There’s something about a grocery store that can really make a group of Chattanoogans passionate. All one has to do is take a look back at this year’s Trader Joe’s news for proof of that.
But which grocery store chain has the Chattanooga community been pining for, even before Trader Joe’s? Kroger. Don’t just take our word for it — see for yourself:
- On Reddit
- On Facebook
- In our Instagram comments
- And of course, in our inbox: “Why isn’t there a Kroger in Hamilton County, and will we ever get one?” — Reader Mandy B.
So, really, what’s the deal with Kroger? Why don’t we have one, and is there even a possibility that we might someday? We dove into the topic — which, turns out, has a wild history — to get the answers, once and for all.
Closest Kroger stores:
- 365 W Walnut Ave, Dalton, GA | ~45 minutes from downtown
- 1205 N Glenwood Ave, Dalton, GA | ~45 minutes from downtown
Turns out, Chattanooga actually did have a Kroger back in the day — several of them, in fact. There’s a lot of talk about the real reason the grocery chain left town in the late 1980s, but the story can be boiled down to this: In 1989, a local grocery chain called Red Food bought out most of the Kroger stores.
Eventually, Red Foods was bought out by BI-LO, which would later become the Food City chain we still have around today. Now, Chattanooga is the only metropolitan market in Tennessee without a Kroger.
Back in the early 2010s, Kroger considered returning to the Chattanooga area, but ultimately decided that it was “no longer interested in Ringgold, Ga., or anywhere else in the Chattanooga area.”
As for the future?
We reached out to two Kroger division offices — Nashville + Atlanta — to discuss any potential plans to one day return to Chattanooga. Melissa Eads from the Nashville office stated that “at this time Kroger does not have any plans to return to the Chattanooga area.”
But hey, we remember a time when Trader Joe’s was a futile dream, too. 👀