In Billie Letts' Oprah-approved novel "Where the Heart Is," when the characters are not at Wal-Mart, they're at the IGA. Most people probably think of the local IGA as simply that, the community store. But IGA is an affiliation of 3,600 stores in a global alliance, and it has more than 1,800 stores in the United States. As a top executive pointed out, IGA has never left the center of the store. "As an independent store, you can't forget about [fresh items]. Our retailers look at the whole ...

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