FAISON — The Piggly Wiggly store located at 206 S.W. Center St., Faison, closed its doors on Saturday, July 24 after nearly half a century serving the Faison community.
The owner, Scott King said it was a hard decision to make, but said it was a struggle to find and retain enough workers to operate the store.
“A lot of people aren’t applying for jobs,” said King as he spoke about the widespread labor crunch.
“We couldn’t find people to run our deli or meat cutters … you couldn’t find any of those.”
King said they were hardly getting any applications at all, and some people would come to work for a day, then quit. The Faison store employed approximately 40 people when fully staffed, but the numbers started declining with the pandemic.
“We kept thinking, ‘It’s going to get better,’ but it wasn’t. It was gradually getting worse,” said King. “When you can only run part of the store … you can’t.
“There’s not enough profit to pay the bills.”
According to King, most people have been supportive, and in the last few days since the store closed, they have seen quite a few of their customers at their Mount Olive Piggly Wiggly location.
“People have been understanding,” he said. “Some customers are sad, some are mad. Mostly they are sad the store is closing, and that it’s going to hurt the town.”
“We wish we didn’t have to close the store, but unfortunately, the factors against it were just too strong,” said King. “We hope they continue to come to support us here at Mount Olive.”
The store owner said it is hard to tell at this point, what kind of impact people can expect overall as they are still transitioning.
“We are understaffed here as well,” King said. “All the employees I had left in Faison came to Mount Olive and I’m still not fully staffed in Mount Olive.”
Despite challenges, he remains positive and said there are no plans to implement self-checkout registers to address staffing at the Mount Olive location.
“We are trying not to go in that direction,” said King. “We are more of a personal service business.”