Hundreds visited St. Mary Hildebrandt Hall on Thursday afternoon for Strack & Van Til’s Annual Vendor Christmas Party. The tradition, which stretches decades back, features food, raffles, and other fun as Strack & Van Til celebrates the vendors that allow them to faithfully serve Northwest Indiana families.
“Obviously in any successful business you have your employees, managers, and customers that you need to be successful,” said Jeff Strack, President and CEO of Strack & Van Til. “The other essential part of it is our vendor community. They support us 52 weeks a year, letting us compete in product and supply and making sure our stores are serviced well. This is just a small token of appreciation, a way to say thank you because we wouldn’t be successful without them.”
The Vendor Christmas Party started out over 40 years ago as a small gathering in then owner Larry Raab’s basement. Now, hundreds of people representing many of the iconic brands that stock Strack & Van Til’s shelves meet, network, and enjoy the fun catered by the grocer.
“This is outstanding. [Strack & Van Til] is one of the few that do something like this anymore,” said Ken Greenhill, a representative for Turano Baking. “I’ve been a part of the Strack’s family for 36 years now, and there’s nobody better than them in the industry. They treat their vendors like family.”
Strack noted that his team leaned on the support of its vendors more than ever over the last couple of years due to COVID-19.
“Even now, those challenges are continuing and they’re working as hard as they can to help us out,” Strack said. “They’re making sure that our customers are getting the products they want, and we’re thankful for all they do for us. It goes beyond just supporting our business, they also engage with our community outreach programs, organizations, and events. They step-up and help us make a difference in the Region.”
In the spirit of the holidays, the party featured a 50/50 raffle with all proceeds benefiting the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. Attendees were also entered into drawings for door prizes, which ranged from wines, coolers, Apple AirPods, air fryers, and even three 4K HD televisions.
“We ask the vendors for a lot during the year so it’s great to give back like this,” Thomas Steliga, Director of Center Store for Strack & Van Til. “It’s a big partnership, and with COVID still going on and all kinds of other factors, their constant communication with us is so important.”
For more information on Strack & Van Til, as well as the brands and products they carry, visit strackandvantil.com.