MERRILLVILLE | A new Ultra Foods store featuring a unique modern décor with expanded meat, produce and hot food sections opened Tuesday at 6001 Broadway in Merrillville.
The grand opening for the store will be May 16. Hours are 6 a.m. to midnight daily.
Located in the remodeled 65,000-square-foot former PayLow Foods’ building, the store is the fourth Ultra Foods in Lake County. The others are in Gary, Highland and at 9111 Taft St. in Merrillville. The company previously operated a store diagonally across the street from the 6001 Broadway location.
“We are really excited about opening up this new store,” said Dave Wilkinson, president of parent company Strack & Van Til. “It is a beautiful new look for an Ultra in Northwest Indiana. It’s new. It’s different.”
Strack & Van Til Vice President Andy Raab said the hot food offerings have been expanded “for today’s time-starved consumer.”
“Larry’s legendary chicken and barbecue is something that only we have,” Raab said. “That is a big hit for our consumers. We took it to another degree at this store. We are also really proud that that we do more seafood business than anybody around. We cook it for the customers the way they want it. It is so much cheaper than a restaurant and the quality is as good if not better.”
The Merrillville Ultra has 220 employees with more being hired. Job applicants may apply online at www.ultra-foods.com.
“We are committed to Northwest Indiana with the WiseWay acquisition earlier this year with six additional stores under the Strack and Van Til banner,” Wilkinson said. “We are definitely committed to the market place.”
Strack & Van Til is heavily involved in helping the community, Raab said, including raising money for local food banks including through an annual golf outing Aug. 27 at Cog Hill Country Club in Lemont, Ill., and a fundraising drive during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Raab said the company has donated $255,000 to local schools. Community involvement includes local Boys & Girls Clubs, chambers of commerce and Rotary and Lions Clubs.
“We are definitely committed to Northwest Indiana,” Raab said. “We have the most stores. We all live here. We are locally owned and operated.”
The Strack & Van Til Company encompasses 20 Strack & Van Til stores, two Town & Country stores, and 14 Ultra Food stores in Northwest Indiana and the Chicago area. The new 50,000-square-foot Cedar Lake Strack & Van Til at 9605 Lincoln Plaza is expected to open mid-May.