Celebrating 50 years

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kendra Bolling

Troy’s oldest surviving grocery store is celebrating 50 years of business in 2009.

In a year when the U.S. admitted Alaska and Hawaii into the union, Fidel Castro took over Cuba, Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” was released, Buddy Holly made his last performance, “The Sound of Music” opened on Broadway, “Ben-Hur” celebrated its premiere and Mattel unveiled Barbie, Jack and Grace Ingram officially purchased merchandise from Foster’s Curb Market.

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Thus, Ingrams Curb Market was born in 1959.

In the early 1960s, the Watkins sold the land where the store is located, and the Ingrams purchased it.

“We built the current building in 1966,” said Charlene Jordan, co-manager and the Ingrams’ daughter.

“We remodeled it in 1975 and then again in 1985.”

Over the last 50 years, Jordan said the biggest change in the grocery market is the technology.

“When we first started, we used thick ordering books for the orders,” Jordan said. “We would order and mail it on Monday by 5 p.m., and get the groceries by Wednesday.”

Now, the process is a lot easier, Jordan said.

“Now we order by machine,” she said.

“We’ve always gotten our groceries on Wednesday,” Grace Ingram said.

Another notable technology change is how the cash registers have evolved over time.

Jordan said the store has gone from the old manual style cash registers to the new computerized ones.

“Technology has made things go much more smoothly and saved us a lot of labor,” Jordan said.

In the beginning, every item had to be priced manually, but now managers use the computer. Now, they can use the computer system and change the price at a click of a button.

Technology isn’t the only change over the past 50 years.

Prices have increased over the last years, but Jordan said for the majority of the time prices have been pretty stable with the exception of when Jimmy Carter was president and the current state of the economy.

Item availability is another significant change throughout the years. “Of course, the variety and the number of items available is greater than 50 years ago,” Jordan said.

In the meat department there have been changes, too. “We used to get our meat in full hanging carcasses, but now we get everything is pieces,” Jordan said.

With health regulations in place for food products, Jordan said watching dates has changed a lot.

“We have to watch dates a lot more,” she said.

“I don’t remember anything except milk having dates on it.”

Ingrams has a steady flow of customers, many who have been customers for years, but there are a lot of new customers.

What exactly contributes to the influx of customers? “Our meat department is a big draw,” Jordan said.

For the next 50 years, Ingrams plans to do just what its been doing for the past 50 years.

“Our goal has always been to serve our customers, and make sure our employees are taken care of,” Jordan said.

Ingrams is open Monday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. “We were the first ones to stay open late and the first ones to open on Sunday,” Jordan said.