ORIENTAL, N.C. (WNCT) – Wednesday marked the end to a six-month long wait for residents of the small Pamlico County town of Oriental as a new grocery store opened its doors just outside town limits.
For residents of Oriental, Piggly Wiggly is an oasis in the middle of a food desert.
Some people said before it opened, they had to travel as much as 20 minutes just to get their groceries each week.
Hundreds of people came out over the course of the day to the new store.
The Piggly Wiggly is in the same location as the old Walmart Express, which closed in January.
Shoppers said the store has everything they need, from fresh produce to meat and even features a cafe inside.
Oriental resident Lorraine Weeks said before the Piggly Wiggly opened, shopping for groceries each week was difficult, “It’s a great help because, otherwise, I have to go up to Bayboro. For me to get up there for travel and everything, it’s about 25 miles. So it’s a long way to go there and back so this is much more handy.”
The store’s manager gave a free bag of groceries to the first 100 customers Wednesday morning.
In addition to groceries, there’s also a Piggly Wiggly gas station in front of the store.
The opening of the store also created about 40 new jobs in the area.