Word on the street: Publix scouting Asheville


Word on the street is that the a crew from the Publix grocery store chain is scouting Asheville today. The visit comes fresh of Publix breaking ground a couple of months ago on its first North Carolina store in Charlotte.

There are so many questions: Is there a local demand for Publix? Can they cram a Publix on Merrimon Avenue with all the other grocery stores? How many groceries is too many groceries in little ol’ Ashvegas? We’ve wondered out loud before just how long it might be before Publix shows up in Asheville.

BTW, Asheville City Council on Tuesday night approved the plan for a big new fancy Whole Foods store on Tunnel Road. Check.


Jamie January 12, 2014 - 12:26 am

I live in Asheville, Nc moved away from Florida 15 years ago before I moved I worked for Publix and let me tell you that it’s a whole different world compaired to the grocery chains around here!!!! They offer quality products for reasonable prices , friendly service and extremely clean stores. My store manager would stay after closing and help the deli and bakery scrub the floors on his hands and knees. The company truly cares about it’s employees and customers. They go above and beyond any other grocery store I’ve worked for. Moto keep your employees happy your customers will come and bang 22 billion dollar profit. These grocery stores around here need to get the the program or they are going to fall quickly. BRING PUBLIX to Asheville !!!!!

Ed Dalto January 16, 2014 - 4:40 pm

I have lived in Florida just six weeks after a move from Asheville and am really disappointed with both Publix and Winn Dixie in Hobe Sound. The Winn Dixie is marginally better with a cleaner store and better selection. Don’t think Ingles has too much to worry about with the new Publix. Perhaps Publix will start out with a better presentation in Asheville to try to meet the Ingles competition.

Word on the street: Decision could come this week on Publix in Asheville July 30, 2013 - 9:23 pm

[…] reported back in April that Publix was scouting Asheville. That followed the September 2012 news that Publix was planning to open a new store in Charlotte […]

Rumor control: Publix coming to Hendersonville Road in south Asheville May 30, 2013 - 11:27 am

[…] that it planned to move quickly into other parts of North Carolina. And back in April, I heard that Publix was scouting locations in […]

weavervilleman April 29, 2013 - 11:18 am

I stand corrected, you are right. I was thinking that the ingles on the old walmart property was open 24 hrs. They open 7 am to 11 pm. I apologize

Maybe, Maybe Not April 29, 2013 - 10:52 am

Publix subs. That is all.

Fred April 28, 2013 - 12:33 pm

Heard rumors that Harris Teeter pulled the plug on Merrimon Ave. That would leave a nice new building for Publix.

Jason Sandford April 28, 2013 - 2:33 pm

Has construction stopped on the Merrimon site? I haven’t been by in a while.

weavervilleman April 28, 2013 - 8:35 pm

the developer still has harris teeter listed on the property site.

Harry Sax April 27, 2013 - 11:20 pm

I hope they open a hair salon inside the store

North Asheville April 27, 2013 - 5:57 pm

Ingles on Merrimon has excellent selection, good prices (they sure beat out Fresh Market on many of the exact same items), the store is spacious and well organized, and the service is excellent. Don’t understand what the negative comments are about. This is a locally-grown and owned business with deep roots in WNC.

Smytty April 27, 2013 - 7:44 pm

That is the same Ingles I am referring to, as it is the closest to my house.

People who are wowed by Ingles should try shopping in grocery stores in other bigger towns. Cashiers texting their friends during your transaction, non-existent butchers, spoiled produce, mis-priced items on a regular basis etc don’t get a pass from be just because their prices are cheaper than a self-proclaimed gourmet grocery across the street.

NFB April 29, 2013 - 8:26 am

I would not say that I am “wowed” by Ingles by any means, but I have never experienced ANY of the problems you have mentioned. I’m not saying you haven’t, just that my experiences have been different.

Maybe, Maybe Not April 29, 2013 - 10:50 am

This sounds like Oteen Ingles. I stopped shopping there for the noted reasons. I’ve never had a problem and always been impressed at Swannanoa Ingles and Long Shoals Ingles. There’s definitely some inconsistency between stores, which is surprising with them being headquartered here.

Christopher April 26, 2013 - 5:32 pm

Yes! Please bring a Publix (or Wegman’s, Harris Teeter, anything) to Asheville! Show Ingle’s how to properly run a good grocery chain – step it up or run them out.

It’s a complaint I hear from many people, especially those new to the area – paltry grocery selection (no offense, Earth Fare). Some locals & outskirters may act surprised; but trust – there are much more convenient, cleaner and superior grocery alternatives offered in the rest of this country. I’m sure Piggly Wiggly and Sav-Mor seem pretty fancy too if that’s all you’re used to.

It seems like Ingle’s just got lazy and took advantage of their hometown market. Most Ingle’s stores are dirty, understaffed, understocked and often overpriced, with a poor selection (their “local offerings” are sad – go to Earth Fare or GreenLife for local). Plus, the majority of Ingle’s close at 11pm. Why the nicer one on Tunnel closes early, makes no sense. West Asheville is left w/ the tiny, “3rd world” dump on Patton & Leicester.

That level of “quality” may work for previously under-served small towns, as someone mentioned earlier. But, like it or not, Asheville is a different beast, and the expectations for something better are not going away. Reminds me of these crappy small town ISP’s shakin’ in their boots when they learn Google Fiber is moving in. Bring on the competition!

Smytty April 27, 2013 - 11:33 am

This this this. Ingles has paltry produce, high prices, and poor customer service. If there were options that weren’t high-end natural foods or gourmet food, they would never be able to survive in their current state.

Big Al April 27, 2013 - 2:08 pm

This has not been my observation of Ingles, except the store in West Asheville, whose smaller size limits their selection. At every location I have shopped, I have always recieved great service, never noted any lack of cleanliness, and my parents, visiting from RDU, would love to see an Ingles there. I have also spoken to many Ingles employees away from the store and they love working there.

I think most of the criticism of Ingles comes from the anti-capitalist crowd who bash any large corporate institition that isn’t strictly local or cooperatively owned.

NFB April 28, 2013 - 4:49 pm

“I think most of the criticism of Ingles comes from the anti-capitalist crowd who bash any large corporate institition that isn’t strictly local or cooperatively owned.”

But here it comes from people craving a Publix which is even larger than Ingles.

It also seems to come from a lot of people who move here, revel in how they “escaped” Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Raleigh, Los Angeles, etc. who then start griping that we don’t have a Publix, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Nodstrom, or some other chain store that will (however slowly) turn Asheville into the town they claim to be so happy to have escaped from.

weavervilleman April 28, 2013 - 11:37 am

FYI: The ones on Tunnel are open 24 hours. get your facts straight, Christopher.

Maybe, Maybe Not April 29, 2013 - 10:46 am

Um, as far as I know, none of the Ingles here are open 24 hours. I can assure you the one at the Tunnel isn’t, as I had to wait until 07:03 this morning to run in and buy something this morning.

weavervilleman April 29, 2013 - 11:19 am

The weaverville and north asheville stores are open 24 hours

NFB April 29, 2013 - 12:02 pm

The Ingles on Merrimon Avenue is open 24 hours and, according to their web site, so are several other stores including the one on Tunnel Road.

Lauren April 25, 2013 - 7:28 am

Bring it, Publix. I’m tired of driving to Greenville for your wonderful service. (and bakery!)

weavervilleman April 26, 2013 - 10:55 pm

spartanburg has publix too

Vlad Emrick April 24, 2013 - 8:39 pm

If Publix enters the market, it won’t be with just one store. There will ultimately be multiple locations. They play to win, and advertise heavily in their markets.

DeeBee April 24, 2013 - 7:49 pm

I LOVE Publix bakery!!! Bring it on! East side, please!!

David April 24, 2013 - 5:54 pm

I heard once the heir to Ingles has thought about selling to Publix, as he wasn’t that into the grocery business

Chris Dahlquist April 24, 2013 - 4:48 pm

I hope they also check out Jackson County. Sylva and surroundings are in desperate need of a decent store.

NFB April 25, 2013 - 6:37 pm

But does Publix tend to serve small towns and rural areas? That’s NOT a rhetorical question, I honestly don’t know.

One thing Ingles does is move into such areas that have not traditionally been served by supermarkets. Places like Franklin, Murphy, Bryson City, Marshall, Burnsville, Newland, Spruce Pine, and even Robbsinville among others, got an Ingles when other supermarkets passed them by because Bob Ingle saw a niche to be served that was created by such vacancy. If the much large Publix were to buy out Ingles, as has been suggested here (and is a rumor that surfaces from time to time) would they continue to serve that niche or see those stores as being more trouble than they are worth?

Harry Sax April 27, 2013 - 11:22 pm

I hope they build a store so big that they need their own zip code. That would take care of the problem

weavervilleman June 3, 2014 - 1:12 am

they look at a regions demographics. if a town is below Publix’ minimal population and household income they will NOT consider that town.

jules April 24, 2013 - 4:22 pm

They have a culture of promoting from within which is why they are not acquiring Harris teeter. Publix current president started with the company as a bag boy, working his way up.. A great company to be part of.

NFB April 24, 2013 - 8:48 pm

” A great company to be part of.”

Unless you are a farm worker:


They also give money to crackpot Alan West:


But we here in Asheville love locally owned businesses that support progressive causes. Except when we don’t.

Jules April 25, 2013 - 4:25 pm

Below me!

NFB April 25, 2013 - 9:45 pm

Nice, articulate, and mature reply.

Big Al April 27, 2013 - 2:12 pm

Sounds like Food Lion: their CEO also started out as a bag boy and they expanded with ruthless efficiency, driving several older chains out of business, but in the 1990s they were criticized for summarily firing junior employees who were just short of being vested in their profit-sharing, which meant their share was redistributed to the remaining (mostly senior) employees. (Reference the Durham Independant.)

weavervilleman June 3, 2014 - 1:14 am

FYI: actually the president of Publix did start out at the bottom. that is why more than 90% of ALL Publix associates began at the bottom and made a GREAT career out of it, they went up in the rankings. They are one of the best companies to work for.

DONT DO IT April 24, 2013 - 4:03 pm


FDR April 24, 2013 - 3:43 pm

Bring it, South Asheville could sure use one especially around Airport Road etc.

Laura April 24, 2013 - 3:34 pm

Went to the one a couple weeks ago in Fort Mill SC because they had a bunch of great sales that week. A young man pulled my cart to the conveyor and unloaded my cart, a lady was ringing me up, another lady was bagging for her, and then the young man pushed my cart out to the car and loaded everything into my cooler and trunk. I’m 41 years old, so I’m not the ‘typical older lady’ that requires such assistance. This is the normal customer service at every Publix (been to plenty in FL and Hilton Head). The meat man was a real sweetheart. Publix will really give Ingles a run for their money. No one has experienced grocery service unless they’ve shopped at a Publix or Wegmans (no chance of them EVER coming to NC, by the way). I can’t wait for the Charlotte store to open in January, but Asheville would be even closer for me (I’m in Morganton).

Dusty April 24, 2013 - 3:18 pm

I would be more than happy to see Publix build somewhere in West AVL. Take the pressure off Merrimon and give us on the westside another local option besides our 3rd world Ingles.

weavervilleman April 24, 2013 - 3:15 pm

they would make ingles quiver thats for sure! They are planning several publix stores, maybe one on most sides of asheville. The one in N. Asheville would probably be in weaverville, but I am just guessing on that.

Chris Power April 24, 2013 - 3:04 pm

Publix is a top-notch grocery chain. I really miss their friendly attitude, good product selection and clean stores! They would make for a good addition to an already crowded Asheville grocery scene.

Tracy July 26, 2013 - 1:07 pm

Moving back to hometown of Asheville. Excited but will miss Publix. Bring Publix to South Asheville!

Post Comment