IGA No More

News Flash: One of the last bastions of old-school Coeur d'Alene is soon to be no more. The cashier at Sherman IGA told me this morning that they are no longer going to be an IGA. They are going fully independent and are renaming the store "Peterson Family Foods." A modernization and redecoration is in the works. I suppose this is a good thing, but it has been an IGA since the dawn of time, and it will be a little disturbing when the signs come down. As long as the Chester Fried chicken remains intact it'll be OK, I suppose... When I was growing up, my grandmother lived directly behind the store , which was "Spencer's IGA" at the time, I do believe. I spent a lot of time there, annoying cashiers, buying 5 cent candy and getting mucky little fingerprints all over fresh comic books. One of my first memories (I must have been 4...5...6..?) is unintentionally walking out with an unpaid-for pack of gum in my hand, and my mother discovering it and freaking out! Boy, I was in trouble. It was my first lesson about stealing, and she made me march back in that store, tell them what I did, and pay for the gum. I've never even thought about pocketing gum since. Even back then, IGA seemed pretty run down. I have a polaroid snapshot of myself when I was about 4 sitting in some kind of funny-car parked in front of IGA, flanked by two men wearing extremely ghetto big bird and cookie monster costumes. The moment is gone from my actual memory, but the look on my face in the photo says it all: WTF? Who are these wannabes? And that is the appeal of the IGA in a nutshell. It was never a big-shot deal like Albertsons or Safeway. The selection is rather minimal, the prices aren't great, there's no "club cards" or 10 for 10 sales. However, they have basically what you need, and you can get in and out fast with a minimum of drama. Basically it's like a quickie-mart that wants to be a big-box grocery. I'm actually glad to hear they're going fully indie. I think the IGA brand name was starting to bring them down. The place is way past due for a facelift, and I think it will be nice to see what they do with the remodel. The cashier who broke the news to me this morning was also excited to reveal that they were now going to be carrying the full line of "Western Family" products. Ooh, la la! I do think the name "Peterson Family Foods" is maybe a little wordy - it just doesn't roll off the tongue like "IGA" does. I guess we can call it "Peterson's" for short. Or "Pete's." "Honey, I'm going to Pete's for some cheese." In reality, they could paint the place black and silver, hang disco balls and name it "Studio 55", but to me it will always be IGA, and that's how I'll continue to refer to it.

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They can change the name, but it will always be IGA to me.
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