grocery store bananas

By Dave Russell

Golden Corral. A new Ingles. Bigfoot. No one has reported seeing them on East Main Street, but rumors are a-flying.

Speculation about a new Ingles has especially been hot lately, with multiple sources reporting the Black Mountain based grocery store chain is buying up property near the intersection of East Main Street and Walter Ashe Road.

“Soul Infusion closed,” some point to as evidence. 

“Sylva Tire is closed,” someone mentioned.

“They’re buying up houses behind there,” someone else posts on Facebook.

 “Blossman Gas bought property from the county to move to,” another says.

Ingles might be eyeing property in the area, but there’s no evidence of it yet. 

The Jackson County Graphic Information System doesn’t show it. Nothing pops up in a search of recent property transactions from the Register of Deeds Office.

Jackson County Senior Planner John Jeleniewski hasn’t heard a word, he said.

“We’re usually the first stop when something happens like that because of permitting and site development approval and all that,” he said. “They haven’t called, they haven’t submitted anything.”

Ingles has a pretty good poker face, Jeleniewski said.

“They will not release any information or talk to anybody until they are ready to pull the trigger, and usually at that point they know they can do what they are wanting to do,” he said.

An inquiry to Ingles surprisingly received a prompt response, though there wasn’t much there.

“We are always evaluating opportunities to improve our store base,” Chief Financial Officer Ron Freeman said.

“It can take time to find the best solution, and it’s difficult to decide among worthy projects. For those reasons, we have a policy to not discuss any future store plans until any construction actually begins. Thanks for the support and the inquiry.”

Should a new Ingles come to pass, would it have a gas station, a car wash, a pharmacy and salad bar and all the other amenities that come with what some folks call “Super Ingles?”

And a Starbucks?

Only time will tell.

Rumor (or was it just wishful thinking?) was that a Golden Corral would move into the old Ryan’s Steakhouse building.

Their corporate office has not responded to an inquiry.

No word from Bigfoot, either.