Thursday, September 29, 2011
Workers proud to the end
By SUE WATSON
Piggly Wiggly, in Holly Springs, is closing Saturday after just over half a century of service to the community.
Brave and proud employees are winding up their journey with the grocery, some who have logged in years in the store, others fairly newcomers to the business. They are grieving but courageous.
Levi McFadden, a man who always has a smile for everyone and who is upbeat every day, has been in the grocery business since he began working at Liberty in Holly Springs in 1973, his first grocery job. He has also worked at J.C. Penney’s and attended Rust College where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He has been general manager at Piggly Wiggly only five years and worked for Liberty about 10 years. He plans to stay in the grocery business somewhere.
He said closing of the store was a shock because it was announced so suddenly. Still he is cheerful.
“I have much invested in Holly Springs,” he said. “I love my town. I love my county. We are going to truly be missed, but better things are coming.”
Ernie Hyde, meat market manager, has spent most of his life working at this store although he worked a few years for Carlisle’s Big Star in Holly Springs.
He will be going back to Big Star to finish up his tenure as a grocery market man.
Hyde joined Piggly Wiggly in 1965 and married around 1970. He wants to finish out his career with friends he knows well and has served.
His journey with Piggly Wiggly has brought him a work family he adores. He is sad he will not be with them daily.
“For the people who have been here a long time,” he said, “it’s like family.”
Rebecca Rogers has worked two years as cashier. It is the only business she knows. Her grandparents, Doug and Beverly Phipps, were employed at the store and on a few occasions she visited with them at the store when a little girl.
She hopes to stay in the grocery business.
“It is all I know how to do and the first and only one I have done,” she said.
Cristy and Vicky Algee have worked together in the bookkeeping and scan side of the business. They are the persons you see behind the glass in the front office.
Cristy has worked 10 years in bookkeeping and said she and her mother were surprised at Piggly Wiggly pulling out.
“We don’t know what we are going to do for a job,” she said. “I probably will look for any kind of work, now.”
She started out as cashier.
For Vicky Algee it will be a hit from several perspectives. She has worked almost 15 years at the store and said she will have unemployment for a while but regrettably she will be without insurance.
She knows all sides of the business, having served as bagger, cashier and now as scan coordinator (pricing and invoices).
The Algees live in Benton County. It is the closeness they have developed with other employees and with customers that they will miss most.
“It is kind of like a second family,” Vicky Algee said. “The cashiers are like family. They bring their babies in here and I’ve watched them grow up.”
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