The Final Days of Strack & Van Til on Elston Avenue, Logan Square
Liz needed to go into JoAnn’s for something, so I decided to stop in for some groceries at Strack & Van Til. On walking towards the door, I noticed the enormous “Closing” sign, and remembered I >had heard that they were closing this location soon.
It’s been three years since we lived in Logan Square, but this was our go-to grocery store. As I understand it, other competitors opened up nearby.
I felt a twinge of sadness, seeing this. I remember the Cub Foods that used to be here prior to Strack, but this was our grocery store – and it felt odd to see it closing.
During the warmer months, this spot is where an employee would sometimes set up a grill and sell hotdogs, brats, and chips to customers. It was a nice thing to experience walking by, and made the whole store feel a little more neighborhood-y.
On walking by, I had this odd thought about the signage. Mostly, that there was some company out there who stayed in business creating going out of business signs like this.
On walking in, the shelves by the front door were all still full (like they normally were). But once you got to the produce area, it was a whole different story.
What used to be the produce area was cordoned off, and all of the shelves were bare.
Looking to the rest of the store, an entire row had been removed. And so this section felt really open and spacious.
Rounding the corner, all of the refrigerated areas were blank. And the seafood/meat section was closed down, as was the deli area.
Peering down each row, I couldn’t help but think back to news reports I’d see on TV. It felt like we were on the brink of a hurricane or blizzard, where everyone has cleared the shelves in fear of an impending storm.
The few refrigerated items left.
Near the exit, there was a goodbye sign with photos of various employees. I stood here a little while, scanning the faces. I recognized a few folks, who waited on me when I was a regular customer. It felt sad to see this.
Outside, I met Liz after she was done and told her what was going on. We then proceeded to walk through the store again, and she had the same reaction I did – amazement, disbelief.
We went up and down the aisles, looking at all the remaining items… and debating buying something because of all the discounts (most things were 30 – 40% off).
We eventually found some tins of cashews, and decided to get those (since they’re usually so expensive). There were a decent number of people waiting in each checkout lane, and things were not moving along that quickly at all.
After waiting more than 5 minutes with little movement (and several people still in front of us), we decided to just leave our items and walk out without buying anything. We tried, but it just wasn’t working out.
Ugh. In hindsight, not the best end to this story. Sorry, Strack.