Highland-based Strack & Van Til may have a buyer. The largest grocery chain in Chicago, Jewel Food Stores Inc., is offering to acquire the 19 remaining Strack & Van Til stores. The proposal is valued at $100 million. Early this month, Strack & Van Till parent Central Grocers Inc. announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after racking up some $225 million in debt. Jewel has over 180 Chicagoland stores, including a few locations in northwest Indiana.
Jewel is owned by Idaho-based Albertsons Companies LLC and is being identified by Central Grocers as a stalking horse buyer in a bankruptcy filing with a court in Delaware. Central Grocers says its distribution center in Illinois would not be part of the possible acquisition by Jewel.
Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report Strack & Van Til has about 4,000 employees currently. A filing in bankruptcy court says the bidder plans to offer employment to "substantially all of the covered employees" as well as begin negotiations with affected labor unions. The chain first started in Highland in 1959.
The deadline for Central Grocers to decide on accepting the bid is June 21. June 14 is the deadline for the company accepting any additional stalking horse bidders.