Chesterton Tribune

 
 

Strack & Van Til to buy WiseWay

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Strack & Van Til is buying WiseWay Supermarkets.

On Tuesday, the two privately held companies jointly announced the acquisition, expected to close in December. Terms of the deal were not released.

WiseWay Supermarkets, headquartered in Merrillville, currently operates eight stores under the names of WiseWay and PayLow in Northwest Indiana, One of the WiseWay stores is located at 1600 Pioneer Trail in Chesterton.

Strack & Van Til, headquartered in Highland, currently operates 30 stores in Northwest Indiana and the Chicago metro area.

WiseWay Supermarkets will continue to operate its Winfield store under the WiseWay banner but its other four WiseWay stores—including the Chesterton one—will be converted to the Strack & Van Til banner and its three PayLow stores to Strack & Van Til’s Ultra banner.

Strack & Van Til will complete the major renovation, right now in progress, of the Valparaiso WiseWay at 2800 Calumet Ave. It will be temporarily closing the Merrillville PayLow for remodeling.

“We are excited about this acquisition and having the WiseWay associates join our family,” Strack & Van Til President David Wilkinson said. “WiseWay is a locally owned company that has been an integral part of the communities they serve.”

Wilkinson told the Chesterton Tribune today that for WiseWay shoppers the transition to new ownership will be mostly seamless. Beginning early in 2013, the old WiseWay stores will be re-branded as Strack & Van Til groceries and the signage will be changed. The selection of products will differ a bit—Wilkinson noted that Strack & Van Til does have a somewhat larger variety—and prices will mirror those in Strack & Van Til’s 30 other stores. There will also be some changes in decor.

But on the whole WiseWay and Strack & Van Til are comparable groceries and “competitive with each other,” Wilkinson said. “There probably won’t be a significant amount of change. WiseWay operates similarly to Strack & Van Til and has similar departments and products.”

Employees—whom WiseWay calls associates—will likewise see “little if any change,” Wilkinson added.

Although the company of Strack & Van Til was formed in 1960, with a grocery at 45th and Cline Ave. in Highland, its co-founders—Ernie Strack and Nick Van Til—had individually operated groceries of their own since the 1920s and ‘30s, Wilkinson said: Strack with a store in Griffith and Van Til with one in Hammond.

Strack & Van Til currently employs around 6,000; WiseWay Supermarkets, around 600.

“I am pleased that Strack & Van Til is acquiring the stores,” WiseWay Supermarkets President Don Weiss said. “Strack’s corporate culture parallels the way we do business. They are a local company that has a commitment to the communities we serve in Northwest Indiana. A major concern of our family was for our associates who have been very loyal to us over the years. Strack & Van Til will be able to provide our associates with greater employment opportunities, job security, and potential for advancement within their larger organization.”

“It has been our joy and privilege to serve Northwest Indiana for three generations over 72 years,” Weiss said on behalf of his family. “We will continue to serve the community with increased interest in our real estate projects, WiseGuys Discount Liquors chain, and our remaining WiseWay in Winfield. We want to thank our many associates, vendors, and customers for the support given to us since my late father, Marvin ‘Mickey’ Weiss, opened a small store in Gary in 1940.”

Both WiseWay Supermarkets and Strack & Van Til are supplied by Central Grocers Inc. of Joliet, Ill.

 

Posted 11/28/2012