Piggly Wiggly owner Steve Garrett an ‘Unsung Hero’ in Troy

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

“Unsung Heroes” is presented by Southern Animal Hospital. 

In every community, there are individuals that are celebrated as “heroes,” especially in the media, but in every community there are also those “Unsung Heroes” that don’t get the same recognition as others. Piggly Wiggly owner Steve Garrett is one of Troy’s “Unsung Heroes.”

Garrett grew up in Troy, attending Pike Liberal Art School, and was literally raised in the grocery business.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I was five when my uncle built the one downtown and my father was running it then,” Garrett said. “When I was 10 is when my father bought the store in Brundidge and I started working in the store a little bit with him. A year or two older I could do a lot more and by the time I was 13 I could do pretty much anything he wanted me to do at the time.”

After high school, Garrett started out his college days at the University of Alabama before quickly returning home.

“I started out at Alabama but I decided I was better off at home,” Garrett said with a smile. “I got my master’s in business administration and my bachelor’s in accounting at Troy (University).”

After college, Garrett started out as an accountant but it wasn’t long before he was right back at his father’s grocery store.

“I went off to Enterprise for a couple of weeks (working at a firm) and decided I did not want to be an accountant,” Garrett emphasized. “It took me just a couple of weeks and I was good on that. I stared at a wall in an office with a couple of people beside me and thought, ‘Naw, this isn’t for me.’”

Garrett and his wife, Jennifer, eventually purchased the former Winn Dixie and Pick N Save location in Troy, now another Piggly Wiggly.

“After I came back to the business in 1998 I knew I wanted to eventually buy my father out at some point or expand the business in some way,” Garrett said. “My wife and I had the opportunity here to buy this store in 2009 and at the time my father still had the store on Three Notch and my brother had already bought the Brundidge store.”

In 2013, Garrett bought his father’s Piggly Wiggly on the other side of town. Piggly Wiggly is truly a Garrett family tradition that continues on in Pike County. While he owns both Piggly Wigglys in Troy and his brother, Stanley, owns the Piggly Wiggly in Brundidge, Garrett’s sister Denise and her husband Yanni Tempelis also own The Pig Café attached to the store on Three Notch Street.

“It’s unexpected honestly. I never would have thought we would do that,” Garrett said of his family carrying on the Piggy Wiggly legacy. “It’s a good feeling to know that we still kept something that my father built and my mother worked so hard to help him build. It’s a really good feeling to keep that going.”

Garrett and his wife aren’t just satisfied with being business owners in Troy, though, as one of their favorite things about having the stores is being able to help out in the community.

“We do a lot of odds and ends helping people. My wife handles a lot of that stuff,” Garrett said. “We do try to do little fundraisers for people bagging and trying to give to any project that we can. It’s good to give back to the community and it’s good to be a part of the community.

“For us, it means everything to be able to give back. That’s really what keeps us going. When we have times like we’ve had in the past three years, it’s a good feeling knowing that the community gives back to you and you’re a part of something and you’re able to give back to the community.”

Garrett said that the connection with the community is primarily what drew him back to the grocery business, rather than being an accountant.

“Honestly, I think one of the big reasons I did not work well as a CPA, in my attempt to be an accountant, is I wasn’t around people,” he flatly said. “I need to be around people. It’s just one of those things, it’s good to be able to walk out there and talk to a dozen people before I walk back to my office.

“I see those same people all the time and if they need something or are looking for something, we can be there. Anytime someone has a problem finding things, a lot of times I can do that.”

Garrett said that connection with the community is most enjoyable during the holidays.

“What I enjoy most is being able to get out, especially around the holidays,” he said. “A lot of times I’ll leave my work that I have to do just so I can get out there and be on the floor and see people during the holidays. It’s a good feeling to be around so many people that you know and that have supported you over the years.”