The new owners of the store, Powell and Mary Hudson of the Carlisle community in eastern Claiborne County, welcomed shoppers for the first time on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s been a long time coming. We’ve worked extremely hard to clean up and repair things in the store and to prepare everything for our customers,” Powell said.
This is not the Hudson’s first rodeo. The Hudson family has owned and operated a Piggly Wiggly store in Port Gibson for nearly 70 years. “My grandfather started Pig over there in 1947. He passed it down to my father George and my mother Phyllis. Of course, my brothers and I got our start by working for Dad there,” Powell explained. The family operation has expanded into another generation, as Powell and Mary’s son James has been involved with the new store from the beginning.
“Hazlehurst is a good market for us to be in. Over the past several weeks as we’ve approached the opening of the store, several folks have stopped by welcoming us and telling us how excited they are about what we’re doing here,” Powell said.
The store offers fresh cut meats, a large fresh produce section and the usual fare for a large-scale grocer. The deli area of the store is not quite ready yet, but Powell expects it to be up and running soon. “We are aiming for a pre-Thanksgiving opening of the deli, just in time for families to order fully-prepared and cooked meals for the holidays,” he added.
Though new to Hazlehurst in terms of operating a business, the Hudson family has been welcomed with open arms. “Since we started the renovation, we’ve purchased from local businesses whenever we could. We even bank locally and have gotten to know many good people through these local connections. Everyone has welcomed us with a smile and a handshake that can only be found in communities like Hazlehurst,” Powell said.
Though operating in Hazlehurst, the Hudson’s will be serving a broad area. “We know it has been a while since Piggly Wiggly was operating here, and we invite everyone from every corner of Copiah County to come shop with us. We believe that when you come here once, you’ll continue coming back,” Powell added.
The area can expect a nice economic boost from tax revenues and from the jobs created by the new store. Powell said last week that he had hired a crew of around 40 full- and part-time employees. Most of them, he said, are local residents who have worked in the grocery business for years and should be familiar to shoppers at the store.
The store opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. each day. The physical address of the property is 134 Market Place on the south side of Hwy. 28. The store’s phone number is new and is 601-894-4205. The store also has an online presence via Facebook and at www.pigglywiggly.com.