Pictures of Grocery Store Icon -

The first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, was opened in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee by Clarence Saunders, an inventor and entrepreneur. Prior to this innovation, the customer would walk up to a counter or display and ask for the food items they wanted to purchase. They could also hand over a grocery list as an order that the grocer or other clerks would then fill and charge the customer for. Saunders' invention allowed a much smaller number of clerks to service the customers, proving successful (according to a 1929 issue of Time) "partly because of its novelty, partly because neat packages and large advertising appropriations have made retail grocery selling almost an automatic procedure. "