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.