Ingles Markets is closing its Tucker location.
Ingles, located at 4400 Hugh Howell Road in Tucker will discontinue operations as of this coming Saturday, July 5th. The Ingles store is located in Tucker Station Shopping Center at the corner of Hugh Howell Road and Lawrenceville Highway. The Ingles store has been a neighborhood staple for years, but has struggled amidst competition from newer and nicer nearby stores such as Kroger and Publix, not to mention Walmart.
Publix opened at The Centre on Hugh Howell in 1996, while both Kroger and Walmart opened in 1999 at the then new Cofer Crossing shopping center around the corner from Ingles on Lawrenceville Highway. The Kroger opening, while technically a relocation, marked the chain's 100th store in Georgia.
While it's definitely sad to see Ingles close, the writing had been on the wall for years. Surprisingly, Ingles did have a way to get me to drive out of my way and to their store. Post Waffle Crisp is not stocked in many local grocery stores, and this Ingles was the closest grocery store that I found carrying Waffle Crisp.
Ingles had been operating with short hours for the past few days, and is not currently honoring any of the chain's advertised prices. A representative at the store told me that perishable items are currently reduced in price, but that non-perishables/dry goods will not be reduced and are instead being transferred to another store.
Ingles Markets (NASDAQ: IMKTA) is headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, and operates about 200 locations in six southern states. The first Ingles opened in Asheville in 1963. After the Tucker closure, Georgia will remain home to the most locations with 74, while North Carolina is a close second at 63. Alabama has just one location. Ingles stores in Georgia are concentrated in smaller markets like Bremen, Jasper and Winder.
I can recall at least one other Ingles closure in the past, which was on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road in Suwanee. This Ingles was far larger, newer and nicer than the Tucker store, but closed a few years ago and is today operated by Super H Mart.
Could this closure open the door to an expanding specialty retailer like Sprouts Farmers Market or Earth Fare? What would you like to see happen to Tucker Station? Will the Captain D's be the next to close? Please share your thoughts below.