One of Chicagoland's leading grocery chains, Strack & Van Til operates about 30 supermarkets in and around Chicago and northern Indiana. Stores operate under the banners of Strack & Van Til, Town & Country Food Market, and Ultra Foods. The regional grocery chain offers fresh and packaged foods and has delicatessen and bakery divisions in each of its stores. Its websites offer weekly circulars and coupons, as well as feature recipes, cooking videos, meal planners, and food-related articles. The company is owned by Chicago-based grocery distributor Central Grocers, which also operates supermarkets under the Berkot's and Key Market banners.
Strack & Van Til is facing increased competition from national chains moving into its market, while taking advantage of the woes of smaller ones. While its store count has held relatively steady in recent years, Stack & Van Til in 2012 will open a new 50,000-square-foot store in Cedar Lake, Indiana on the site of a former Wilco County Market. Strack & Van Til acquired the Cedar Lake site, along with two other Wilco Stores in northwest Indiana in 2010. Strack & Van Til, along with local rivals Safeway-owned Dominick's Supermarkets and Jewel-Osco, is facing increased competition from supercenter operator Wal-Mart Stores. Wal-Mart, which had been expanding aggressively in the Chicago suburbs, has begun opening supercenters and smaller Walmart Express stores within the city limits. Its arrival has sparked fierce price competition among area grocers. Other relative newcomers to the Illinois grocery market include Roundy's, and non-traditional grocery chains, such as SuperTarget stores and limited-assortment ALDI. To take on nationwide retailers, Strack & Van Til bands together with other independent stores as members of the Central Grocers cooperative. The combined buying power helps the stores to offer competitive pricing and product selection. – less