Commitment to community, commitment to customer

2012-02-19T00:00:00Z Commitment to community, commitment to customer nwitimes.com
February 19, 2012 12:00 am

Ultra Foods is dedicated to retail grocery excellence and more. They are committed to be the recognized leader in the retail grocery business by creating the best shopping experience for their customers. Founded upon the idea of making groceries available to the consumer at the lowest price possible, the Ultra Foods model has thrived for the past 30 years and been adopted across the region.

Andy Raab, vice president at Ultra Foods says that the first location opened 30 years ago in Highland and it was a revolutionary idea for the area. "Ultra Foods was the first store in all of Indiana or Chicagoland to introduce the warehouse format. Back in that time it was pretty rough economically so we decided to try a different concept, which was all about price. We bought our entire product through deals that we bought directly from the manufacturers instead of going through the middle man, we built massive displays and simply cut the cardboard of the box to offer the product inside, and we had customers bag their own groceries. That was our first way to deliver value and lower the cost of operating. It was no frills and we offered as low of a price as possible. We had less variety than today and that's how it started out. To this day we do the best we can to have the lowest price possible," says Raab.

Price, Value, Quality

Ultra Foods provides their customers with the best service, value, and variety, for the high-quality products they expect and deserve, in a clean and friendly environment. "We've evolved to have more variety than probably anyone around and we can do everything a full-service store can do except bag your groceries. Today our biggest strength is variety, good name-brand products, and we have tons of inventory in the store because of our big back rooms and warehouse. We buy in from the manufacturers when they offer it on deal to us and that's how we keep our prices down. A conventional store doesn't do that. They have things on sale that are in the ad, and we have thousands of things that are on sale and we pass the savings on," says Raab.

In addition to an amazing selection of brand-name, quality products at the lowest possible price, Ultra Foods also offers the same full-service departments as other grocery stores. Raab says, "We have everything, from bakery, to meat, produce, and we offer catering in our deli, including cooking seafood. Our bakery cakes are made from scratch in-store for parties and it's not uncommon for us to do 50 to 100 specialty cakes in each store per week. We do everything any full-service grocery store would do, we just do it for less."

 

Commitment to Community

Ultra Foods demonstrates their commitment to the communities they serve by being good neighbors and by encouraging participation in activities that contribute positively to the well being of the community. Raab says, "One of the biggest things we're proud of is we're entrenched in the community. Our store managers are involved in many ways, through their memberships in groups such as the Lions Club, Rotary Club, and Chambers of Commerce, depending on which groups are around each store. We also get involved in other not-for-profit groups that need community support. Last year Ultra Foods gave $500,000 to local schools through our incentive program. Customers turn their receipts in to their school and we give 5% back to that school. For a group our size it's a nice donation."

"We're also involved in all of the churches in our area, we just did a big food drive for the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and donated $50,000 to them; we participated in the yellow ribbon program for military family and raised $30,000 for five weeks to send products overseas such as everyday needs, health items and non-perishable items; and we get involved in Tradewinds, Boys and Girls Clubs, high schools, baseball and softball teams, and boy and girl scouts. Our involvement might be anything as small as a pancake breakfast, or someone has trouble paying a medical bill and the bank is collecting money to support them. We really have no limitation on it and we try to help anyone we can. That's a big difference over our competition. We all live here, we all work here and we want to make sure we get involved. We are big believers that the community spends money with us so we have to give back," Raab says.

Dedication to Employees and Their Families

Ultra Foods is dedicated to creating and maintaining an environment that promotes opportunities for individual employee growth and development. "We have a really good group of staff with loyalty to us. Some people have been with us for over 50 years because they came from the Strack & Van Til side of the business. That's what makes the difference is we have such good people. It's one thing to set corporate policy, it's another thing to follow it. They do what's right for the customer and what's right for the community. We've been really fortunate and they make the difference," Raab says.

The staff at Ultra Foods is empowered to provide their customers with the finest overall shopping experience, today, tomorrow and always. They realize that the success of their company will ultimately rest upon their ability to satisfy the needs and desires of their customers, employees, and the communities they serve.

 

Ultra Foods offers the following locations: 13001 Ashland Ave. in Calumet Park, IL; 3250 W. 87th St. in Chicago; 571 W 14th Street in Chicago Heights, IL; 1212 75th St. in Downers Grove, IL; 7520 Roosevelt Rd. in Forest Park, IL; 7580 Barrington Rd. in Hanover Park, IL; 1590 N Larkin Ave. in Joliet, IL; 1200 N. Kennedy Dr. in Kankakee, IL; 16831 Torrence Ave. in Lansing, IL; 491 E Roosevelt Rd. in Lombard, IL; 501 S. County Farm Rd. in Wheaton, IL;

8401 Indianapolis Blvd. in Highland; and 6110 Broadway in Merrillville.

 

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