Strack & Van Til Grocery Store Closing
Employees can apply for jobs at the chain's other stores; the store's liquidation sale is to begin June 21.
It was not a decision easily made -- the Highland, Ind.-based company has never closed a store in its 53-year history -- but company officials had to admit there was no saving the 2300 Route 59 business, which has struggled since its August 2007 opening, said Strack, who oversees operations.
A combination of factors -- three years of Route 59 construction, a bottomed-out economy and competition from better-known store chains -- all took a toll, he said.
"It's been a challenging store for us to operate," Strack said.
There's no firm closure date other than the end of July; the liquidation sale will begin June 21, he said.
As for the employees, they will given the option of moving to one of the company's 11 Ultra Food stores in Illinois, including the one at 1590 N. Larkin Ave. in Joliet and a new store opening in Crestwood, Strack said. They can also transfer to the Strack & Van Til store in Chicago or to one of 14 in northwest Indiana.
"That's been the most difficult part," Strack said. "We have so many great managers and associates who have worked hard to try to make this a success."
According to a company press release, an Ultra Foods store in Hanover Park is also being closed "due to poor performance."
"(Strack & Van Til) understands the great impact a store closure has on employees, customers and the community," company President Dave Wilkinson said in the release. "We strive to ensure the success of all of our stores; however, it is sometimes necessary to close a store that is not meeting company expectations."
Despite reports that there is a company waiting in the wings to take over the store, Strack said there is no one at this point who has shown any interest in buying or leasing the space.
Because there's no shortage of other food stores on Route 59, it's tough for a new chain to find its footing in a competetive market, Strack said. In addition to two Walmarts and two Targets, both of which sell food, there is also a Dominick's at 950 Brook Forest Ave. (Route 59) in Shorewood and Jewel-Osco stores at 2480 Route 59 in Joliet, 13460 Route 59 in Plainfield and 199 Brook Forest Ave. (Route 59) in Shorewood.