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Strack & Van Til buys last WiseWay Market in Region

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Strack & Van Til is buying the last remaining WiseWay supermarket left in the Region.

The WiseWay chain was once a more prominent local grocer in Northwest Indiana, operating for more than 80 years under three generations of family leadership. But in 2012 it sold seven WiseWay and PayLow stores to Highland-based Strack & Van Til, which absorbed and rebranded them.

Law enforcement officials said modern DNA analysis helped them identify the man responsible for killing three women in the late-1980s while they worked overnight shifts at motels off Interstate 65.

The company, which since has shifted focus to the Wise Guys Discount Liquors chain, maintained a single remaining grocery store at 10839 Randolph St. in Winfield, which recently underwent a major overhaul. 

“I am pleased that Strack & Van Til is acquiring the (Winfield) store. Strack’s corporate culture parallels the way we do business. They are a local company that has a commitment to the communities we serve in Northwest Indiana," WiseWay Supermarkets President Don Weiss said. "A major concern of our family was for our associates who have been very loyal to us over the years. Strack & Van Til will be able to provide our associates with greater employment opportunities, job security and potential for advancement within their larger organization. Foremost in our decision to sell them was their commitment to retain all of our employees with their current compensation or better.”

After more than eight decades of selling groceries in the Region, the Weiss family is moving on to other business ventures.

“It has been our joy and privilege to serve Northwest Indiana for three generations over 82 years," Weiss said. "We will continue to serve the community with increased investment in our apartment projects and Wise Guys Discount Liquors. Concurrently with the closing of this sale we will be starting construction of a 320-unit new community called The Monarch, at 93rd and Taft in Merrillville. Two substantial Wise Guys projects are also planned. We want to thank our many associates, vendors and customers for the support given to us since my late father, Marvin 'Mickey' Weiss, opened a small store in Gary in 1940.”

Both WiseWay and Strack & Van Til are supplied by Associated Wholesale Grocers. Business will continue as normal at WiseWay until the deal closes in May.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Strack & Van Til already operates more than 20 grocery stores across Northwest Indiana, easily making it the largest locally owned homegrown grocery store chain in the Region.

“We are excited about this acquisition and having the WiseWay associates join our family," Strack & Van Til CEO Jeff Strack said. "WiseWay is a locally owned company that has been an integral part of the communities they serve.”

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Business Reporter

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.

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