Located in D.T. Denny's 2nd Add. This warehouse building was custom designed and built in 1926 for Piggley-Wiggley (aka Piggly-Wiggly) Puget Sound Co. Seattle DPD Microfilm Library includes copies of the original architectural plans prepared by <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Seattle architecture firm of Stuart & Wheatley dated March 9, 1926. Stuart & Wheatley may have also designed local Piggly-Wiggly stores. Dudley Stuart is known to designed alterations to this building in 1931 for Safeway Stores, a subsequent owner/tenant.
Piggly Wiggly was the first true self-service type grocery store operation. The firm was founded in 1916, by Charles Saunders at a location in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Memphis, <st1:state w:st="on">Tennessee. The concept was patented by Saunders in 1917 and the Piggly Wiggly Corporation issued franchises to hundreds of grocery retailers for the operation of its stores. Customers at Piggly Wiggly stores entered the store through a turnstile and could walk through the store aisles to view the store products sold in packages and organized into departments. The customers selected merchandise as they continued through along the aisles to a cashier. The specified system of packaging and branding became important to the company and its consumers. Piggly Wiggly was the first to provide checkout stands, price mark every item in the store; and provide shopping carts for customers.
The success of Piggly Wiggly was phenomenal; thus, other independent and chain grocery stores changed to self-service methods in the 1920s and 1930s. At its peak in 1932 the company operated 2,660 stores – including several in <st1:place w:st="on">Puget Sound - and posted annual sales in excess of $180 million. After business improprieties occurred in the 1920s, Saunders lost control of the business and the company was eventually divided into strategic units and sold to regional grocery chains, including Kroger and Safeway.
Grocery store chains became lucrative businesses in the 1920s and 1930s. While the Depression encouraged consolidation and delivery of less expensive food, in general the grocery business thrived and financiers were willing to invest heavily in new stores and new warehouses to support grocery chains.
In 1921, William Louis Avery came to <st1:city w:st="on">Seattle and established the first Piggly Wiggly store in downtown <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Seattle. As the self-service method of shopping became popular, he opened stores in other parts of the city. He remained president and manager of the company until 1925, when Harry A. Ruff took charge here in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Seattle. In the 1920s, Charles Merrill became interested in grocery stores and drove the development of the Safeway chain which originated in southern <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">California. By the end of the 1920s, many west coast grocery store chains, including the MacMarr and Piggly Wiggly chains, had been consolidated into the Safeway system. In 1932, Piggly Wiggly and Safeway stores in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Seattle were consolidated under the direction of John L. Heathcote, District Manager and by 1938 several former Piggly Wiggly stores had became Safeway stores.
In 1937, all or part of the warehouse appears to have been converted to a bakery. By 1939 it was known as the “<st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Safeway <st1:placename w:st="on">bakery <st1:placetype w:st="on">Building” and underwent additional remodeling for that purpose. It was identified as the Wright Baking Co. on 1951 Sanborn Insurance maps. In 1981, it was in use by Rainier Supply Co. In 1996-97 the building (known as the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Fairview <st1:placetype w:st="on">Building) underwent modernization with major upgrades and improvements in order serve as offices and shop area for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research center (FHCRC).
This property was determined not eligible for NRHP – 5/24/2005 (South Lake Union Streetcar EIS). See DAHP database – HPI Report dated 12/15/2004.