Ingles just south of downtown Hendersonville, NC in September 2009.
This all changed when Wal-Mart emerged as a retail superpower. Wal-Mart began replacing their old, tiny stores with their supercenters, and these new stores of course offered a grocery section that rivaled Ingles in both selection and price. At that point, Ingles could no longer rely on tiny stores that looked very dated by the mid-1990's. This is when Ingles took action. At this point, they closed weaker stores and markets while tearing down and rebuilding more successful ones.
Walking in the door, the overhang reminds me of a carnival. The floor goes from this brown linoleum with raised circles to alternating white and green diagonal striped tile.
Left entrance and dairy section. Cheese here describes the color of the whole section as much as what's underneath the sign.
The closure of the older Wal-Marts, however, actually played in the favor of Ingles. The advantage Ingles had in locating in shopping centers with discount stores was that when they closed, they had an opportunity to purchase and tear down the old discount store nobody else wanted and build a new, larger store on that same footprint or in the same shopping center. Otherwise, they went and rebuilt on site, demolishing the existing store and replacing it with a larger modern store. The abandonment of many 80's models of Wal-Mart and the closure of Sky City left many ample opportunities to upgrade their stores in the framework of an existing shopping center, eliminating the cost of grading and building a whole new site.
"Best Meat in Town" was oddly not as prominent in this section. Usually, this was put at a 45 degree angle repeating along the length of the wood overhang, but not in this case.
Of course, the "Green Grocer" made up for that with this very funky style repeating the words over and over. It's so amazing this place was most likely built in the mid-80's in lieu of the 70's, which it looks like. All the ones I knew of like it were built in 1984 and 85.
Of course, this conversion of Ingles to a more modern store format is not entirely completed. While most stores have either been reshaped or left behind, a few classic stores remain in operation. The best preserved specimen is the store at the intersection of US 25 and US 176 in Hendersonville, all pictured here. This store features all of the classic designs inside and out. I took this series of photos to let people see what these now rare stores looked like inside and out.
"Thank you for shopping at ingles". No, thank you for preserving this cool freaking store long enough for me to get these photos.
The bakeries in the original stores were quite small. In the background, a labelscar for "Wine" is visible. Apparently they removed their wine department, but the Innsbruck store still featured a "Wine Cellar" until the last.
This store is ironically one of about 3-4 different Ingles stores in the town. In fact, a recently opened newer model is located only short distance down US 176, and a Harris Teeter is next door! I really wonder how this store makes it with so much market saturation, but I guess this is why this relic has held out so long is because it as more profitable to maintain an older store than to simply abandon it. I wonder if the CVS has anything to do with it, because it is interesting they are still in that shopping center. A new Harris Teeter (correction on Kroger) under construction across the street replacing the existing next door may be the straw that broke the camel's back. The Hendersonville Ingles joins the now-closed Innsbruck Mall store as reflections of Ingles early days and the end of the first generation stores, but luckily a few are still around.
A look at the checkout area. Track lights abound!
The word repetition continues into the small magazine and book area shown as "Reading Center". I wanted a closer picture, but a store employee was standing where I was not able to do so, so you instead see it behind the checkout lines.
Now looking at the adjoining CVS, which I am reasonably assuming opened as Revco. The small CVS sign to the right of the door suggests it covered up the famous Revco medicine jar logo. Revco typically anchored Ingles shopping centers in the 80's.
Lou Corsaro took these last two pics for me back in 2007 of the sign and front of the store. At the time, I did not think I would make it back before the store was gone. Luckily, it held on a little longer for me! Mr. Ingle, please do not change this store!