“Four decades can pass by quickly,” were the first words in a recent visit with the Eastman’s, at one of their Piggly Wiggly locations, as they begin to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their family-owned business.
The stores, for a long time operated under the banner of Foodland, until five years ago, when they became Piggly Wiggly (the store’s name changed in 2015, but remained as a part of the Eastman family, owners of Ohio Valley Supermarkets, which operates Piggly Wiggly locations in Gallipolis, Point Pleasant, Oak Hill, and Wellston, along with four Save A Lot stores in southern Ohio, and a local hardware store, Bidwell Hardware).
The first Eastman’s Foodland store, opened on March 2, 1980 as “Ohio Valley Foodland” on Jackson Pike, Gallipolis, now known as Eastman’s Piggly Wiggly. Long-time supermarket administrator, Bob Eastman, and his wife, Sheila, started the business, which would soon grow to several supermarkets throughout the region. Their sons, Brent and Kevin, were involved from the beginning, and lead the company today.
In giving some perspective, that first store opened just nine days after the USA Men’s Hockey Team’s “Miracle On Ice” win in the Olympics.
Company President Brent Eastman, still in high school when Ohio Valley Foodland opened , reminds us : “Virtually all supermarkets throughout the nation, took only cash or check at that time. Supermarkets didn’t take credit cards back then, and the debit card, wouldn’t be in widespread use, until the late 90’s.”
So, how about the supermarket business, in the year 2020?
“Our goal, has always been to maintain the great parts of our business from the past, while merging that with consumer’s needs of today,” said Kevin Eastman, vice-president of the stores.
He’s right. Today’s consumer, would prefer a cashier, and someone to bag their groceries, along with the conveniences of digital coupons, ads via print or email, and quick service.
A final word from Brent – “Look for some of the best savings ever, as we celebrate 40 years of serving the area.”
What else would he say? After all, the man who says his age is “not yet 60” has been around the supermarket business, since he was born.