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Where and when was the first Wilsons supermarket opened in Wilmington?

Si Cantwell

The Wilson’s billboard at the edge of parking lot for Wilson’s grocery store at Monkey Junction, Carolina Beach Road and South College Road. Photo courtesy of the New Hanover County Public Library.

Q. Where and when was the first Wilsons supermarket opened in Wilmington?

A. The first Wilsons Supermarket in Wilmington opened in 1964 on Oleander Drive.

According to a StarNews article written June 23, 1994, the Wilson family sold their 20 stores to Hannaford Bros. Co., a chain based in Maine. The sale price was estimated at $120 million by stock analysts.

The article said the company that would become Wilsons Supermarkets started in the Long Creek community in Pender County in 1919 when Boney Wilson opened a store that sold everything from groceries to gasoline to furniture and fertilizer.

The company opened its second store in 1955 in Burgaw.

By 1994, the 20 stores were scattered from Jacksonville to Mullins, S.C., with sales of $200 million a year.

The headquarters was in Wilmington.

Lanny Wilson, a former member of the state’s Board of Transportation and Boney Wilson’s grandson, joined the family business as a grocery bagger when he was in sixth grade

Laura Wilson, wife of Allen Wilson, made TV commercials for the chain.


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