BRANCHVILLE -- Branchville may have found an innovative solution for local towns that have lost their grocery stores and have to travel some distance to shop.
Branchville Town Council recently approved a motion to let the old rescue squad building be used as a delivery center for a new click-n-shop site sponsored by the St. Matthews Piggly Wiggly.
Customers will shop online, make their selections from any item in the store and place their orders. The items will be delivered to the Branchville site within the next day.
Councilman Gregory Oliver said Branchville residents have been ordering meat, which has been delivered to the local senior center, for some time.
The St. Matthews Piggly Wiggly click-n-shop option significantly extends customer choices, and it should be up and running by the middle of next month, Oliver said.
“Basically, everything that’s available in the store will be available to them,” he said.
Oliver has been working with Claflin University for some time to find the best solution for Branchville and said he found the St. Matthews Piggly Wiggly, owned by Gary Jones, to be the best choice.
There will be a small cost to have the food delivered, but he hopes to recruit other area towns to use the service, which will lower delivery costs, Oliver said.
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Bowman, Bamberg and North are towns that need grocery stores, he said.
Most businesses interested in opening stores are looking for 20,000 to 50,000 customers, and that’s not going to happen in this area anytime soon, Oliver said.
The idea is to run the site like a cooperative, he said.
“The council voted to let us use the (old rescue squad) building, but we have to pay for lights and water,” Oliver said.
“We’re also looking for new members.’’
However, anyone can shop on the website, whether they’re members or not, he said, noting it’s fairly simple to go to the website and make grocery selections.
The councilman said the long-term goal is still to get a grocery store to come to Branchville.