Piggly Wiggly named 2019 Retailer of the Year
Representing Piggly Wiggly at the awards luncheon were, from left, Towanda Campbell, Lisa Neese, Annette Mobley, Christy Marshburn, Greg Floyd, Ward Sylvester and Donna Horne. Submitted photo.
RALEIGH — Piggly Wiggly was recently recognized as a 2019 Retailer of the Year, one of two leading retail businesses to receive the honor from the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA). The awards were presented during NCRMA’s Annual Retailer of the Year awards luncheon at the North Carolina Science Museum on April 4.
This Piggly Wiggly family company traces its roots to its first supermarket in Richlands in 1959, but it was the lasting partnership forged between Leon Sylvester and Dexter Floyd with the opening of a location in La Grange in July 1976 that set them on the path for success.
Today, the company has 16 Piggly Wiggly locations and 1,000 dedicated associates. Many of those employees have worked with the company their entire working lives and are referred to as being like family.
While the company is known for its produce and deli-bakeries, they are best known for their meat departments with teams of butchers cutting fresh meat daily in the stores. They also take pride in their great service to their customers, including the time-honored tradition of helping their customers take and load groceries into their cars.
Sylvester — Mr. Leon, as he was affectionately known by just about everyone — passed away in 2016. Floyd remains active in the business along with his son, Greg Floyd, and Leon Sylvester’s son, Ward Sylvester. The sons are now the principals in the business and are dedicated to continuing these traditions.
“We are extremely honored to receive this very prestigious award,” Greg Floyd said. “I attribute our success to the many dedicated men and women that work with us to make Piggly Wiggly an exceptional place to work and shop.”
Their business success has not only been important to the families but has also been a support to their communities.
Together, these families support many area colleges and universities, including Campbell University, ECU, UNC, Louisburg College, Coastal Carolina Community College and Lenoir Community College, among many others.
Some of their most notable philanthropic efforts include:
The Sylvester family has supported Coastal Carolina Community College by hosting the Piggly Wiggly Scholarship Golf Tournament for 27 years which has raised over $200,000 for the school
The Floyd family has been a major benefactor to LCC, where they endow multiple scholarships and sponsor major fundraising events such as a golf tournament for scholarship fundraising. In addition, last year, they donated 3.26 acres of property valued at $1.7 million to the LCC Foundation
After Hurricanes Matthew and Florence ravaged their communities, the family company faced the adversity head on. Although there was no major damage to the stores, the people around them — their customers — were struggling, so major efforts were put into place to provide for the most pressing needs. This meant donating more than $100,000 worth of food, water, toilet paper, paper products and cleaning supplies dropped right in the store parking lot during Matthew. It also meant providing donations to the food bank, the Salvation Army and Mary’s soup kitchen that serves 125 meals a day to anyone in need in Lenoir County, no questions asked
In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Piggly Wiggly owners went to the extraordinary measure of delivering much needed medicine by helicopter from Lenoir County to its pharmacy in Burgaw. At that time, Burgaw had become an island and there was no way in or out. Piggly Wiggly was the first store back open because they felt a commitment to serve the community as best it could.
The Floyds and Sylvesters have shown what the heart of retail is all about: Commitment to family and community.
“We are proud of Piggly Wiggly and the Floyd and Sylvester families, along with all of our retail members, for their efforts to provide superior value and service to their customers,” NCRMA President and General Counsel Andy Ellen said. “This year’s two award recipients deserve statewide recognition because they are helping to sustain local economies, adapting to meet the needs of their customers, and giving back to their local communities.”
In addition to Piggly Wiggly of NC, Page 158 Books of Wake Forest was also honored as a 2019 Retailer of the Year.