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