BBC: Supermarket pioneer Clarence Saunders a 'true revolutionary'

BBC World Service has an audio interview with supermarket turnaround expert Sir Archie Norman, who is in charge of the Australian chain Coles after rehabbing British chain Asda for sale to Walmart.

Of course, you can't talk about supermarkets without acknowledging Clarence Saunders, Memphis' own inventor of self-service shopping, founder of the Piggly Wiggly chain, and historical cautionary tale. Says the Beeb:

If you want to draw up a list of true revolutionaries, you might include Clarence Saunders of Memphis, Tennessee.

He who took out a patent on October 9, 1917 to re-configure his store so that customers could serve themselves and, as the application put it, "be required to pass a checking and paying station".

Supermarkets have never looked back.


It's true that supermarkets have never looked back from Clarence Saundaers business model, but businessmen like Archie Norman have also pioneered in supermarket success stories. Asda was one of the first supermarkets in the UK to have the self-serving machines.

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  • About Links to Memphis

Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.