Ultra Foods to close its doors in June

Forest Park location one of nine to be shuttered by parent company

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By Thomas Vogel

Contributing Reporter

Ultra Foods in Forest Park Plaza, 7600 Roosevelt Road, will close, the store's parent company announced April 18.

The grocery store will close around June 18, Derek Kinney, a spokesman for Strack and Van Til, Ultra Foods' owner, said in an email to the Review on April 20.

The store employs 92 workers and, according to Forest Park Village Manager Tim Gillian, brought in $130,000 in sales tax revenue in 2016. The announced closure comes just as Home Owners Bargain Outlet signed a lease for the former Kmart space in the plaza. The mall's owner, Forest Park Plaza LLC, a for-profit entity of Living Word Christian Center, now has another vacancy to fill. 

Gillian said Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone has reached out to Living Word and will work with them to find a new tenant.

"We are working very hard on it," Gillian said. "It will be a team effort."

Kim Clay, spokeswoman for Living Word, indicated it was too early to say when or who might be able to fill the large retail space.

"We just got notice at the end of the day yesterday. We don't want to make an official statement yet," Clay said when reached by phone. "There are conversations happening."

Kinney, Strack and Van Til's spokesman, would not say if the Forest Park store's employees will be offered positions elsewhere or let go.

The Forest Park Ultra Foods is one of nine locations that will shutter, according to a press release by Ultra's owner, Strack and Van Til, a regional grocer headquartered in Northwest Indiana. The nine soon-to-be closed locations are spread across in Northern Indiana and the Chicago area.

Central Grocers, a Joliet-based cooperative, owns Strack and Van Til. As part of those closures, Central Grocers will also sell off 22 other Strack stores. Central Grocers referred a request for comment to a Joele Frank, New York-based communications firm.

Aaron Palash, a Joele Frank spokesman, provided a press release and declined further comment.

"I have nothing to say beyond the release." Palash said when reached by phone April 20.

In the April 18 press release, Jeff Strack, Strack and Van Til's President and CEO said:

"We appreciate the great impact a store closure has on associates, customers, vendors and the community, and our team is committed to minimizing that impact in every way we can."

 

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Bill Dwyer  

Posted: May 1st, 2017 9:29 AM

One can hope. Only went to Ultra once. I like Meijer's.And I'd be happy to paying my retail taxes to FoPa rather than River Forest and Melrose Park. But Meijer's will want a liquor license if they do relocate. The Chicago Tribune reports the Berwyn and Melrose Park stores were "underperforming in terms of sales volume." Both about 90,000 square feet and "are considered smaller-format stores for Meijer, which has been more successful in the Chicago suburbs with its super centers that are typically closer to 200,000 square feet."

Pam Fontana  

Posted: May 1st, 2017 9:23 AM

Bill, Meijer's is also closing their Berwyn store so my guess is they won't relocate just a mile north. But who knows.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: May 1st, 2017 9:03 AM

The Meijer's store in Melrose Park's Winston Plaza will close June 17. Perhaps the company will consider bring it's operation to Forest Park, where there isn't a Jewel store directly across Ninth Avenue?

Therese Walsh Cormack from Forest Park  

Posted: April 25th, 2017 8:06 PM

How about Marianos or Trader Joe's?

Darlene G. Ward  

Posted: April 25th, 2017 4:53 PM

So sad to hear about this. Another store like Meijer is closing in a couple of months.

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