Paramount Foods Inc., founded over half a century ago by three enterprising Sampson men who built the brand into four thriving Piggly Wiggly stores, announced Friday that the company will be selling the businesses.
“After careful consideration and strategic market review, Paramount Foods Inc., owner and operator of Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in Clinton and Roseboro, announced today that it will sell its retail supermarket operations to Promise Foods,” a press release stated.
Paramount Foods Inc. has operated stores in Sampson County since December 1963. The company employs 230 associates across its four locations and began informing employees of the sale on Friday. Promise Foods, headquartered in Dunn, is a regional operator of supermarkets in eastern North Carolina and operates 24 Carlie C’s IGA supermarkets in eight different counties.
“In the coming weeks, the company will work closely with its associates to assist them through the transition,” the statement reads. “Promise Foods plans to continue to employ most of the current associates wishing to remain at the locations and give them credit for their service with Paramount Foods. Promise Foods plans to continue to operate as Piggly Wiggly subject to franchise approval.”
Closing and transition is scheduled to take place in April.
The announcement of the sale marks the end of an era for Paramount Foods, which was built from the ground up by brothers Jesse and Elmon Lindsay and Moses King.
From the beginning, the Lindsays knew that they wanted to own their own store. They saved their money and that dream became a reality in December 1963. Together with King, they opened the Piggly Wiggly at the Jordan Shopping Center, the first of several Piggly Wiggly grocery stores they would operate in the area.
The Lindsay brothers were working at the Colonial Store on College Street when businessman Billy Ray Jordan approached them about operating a grocery store.
“I asked if they were interested, told them I knew someone at the Piggly Wiggly stores, so we began talking and about a week later we all met at the Tar Heel Motel,” Jordan recalled in a 2012 Sampson Independent story following Jesse Lindsay’s passing. “The rest is history.”
The Lindsay brothers made the plans to build the first Piggly Wiggly store on land owned by the Jordan family, and would go on to establish two more in Clinton — on College Street and in Shamrock Plaza off Sunset Avenue — and another off N.C. 24 in Roseboro.
Jesse Lindsay served as president of Paramount Foods, a position his son Michael now holds, with ownership staying in the family. Lindsay’s death in February 2012 would be followed by brother Elmon’s passing two years later, in February 2014. In the company’s prepared statement, provided by Michael Lindsay, it was noted that the decision to sell was not made in haste.
“Paramount Foods Inc. made a strategic decision to sell these locations only after careful consideration.”
Carlie C. McLamb Jr. serves as president and director of Promise Foods, which is also family owned and has a similar past to that of Paramount. In February 1961, just two months before the Lindsays and King started Paramount, the first of the Carlie C’s stores were opened by Carlie C. and Joyce McLamb — a small country store in Johnston County on Highway 242.
In the decades since the opening of that first country store, Carlie C’s has continued to grow, with the opening of many more stores in several counties across North Carolina.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.