Piggly Wiggly over on Granville Street in Vancouver about 80 years ago.

Piggly Wiggly Vancouver
The Vancouver Sun, March 27, 1931

In 1925, Piggly Wiggly (BC) Limited opened its first store in Vancouver. By 1929, there were 28 Piggly Wiggly locations in Vancouver, Victoria, and New Westminster and Piggly Wiggly (BC) Limited merged with Piggly Wiggly (Canada) Limited. On March 27, 1931 the Vancouver Sun had a full page ad for Piggly Wiggly, celebrating six years in Vancouver:

Piggly Wiggly Vancouver
The Vancouver Sun, March 27, 1931

The Piggly Wiggly Corporation, established by Clarence Saunders, offered the first self-service grocery shopping experience in America, the first checkout stands, price marks on store items, refrigerated cases, employee uniforms and many more of the standards used in the grocery store industry today.

Piggly Wiggle Vancouver
1928: Piggly Wiggly on Denman at Nelson in the West End. Archives Item# Str N267.2.

(Left) 1930: Piggly Wiggly in the Walden Building on Main. VPL# 4764. Photographer: Leonard Frank.
(Right) 1939: Piggly Wiggly on West 41st. VPL# 25055. Photographer: Dominion Photo Co.

In 1929, Safeway came to Canada just three years after it was founded in Maryland. Eventually Safeway would take over the Piggly Wiggly chain in Vancouver. Stores like Piggly Wiggly No. 4 in Kerrisdale remained until at least the end of the 1930s.

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