Ghost ABC

Storefront of empty ABC store, Asheville NC

It shouldn’t have affected me at all. I never once set foot inside this store in the 2 years I’ve been living just three blocks away from it. I watched with some interest and consternation as its modern death-star-ish replacement went up (four blocks away, opposite my local Hess), blotting out part of the blue ridge skyline from the road. And in fact I recently *went in* to that replacement, which is surprisingly chic in an industrial way, to buy a bottle of fancy bourbon as a present. So I had no reason to feel nostalgic or desolate or indeed to experience any emotion at all.

I learned, when I moved to the neighborhood, that this building was the original Ingles market, the Ur-Ingles from which all others sprang. The Ingles too moved on down the road to the shopping center where it could properly sprawl. All that remains in this vintage building of no great architectural merit are a home furnishings store and a party supply shop. Both seem sort of sad and I have no idea how they stay in business.

Despite my total lack of skin in the game, I nonetheless was awash in melancholy when I made this picture. Part of it is just disappointment that Hendersonville Rd. is so relentlessly commercially ugly and filled with largely uninteresting stores, fast food venues (including a new Bojangles next to the new ABC Store, gah!), and car parts (also new), mattress, or motorcycle vendors.

All pretty ugly, all pretty downscale, all things I have no interest in patronizing. Couldn’t we have had a nice restaurant or a cute local retailer?

Freakin’ Asheville. We save all that good stuff for the tourists and the hipster neighborhoods, I guess.


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