Progressive Grocer Independent

AUG 2016

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10 | Progressive Grocer Independent | August 2016 W hile no retailer dreams of having to close a store, the best-case scenario would be to have a community rise up in protest if such a situation were to occur. at's exactly what happened when Piggly Wiggly was forced out of its Crestline location in Mountain Brook, Ala. Residents mounted a social media campaign to "Save e Pig." e store had been a part of the community for more than 20 years and was owned by Andy Virciglio and his father, Stanley. Comments on a Change. org petition to protest the closing ranged from "e Pig is the ANCHOR of our village. It is more than a grocery store and busi- ness. It is what makes our village special and is truly the heartbeat of Crestline Village," to "e Crestline Pig is an institution!" Most retailers can only dream of such devotion from their customers. Shortly after the store's closing, Naseem Ajlouny was in his real estate agent's office when the map on the wall caught his eye. He noticed several empty lots in the center of the neighborhood. While those lots together weren't big enough for the store he envisioned, he instructed the agent to try to buy the strip — a total of seven 150-foot-by-50-foot lots, three of which had houses on them. After several months of negotiations, which in- cluded moving a house that had been placed in trust for the Girl Scouts of America, e Pig was on its way back to Crestline. Naseem and his brother Basim had partnered with Andy on another Piggly Wiggly in the River Run neighborhood of Mountain Brook, and the three joined forces again for the new Crestline Piggly Wiggly. e Ajlouny brothers also operate nine other Piggly Wiggly stores in the Birmingham, Ala., area, and Andy operates a store in Homewood, Ala. Clearing Hurdles Nearly three years after the original store closed, the new Crestline Piggly Wiggly opened this June. While the neighborhood backed the new store, and the city worked with the partners to clear any obstacles, construction wasn't without its hurdles. e store was the target of arson on the night of the college football champion- ship game, in which Alabama was playing. While the damage wasn't as extensive as it could have been — the lights were melted, so the partners switched fixtures and went with energy-saving LEDs, but luckily the sprinkler and air conditioner systems were not yet operational, or the dam- age would have been much worse — the fire delayed the store opening by six to eight weeks. "We actually were worried about Piggly Piggly Wiggly Crestline Wiggly Piggly Wiggly Crestline Crestline The Crestline Piggly Wiggly reopened in a new location nearly three years after the community protested its closing. By Katie Martin "It's really heartwarming to see the way the customers interact with the employees, especially the ones we brought back. It's just like family." —Andy Virciglio OPEN ARMS W E L C O M E D W E L C O M E D

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