Mr. Ingle's background certainly qualified him to know the preferences of shoppers in his territory. A member of a third generation grocery family, he worked in a grocery store started by his grandfather in Asheville, North Carolina where the company headquarters are still located.
His father sold the company in 1956 and young Robert went to the University of Miami. From 1961 to 1963 he was back in the Carolinas working for the chain of Colonial Stores until he secured financing to open his first Ingles store in Asheville in 1963.
The first facility was small, crowded and staffed by Ingle, his wife and a small dedicated group of employees. Competition was fierce, with chains such as Winn-Dixie, A&P and Colonial controlling 93 percent of the area's food sales. Yet Ingle was determined to break in.
He cut prices, extended store hours to include Sundays and holidays, advertised specials, expanded the supermarket, set up mass merchandise displays, offered games, stamps and other promotional items and generally, ran what he called "a circus" in order to get people in the door.
He saw an opportunity to invest in smaller towns and rural communities throughout North and South Carolina that were being underserved by large grocery chains. It was a strategy that proved so successful that expansion into similar communities in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia soon followed. Ingles now operates approximately 200 stores in six south-eastern states.
Ingles strives to provide one-stop shopping convenience to its valued customers. Ingles supermarkets offer customers a wide variety of nationally advertised food products, including grocery, meat and dairy products, produce, frozen foods and other perishables, non-food products, including health and beauty care products and general merchandise, as well as quality private label items. In addition, the Company focuses on customer convenience by selling products to its customers through the development of book sections, media centers, floral departments, bakery departments and prepared foods including delicatessen sections. The Company recently began adding fuel centers, pharmacies and self-checkout at select store locations.
Ingles self-distributes 64% of its stores' merchandise from its distribution center on the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina, where its headquarters is also located. Substantially, all of Ingles stores are located within a 250-mile radius of the distribution center to facilitate its high standards of quality and freshness.
After 40 years, the same customer focus and commitment to quality and convenience on which Bob Ingle founded the business in 1963, continues today throughout the organization.
"Best Meat in Town" means emphasis on quality and service throughout the company's meat department. Beef selections are all USDA Choice Premium and the variety of cuts are more extensive than those offered by most other stores. Meats are plainly labeled with weight, price and grade so that customers can buy to suit their budgets. Meat cutting rooms are glassed in and easily accessible to consumer view.
Laura Lynn Logo
Ingles offers a full variety of brand name products supplemented with Ingles' own Laura Lynn brand products which are equal or superior to National Brands and guaranteed by Ingles Markets. Ingles Private Label products are named after Mr. Ingle's daughter, Laura Lynn Ingle.