By Dan McGowan, Inside Indiana Business
The Illinois co-op that owns Strack & Van Til is planning to sell 22 of the Highland-based chain’s stores. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the deal with a yet-to-be-identified buyer also includes closing nine of Strack & Van Til’s Ultra Foods branded discount supermarkets.
The 22 Stracks stores are slated to stay open under the new owner. The announcement follows word last month that five stores would be closing. The batch of stores expected to close as a result of the transaction include Ultra locations in Illinois and northwest Indiana: Gary, Merrillville, Lansing, Crestwood, Wheaton, Joliet, Chicago Heights, Calumet Park and Forest Park.
In a statement obtained by The Times, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Strack said “while we don’t yet have a signed deal, the proposed transaction calls for 22 stores to be sold as going concerns, which means they would continue to operate and we expect the buyer would offer employment opportunities to most of the stores’ current personnel.” The publication says the number of jobs that will be affected by the Ultra Foods closings is unclear. In a letter to employees quoted by The Times, Strack said “we all know that our associates work hard to create success at their stores, and these decisions are not a reflection of their individual performance, but rather the increasingly difficult environment for independent supermarkets and retailers. I want to assure you that decisions like these are made only after careful evaluation, and we are committed to treating affected employees with dignity and respect.”