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Piggly Wiggly No. 98, 3724 Covenant Road: February 2005   38 comments

Posted at 1:56 pm in closing

For some reason, when I was in middle-school, I loved popcorn to a degree I never had before or have since. I mean, I still like it, but I probably don't have it more than half a dozen times a year now while back then I had it every day. As soon as I got home from school, I would get out the popcorn popper (no microwave then!), the butter-salt, a big glass of ice-tea and a book. I would sit at the kitchen table and eat popcorn with one hand, and turn pages with the other (I was careful not to get my books greasy!).

Popcorn was not a regular purchase item for my mother's shopping trips. She didn't keep a tab on the status of the bag of popping corn or the level of the butter-salt shaker, so unless I remembered to ask her to get some, I ended up having to make supply runs on my own. Fortunately, there was The Pig.

The Piggly Wiggly on Covenant Road near Trenholm Park had been there as long as I could recall, and unlike a trip to Trenholm Plaza, getting to it from our house required crossing no major roads so my parents had been OK for years with me riding my bike there. I would ride down Oakwood to Satchel Ford to Bethel Church to Covenant and park my bike on the left side of the store. (Back then I didn't lock it, now I probably would). The Pig was a small store, nothing special really, in fact my mother rarely shopped there because they packed their produce on trays under cling wrap so you really couldn't see how fresh it was, but aside from the popcorn it had another draw for me: a book "spinner" rack.

Stocking for racks like this was always hit-or-miss, but apparently the distributor/jobber who had responsibility for The Pig's rack in those days had a taste for science fiction (or maybe he got some kind of discount -- who knows?). At any rate, there were usually new DAW paperbacks in the rack -- those were the days of the white page borders and the Kelly Freas covers:

If I had the money (iffy..), I could always come home with a new book to read with my popcorn.

In later years, I moved out of town and lost close track with The Pig, but apparently it had some rather interesting times before it finally closed. If I recall the story my sister or father told me, at one point it was closed for a while and then got a new owner who refused to stock any beer or wine for religious reasons. (I recall thinking that was an odd amount of leeway for a chain to give to an individual store..). In the end, the market changed, and it was really too small and old a building to compete with the new wave of upscale grocers and probably too close to The Pig on Forest Drive to make sense for the chain (and that Pig is noticably upscale itself). Half of the building now houses a Dollar General (they have the best peppermints I've ever found, by the way, at least since altoids changed their recipie) while the other half is empty.

And darn it, it was fun to say "I'm going to hop to the pig".

UPDATE 28 July 2010: Added full street address to post tile, and the fact that this was store "No. 98" as well. Added graphic (and link to) The Lion Game.

UPDATE 4 May 2011: Changed closing date in the post title to February 2005 based on commenter Andrew's research.

UPDATE 17 October 2011 -- Well they have finally found a tenant for some of the vacant space. It appears we will get a new pizza parlor, Milano Pizza:

UPDATE 26 January 2012 -- The pizzeria is open:

38 Responses to 'Piggly Wiggly No. 98, 3724 Covenant Road: February 2005'

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  1. That Pig hasn't been closed THAT long. It was still open when I moved to Forest Acres in closed in maybe 2003 or so?


    12 Jun 08 at 8:45 am

  2. You're probably right -- I've changed the date in the post title from 1990s to 2000s.


    12 Jun 08 at 9:55 am

  3. I think what helped close the Pig was a store fire a few years ago. Never really seemed to come back after that.


    16 Jun 08 at 6:08 am

  4. I came to this blog looking up a mention of a Piggley Wiggley Special bicycle in a novel. Just curious to see if there ever had been a bicycle sold by PW. The first link is a blog from my hometown...a surprise. I live in Chicago now, havent been to Columbia in a while, and I'm beating my brains to remember your Pig. I think there was one on Two Notch? in the vicinity of Columbia Mall? We moved to Columbia in 1969 and that Pig was there for some time after we arrived. Is that your Pig?


    23 Jun 08 at 4:08 pm

  5. Anna,

    Do you remember Trenholm Park? The main attraction there is the swimming pool (which may have been an indoor pool during your time in Columbia though the building over it has been torn down now). Anyway, this former-Pig is about a block from Trenholm Park. (And Covenant Road starts more or less there, crosses Beltline and goes out to Two Notch).

    It would not surprise me if there had been a Pig on Two Notch, but I can't remember one now. There was a grocery by Cola Mall off Parklane, but I don't think it was a Pig.

    I'm afraid I don't have any definitive answer on the bicycles either, but it certainly would not have surprised me.

    Glad you found the blog, look through the "Alphabetical" page if you want to see some stuff from "back when".


    23 Jun 08 at 4:20 pm

  6. Hi Ted

    Come to think of it, it was a WinnDixie I'm thinking of. Got to thinking of it and remembered that my mother would have to make a special trip there to get their chocolate ice cream for my younger brother, Perry. To this day he prefers WinnDixie chocolate over any other brand. My parents and brother still live in Columbia, in Wildewood, so I pretty much know all the places you're speaking of here in your blog.

    I think the PiggleyWiggley Special bikes were an invention of the author of the book I'm reading by Clyde Edgerton. I may email him and ask him.

    What high school did you go to, may I ask? Spring Valley '72, here.


    23 Jun 08 at 4:38 pm

  7. Mine was Wildewood Academy on Polo Road, which is now gone (though the building is used by the Saint John Newman Catholic School). Class of '79..


    23 Jun 08 at 4:44 pm

  8. I think there was a pig on two notch that was next to the k-mart. In the same strip. Then it became a Western Auto.

    Mr Bill

    29 Jul 08 at 12:18 pm

  9. I miss this Pig too - especially as I now live only about 5 minutes away from where it used to be. My thing was crab salad. I used to play t-ball at Trenholm Park and go to school in the area, and I had a big thing for crab salad. They used to make it so well there - my dad would stop in after school and let me buy a container of crab salad on the way home.


    12 Sep 08 at 8:48 am

  10. I used to work at that Pig... I remember when it opened, the Piggly Wiggly sign consisted of individual letter signs which protruded above the roof line. It was quite the neighborhood grocery store in it's day. So much has changed... I used to walk there (we lived behind Trenholm Park) and buy cigarettes for my mother!!


    27 Dec 08 at 5:55 pm

  11. I remember those letters now!


    28 Dec 08 at 12:10 am

  12. I used to go here as a kid too. I used to go play defender and look at he magazines. My mom shopped here because we lived around the corner. Cool.


    28 Jan 09 at 11:56 pm

  13. I love those older Piggly Wiggly store designs. There's just something really quaint about them that appeals to me. I think there are still a few like that in Myrtle Beach on King's Highway.

    Bill C.

    10 Feb 09 at 12:30 am

  14. The Pier One store building on Two Notch, by Columbia Mall was a P/W.


    10 Feb 09 at 6:39 am

  15. I don't remember that at all. I do remember the building across the parking lot from Godfather's being a grocery (though not a Pig).


    10 Feb 09 at 8:05 pm

  16. It was a pig back in 1964 when I moved there. Sometime in the 70s or 80s it moved by the K-mart, replacing the Big Star foods. The reason was the P/W and the church next door had a falling out over the Pigs decision to sell beer and wine and would no longer allow them to use the church's parking lot.

    There was a Winn-Dixie in the strip mall by Columbia mall where Party City is now. When their 20 year lease ran out in 1997 they moved to the corner of Trenholm and decker.


    10 Feb 09 at 10:44 pm

  17. I was born in 1962 and remember the Pig on Two Notch being right down the street from a pony ride place where you could ride real live horses. My mom liked to go to the Pig because they had the best butcher in town, Mr. Mack. The Winn Dixie was down the street (where Columbia Mall is now) and there was a hardware store there too. That was about it during the 1960s, other than the Captain's Kitchen on Decker. Ah, memories....


    9 Apr 09 at 12:32 pm

  18. Jeanne, I think that pony ride place was called "Lee's Pony Rides". They also ran a fireworks stand on Decker on the 4th and New Years. And they may have also had the Pony rides on Decker briefly. That hardware store was Sportsman's Hardware and Repair.


    9 Apr 09 at 1:55 pm

  19. The Winn Dixie building is still there off of Parklane and the mall perimeter road.


    9 Apr 09 at 2:12 pm

  20. The Pig on Covenant Road was a great neighorhood store. After the fire it came back better than ever. The changing in managers hurt (5 in the last three years it was open).


    20 Apr 09 at 9:18 am

  21. I remember the pony place on two Notch. My parents even rented a pony from them for my birthday one year. They also had a small train too. The people who ran it I remember as being very nice.


    20 Apr 09 at 4:15 pm

  22. The Pig at Covenant came back better than ever after the fire. They were closed for 8 weeks, the store was repainted, new equipment installed and to most of us it was like home coming when it re-opened. It was owned and operated by one man for 23 years, then another owner for three years and then became a company store and did very well for three years. That manager left for another store and then over the next several years it had five managers.


    21 Apr 09 at 7:49 am

  23. The store was referred to as the Little Pig by my family. It was a convenient store to pick up the odd can or two of soup or something needed for supper. I remember Ravenwood as a kid. We would ride our bicycles down to Campbell's drugstore and peruse their comic book selection. I bought many a comic book from them. I regret to this day the comic book sale that a friend and I had on Ashby. I sold a number 1 Silver Surfer and a litanty of other comics that would be worth a small fortune today. The bike ride would take us down to the grocery for a coke then up to the gas station for an air check. I forget the name of the station. Then we would go to the park for some general foolishness. I remember a pottery shop where the Brickyard condominiums are now. The ladies there were never too pleased to see a couple of pre-adolescent boys browsing their store.


    21 Apr 09 at 10:44 pm

  24. Wasn't there also a Piggly Wiggly in Trenholm Plaza where the Fresh Market is now? Also, there was no Publix, and was an A&P where the Books A Million is.


    30 Sep 09 at 12:03 am

  25. Yes, there was a Pig in Trenholm Plaza there. Threnholm Plaza has always been odd in having two grocery stores. The A&P was where the PUblix is.


    30 Sep 09 at 12:55 am

  26. ted -- the original Richland Mall had two grocery stores (Winn Dixie and Colonial/Big Star) and so did Midlands Shopping Center (A&P and Colonial/Big Star).


    30 Sep 09 at 5:03 am

  27. My wife grew up on Fernwood and her mother absolutely loved that Covenent Road Pig. I recall it closing in 2003.


    30 Oct 09 at 8:54 pm

  28. Ok here's the Piggly Wiggly fire some of you mentioned:
    The State (Columbia, SC) - Monday, October 29, 2001
    Small fire closes Piggly Wiggly store

    A Piggly Wiggly grocery store damaged by fire Sunday will be closed today while health inspectors determine whether the store's food will have to be dumped, a Columbia fire official said.

    The Richland County Fire Marshal and the Forest Acres Police Department are investigating whether the fire at the store near Trenholm Park was accidental or intentional, said Herman Boney, a Columbia Fire Department battalion chief.

    Damage to the building and equipment is about $1,000, Boney said. But a similarly small fire about a year ago resulted in an estimated $1 million loss in smoke-damaged groceries, he said.

    A fire alarm call at about 6 p.m. Sunday sent firefighters to 3724 Covenant Road , Boney said. They had the fire out in about 15 minutes.

    The fire began in a trash bin and spread to nearby wooden pallets, the fire official said. Heat from the pallets transferred to a roll-up metal door, which ignited cardboard inside the building.

    and I also found <a href="; this article that indicates that this particular Piggly Wiggly closed in February 2005


    3 May 11 at 4:33 pm

  29. Andrew

    3 May 11 at 4:34 pm

  30. EDIT: I found this article that indicates that this particular Piggly Wiggly closed in February 2005


    3 May 11 at 8:23 pm

  31. Ok, I'll update the closing date.


    3 May 11 at 11:15 pm

  32. @ Ted,

    I grew up right around the corner from this Piggly Wiggly. I lived on Foxhall rd., so it was a quick ride to there and Trenholm Park. My mom did all of our grocery shopping there, and we knew everyone by name. By the time I was in high school (A.C.Flora), several of my friends were working there.
    I need to go back in the building (now Dollar General) because it would be like a step back in time, considering it has been almost 20 years since I have stepped foot inside. The man that owned it when I was a child was named Mr. Khoury. He owned it for a long time, and most of the employees, other than the cashiers and bagboys (high school students), were there for years. Good memories of that place.


    27 Feb 13 at 5:55 pm

  33. I remember when I was little, my grandma and I would go there, and if you got any produce, you took it to this little old man in the produce section, and he had a scale that had a wheel and a display behind a glass that when he weighed it, you looked on the line, and went across to the cost per pounds, and he wrote the price on the bag, and you took it to the register where they typed in the price to everything, before the fancy barcode scanners, and you paid and went on your merry way.


    9 Apr 14 at 11:13 pm

  34. @Jason - those were the good old days before bar codes, computerized register systems and such. When I worked at Winn-Dixie back in the 70's the produce and meat departments had the men with the scales. Every can, box, bottler, etc. on the shelves had to be marked with the price in addition to the shelf tags. Sale and special signs were all hand made using ink and magic markers. You were taught how to add a little 'flair' to the signs you made to try to catch the customers eye. At the checkout all of the items were entered on the cash register by hand and when totaled up the cashier actually had to know math so they could make the correct change. Inventory was another thing as well. All items were counted and entered by hand on an inventory list that was ultimately shipped to the home office where they did all of the number crunching on the mainframe computer. When inventory time can either one of three things happened which would never happen today. 1) It was taken at night after the store closed. 2) It was taken on Sunday when the store was closed. 3) The store actually closed for a day to take it. Can you imagine any store doing this today????


    13 Apr 14 at 1:50 am

  35. Commenting again 5 years later! The owner of this pig was actually named Mr. Helms. He passed away recently. Mr. Khoury must have been one of the managers.


    26 Apr 18 at 12:35 am

  36. I can remember Andy the assistant manager and Jerome the butcher.


    26 Apr 18 at 7:33 pm

  37. Cam

    30 Apr 18 at 9:42 am

  38. I was an assistant manager there for 5 years from 1993-1998. George Khoury was another assistant manager who was such a hard worker. He passed away in his late 40's from a heart attack. The owner I worked for was Rick Jones who decided to discontinue beer and cigs which was the beginning of the end. He just passed away recently as well. The store lost too much money after that to survive. I remember a lot of AC Flora students who worked there during that time. Lots of great memories!


    12 Nov 23 at 12:59 pm

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