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Strack & Van Til is emerging from the ruins of bankrupt wholesale distributor Central Grocers with a new supplier partner that's expected to make the family-owned nrthwest Indiana retailer more competitive on price and selection.
Jeff Strack, president and CEO of Strack & Van Til and leader of its new parent, Indiana Grocery Group, confirmed to the Northwest Indiana Times that Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) will be taking over for the ill-fated Central Grocers, whose Centrella brand will be leaving store shelves.
"We're very excited about having the backing of a much larger co-op,” Strack told the Times. “With that comes better services they can provide us to help us remain competitive, whether it's on a cost-of -goods nature, marketing and merchandising. They have an extensive array of private labels in different tiers, from a low-end tier to a mainstream to a natural and organic."
AWG reportedly will be supplying many of the other independent grocers in the Chicago area left out in the cold by the demise of Joliet, Ill.-based Central Grocers, which is still seeking to auction off its remaining assets. AWG operates a warehouse just north of the Illinois state line, in Kenosha, Wis. Its brands include Always Save, Best Choice and Clearly Organic.
Strack’s Indiana Grocery Group, which includes members of Strack & Van Til’s founding families, outbid Albertsons-owned Chicago-area leading supermarket chain Jewel-Osco to acquire 20 Strack stores and other assets at a bankruptcy auction.