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Ingles Markets Inc. opened its Henderson County seventh supermarket on Thursday, establishing a beachhead at ground zero of the south gateway grocery war.
The new store, 26,000 square feet bigger than the 35-year-old store it replaces, is upgraded throughout, offering a deli counter and meat department, flower department, pharmacy, hot bar and other prepared foods and a Gas Express. It includes Starbucks, Chopsticks Asian Express, Boar's Head deli meats and Chef's Pizzeria. Hours are 6 a.m.-11 p.m.
The new Ingles competes with Harris-Teeter across Spartanburg Highway and Fresh Market across Greenville Highway and, in the next couple of years, Hendersonville's first Publix, on Greenville Highway at White Street.
The Black Mountain-based grocer strung pennants between light poles, displayed flats of colorful spring flowers at the front doors and offered goody bags during a grand opening. The parking lot was nearly full although a fair number of the people inside were Ingles executives and managers and suppliers.
Ingles replaced the 46,000-square-foot store, one its oldest ones in Henderson County, with the new 72,000-square-foot store that offers extra features beyond the conventional grocery items.
Ingles operates 201 supermarkets in the South, including 70 in North Carolina, 71 in Georgia, 36 in South Carolina, 21 in Tennessee, two in Virginia and one in Alabama. It operates stores on U.S. 64 East Flat Rock, Spartanburg Highway and Asheville Highway, and in Laurel Park, Mills River, Etowah and Fletcher.
"The company’s strategy is to locate its supermarkets primarily in suburban areas, small towns and neighborhood shopping centers," the corporation said in its latest 10-K form filed with the SEC. "The Company remodels, expands and relocates stores in these communities and builds stores in new locations to retain and grow its customer base with an enhanced 'one stop' product offering while retaining a high level of customer service and convenience. Ingles supermarkets offer customers a wide variety of nationally advertised food products, including grocery, meat and dairy products, produce, frozen foods and other perishables, and non-food products. Non-food products include fuel centers, pharmacies, health and beauty care products and general merchandise. The Company also offers quality private label items.