Ingles Markets - A Company Profile
Bob Ingle opened the first Ingles supermarket in Asheville, North Carolina in 1963. 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 southeastern states with annual sales of almost $2 billion.
Early on, Ingles implemented a successful strategy of real estate investment in the communities it served, often owning the real estate on which its stores are located. Ingles today owns two-thirds of the real estate on which it operates. Ingles operates 76 neighborhood shopping centers (all but 17 of which contain an Ingles supermarket). Additionally, one third of its stores are freestanding stores owned by the Company.
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.
In 1982, Ingles found a strategic partner by purchasing a milk processing facility. Milkco, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, not only supplies Ingles stores with the freshest dairy products, fruit juices and bottled waters, but also sells two thirds of its products to other retailers, wholesalers and food service distributors. Annual production at Milkco has grown from 5 million gallons in 1982 to over 55 million gallons in 2002.
In 1987, the Company became publicly traded on the Nasdaq Stock Markets’s National Market under the symbol IMKTA.
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.
The same customer focus and commitment to quality and convenience on which Bob Ingle founded the business in 1963, continues today throughout the organization.
Ingles Markets - Distribution Division
Distribution Division Strategically located adjacent to Interstate 40 and in close proximity of Interstate 26, the company's highly efficient warehouse and distribution enter is within 250 miles of each one of Ingles' 200+ retail stores. This 780,000-sq. ft. facility houses both grocery and perishable operations. Twelve state-of-the-art banana ripening rooms are just one example of the Distribution Division's commitment to continued technological progression.
The warehouse typically stores in excess of 40,000 pallets of product, efficiently processing two million cases per week, supporting daily delivery schedules even during seasonably heavy supply chain demands. This equates to approximately 65% of the total store needs. Our dedicated work force has risen to the challenge of meeting our goals, today, and as we proceed into the future. Our company standard couples old- fashioned values with progressive vision.
Ingles' transportation department operates a fleet of 110 tractors and 385 trailers, distributing products to every Ingles' retail location. An experienced driving force, expedited by logistical technology for scheduling and routing, provides safe, punctual delivery, seven days a week.
An aggressive 'backhaul' program maximizes fleet utilization on return trips, broadening the spectrum of product movement and virtual self-sufficiency, and represents increases in previously hidden revenue potentials. These protocols equal shelves filled with product and satisfied customers, a formula that balances with a steady financial gain as we drive into the future.
Ingles Markets operates, as a wholly-owned subsidiary, a milk processing and packaging plant which it purchased from Sealtest in 1982. Annual production at Milkco has grown from 5 million gallons in 1982 to 53 million gallons in 2001. In addition to providing most of the fluid milk needs of the Ingles stores, Milkco also provides dairy, citrus, tea, ice cream mix and bottled water to food service distributors, grocery warehouses, and independent specialty retailers in 10 states. These outside customers represent approximately 67% of its total business.
Milkco is one of the few dairy operations in the U.S. which packages 100% of its products in recyclable corrugated boxes. (The boxes themselves are made up of 25% recycled material). The corrugated shippers provide additional temperature protection, as well as keeping containers much cleaner during distribution than do conventional plastic cases.
This environmentally-friendly focus is also reflected in energy and water efficiency. A successful pilot-project to reduce milk residue in waste water from equipment cleaning is receiving national attention from other processors. Milkco's pacesetting process control systems not only help production efficiency, but provide additional safeguards for product quality.
All Milkco associates continually keep in mind that product quality and customer satisfaction are the primary goals of the organization.