Chesterton Tribune



Strongbow Inn in Valpo sold to Hobart based Luke Company

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Proprietors Russ and Nancy Adams announced Monday that their business Strongbow Inn located at 2405 U.S. 30 in Valparaiso is being sold to the Luke Company of Hobart.

The sale is expected to close on Sept. 1, but the transition will start to take place on July 8.

Russ Adams reflected on the Inn’s family history in a meeting with staff today to announce the sale, saying “this is the end of an era and a very bittersweet time for Nancy and me.”

The business has been in hands of founder Bess Thurn’s family for more than 70 years. Strongbow Turkey Farm was started in the 1930’s by Dr. Walter and Bess Thurn (Russ Adams’ grandparents) and named for the Pottawattamie Indian chief who lived on the land with his tribe in the 1800’s.

In 1940, Bess Thurn opened the Strongbow Turkey Inn on U.S. 30 in Valparaiso with 28 seats. Known for the turkey the Thurns raised on the farm across the highway, the first menu included hot and cold turkey and the now-famous Strongbow Turkey Pie.

Adams said that he is proud of what Strongbow has meant to his family Ð with his mother Chuggie and father Chuck running the business from 1951-1993 when Russ and Nancy took over. “We know that Strongbows helped put Valpo on the map,” he said. “Who could have known that a roadside turkey restaurant with live turkeys across the street would become the icon that it is today.”

Over the years, Strongbow has grown to not only a sizeable restaurant but also includes banquet facilities that accommodate up to 500 people.

Strongbow currently employs 130 people.

Adams said the opportunity presented itself and with current economic conditions and increased competition for food and expendable dollars, they made the decision to move on.

“Sometimes when a door unexpectedly opens, you have to see what’s on the other side,” Adams said, adding that he and Nancy had considered selling before but had always held on. “This time the timing was right and we feel very good about the Luke Company’s commitment to continuing the legacy of quality food and service that Strongbow has been known for all these years,” he said. “It had to be the right people.”

Finally Adams said, “Most of all, Nancy and I want to thank our parents, our children, our amazing employees, and most of all our loyal customers. It is hard to say good bye, but we say it with pride for our heritage and legacy, and with humility and gratitude for all that Strongbow has given to us.”


Posted 7/3/2013





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