it was the first wiggly in california
Flora’s current space first began life in 1922, when supermarket chain Piggly Wiggly opened its first store in California. At the time, the chain was gaining popularity, expanding at rapid speeds across the country. That’s largely thanks to its self-service shopping concept, which was considered revolutionary. “Among many modern conveniences, the store was the first to provide checkout stands, price mark every item in the store, and use refrigerated cases for produce,” according to Uptown News San Diego. Piggly Wiggly might not be operating in that same space anymore, but it definitely had a lasting impact on the area’s history.
it was originally two buildings,later combined into one
Piggly Wiggly was just one-half of what Flora is now; 1040 7th Ave. was originally two separate buildings, with other businesses operating out of the adjacent property. Many years down the road, the two buildings were combined together. A white truss that runs along the length of the building was installed to make way for a parking structure that briefly housed rental cars. It’s that truss that makes having no interior columns inside Flora a possibility – and the reason why its space is so airy and breezy.
it also once housed a bakery, a jewelry store and an art gallery
Aside from Piggly Wiggly, a flooring company operated in the next-door building. That flooring company then became a bakery dubbed Ferguson’s Bakery, which churned out delicious treats and baked goods from 1938 to 1977. Throughout the years, these two buildings played host to a fabric shop (1950 to 1961), an appliance center (1963 to 1964) and a shoe store (Shelby Shoes, from 1971 to 1977). It wasn’t until 1979 when Benjamin Ed & Sons Inc Wholesale Jewelers moved in that the two buildings became one. In its most recent years prior to Flora, it also served as a beautiful home for an art gallery.