Friday, July 7, 2006


Ingles: the Asheville chain that still provides us a halfway local option for grocery stores in the Atlanta area...and a hell of a lot better prices than Kroger or Publix. Big Star, Winn-Dixie, A&P, Food Giant and Cub Foods are all long since history around here, but one survives: the chain that owns that little mountain town we Atlanta folks love to go to when the air gets crisp and the leaves are pretty.

One thing that I love and is a big part of my childhood memories are those very outlandish stores that they built in the 80's. It was 1985 that Ingles made its big entry into Georgia with its stores that looked straight out of an episode of The Price Is Right. Likewise, they were just as funky on the inside. To me, these actually seemed down home and quite cozy, and they always represented for me a trip to the hills because we stopped at one on the way up. Nearly every small town in North Georgia still has them, and these usually were originally anchored by a Wal-Mart, Sky City or Rose's (more rarely) in the same shopping center. Unfortunately, very few of those original stores still exist and the photos here feature a store that if it is not already closed will be shortly when the new ones opens in Winder where the Sky City was originally.

The Ingles like the ones pictured have either been painted over, demolished and replaced with a new store on the same spot, closed or relocated. Usually these relocatations were in the same shopping center, replacing one of the older and smaller Wal-Marts before they ate the country. One of these original Ingles still exists in Hendersonville, NC (asking anybody to get that pic for me). Included with the Winder photos are a photo of the very retro Ingles at Innsbruck Mall in Asheville and the Ingles roadside sign in Blue Ridge.


  1. INGLES ..... every time I hear that name I long to make a road trip to the mountains.

    Our semi-regular getaway spot is Blue Ridge, and on the way in we always stop at the Ingles in Ellijay to get our sustenance for the cabin.

    I'm glad to know indie chains like Ingles continue to thrive.


  2. Yeah, Ingles is still around in the Central GA area, too, although not as awesomely 70's. I know that there are Ingles stores in Forsyth and Jackson, that are both doing just fine, and I'm pretty sure there's one in Locust Grove; basically they're doing the Dairy Queen model - move into small towns that previously only had a Piggly Wiggly or a local store, set up shop, run the local guys out.


  3. The key to Ingles success is to build away from the competition. They like building either on the outskirts of town or in the middle of the city or in small towns that don't have anything else.

    Unlike many grocery chains, Ingles owns most of their own stores. Many times they rebuilt on or near the original site. Unfortunately, they didn't always do that.

    Upstate SC and Western NC are littered with old "rainbow guts" Ingles. Ingles has no desire to sell them to the competition and nobody else really wants them.

    This one in Anderson, SC has been abandoned for 12 years, although apparently they are planning on redeveloping the site.

  4. There is one operating in Piedmont SC at the entrance to Moonville on 185.