Patz's Market closes in Hebron

Hebron Post Office.

Tony V. Martin, The Times

The Patz family opened a supermarket in Hebron more than 50 years ago.

Now Patz's Market at 800 Country Square Place — the only supermarket in Hebron — is closing, disappointing many longtime customers.

The owners could not be reached for comment.

Patz's, which opened in 1964, carried a full line of groceries, meat and produce. The small family-owned store just off Main Street was known in the Porter County town of about 3,700 residents for its deli, fried chicken and meat sales.

Online reviewers said as recently as 2014 that it looked deserted with dim light and empty shelves.

It was the only full-service grocery store in Hebron, though the town has a few other retailers with a limited selection such as Dollar General and Casey's General Store. Nearby Kouts has a Save-a-Lot and the Birky Family Farms Country Gourmet.

It's been a rough year for the supermarket industry, both in Northwest Indiana and nationally. Al's Supermarket closed in South Haven. Highland-based Strack & Van Til shuttered nearly half of its stores, including all of its locations in Illinois. It has completely phased out its Ultra Foods brand, converting the last remaining discount store in Merrillville into a Strack & Van Til. The wholesaler Central Grocers, which supplied many local independent grocery stores, dissolved in bankruptcy.

Nationally, Whole Foods, once considered the gold standard of the grocery sector, also ran into headwinds and got bought out by online retail giant Amazon.

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.