Strack and Van Til Families Band Together to Buy Back Banner's Stores at Auction
- by Robert Schaulis
HIGHLAND, IN – After declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year and fielding a bid from Albertsons banner Jewel-Osco earlier this year, Central Grocers has finally auctioned off its remaining Strack & Van Til stores. In an unexpected turn of events, though, the banner won’t be headed Albertsons’ way. Instead the Strack and Van Til families have pooled their resources to reclaim 20 stores from the banner the families had previously sold to Central Grocers.
“We won! We are getting our stores back!” said Strack & Van Til President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Strack, in an email reported on by the Northwest Indiana Times. "We were qualified as a bidder last Thursday to participate at the auction for the stores and today we were announced as the winner of the auction."
Strack, who already owns 10 percent of the Highland-based supermarket chain, told the news source that the new ownership group would be labeled the Indiana Grocery Group and include the families that owned Strack & Van Til prior to it being sold to Joliet-based grocery cooperative Central Grocers in 1997.
Stack did not disclose the amount of the bid, which included 20 stores and other assets, but Jewel-Osco had already put in an initial bid of $100 million on 19 stores as a stalking horse bidder this May.
Earlier this year, Central Grocer closed 14 Strack & Van Til and Ultra Foods stores and laid off some 1,900 workers.
"The Strack and The Van Til families are excited for the opportunity to continue to serve the communities of NWI as we have for over 80 years," Strack continued. "While this will be a new company, we will continue to have the same connection to NWI as Ernie Strack and Nick Van Til did when they started their partnership years ago. Our associates, vendor partners, and most importantly our customers, are why we continue to work so hard. They are the reasons we are here, and we appreciate them and will work hard for them. When it comes to it—we are Indiana Made."
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