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David Wilkinson To Retire As Head Of Strack & Van Til

David Wilkinson

David S. Wilkinson, president and CEO of Highland, Ind.-based Strack and Van Til, plans to retire from the regional 38-store chain on Aug. 5. Wilkinson’s retirement plan was presented to Strack and Van Til’s board of directors earlier this year. Strack and Van Til operates 20 stores, along with 16 Ultra Foods and 2 Town & Country Market locations in Indiana and Illinois.

Wilkinson, 59, has worked at the company for four decades—beginning as a clerk while in his teens, then working through each rung of the management ladder, ultimately achieving the positions of president and CEO in 1998.

“It was never my intention to make a career in the grocery business,” said Wilkinson. “The industry just becomes a part of you. So much has changed over the years but at the heart of it is providing great customer service. That has been a constant.”

Wilkinson has guided the chain through a myriad of changes over the years as trends have come and gone with regularity. However, under his leadership, Strack and Van Til has shown steady growth, according to the company.

“When I took over we had 10 stores producing sales of about $350 million annually,” said Wilkinson. “Today we have 38 stores and are a $1.1 billion chain. I’m very proud of the history of growth over the last 16 years.”

Wilkinson praises employees with whom he has worked, pointing out that several have been a part of the company as long as he has.

“Some of the people I started with are still here today,” he said. “I have enjoyed the experience of working with them tremendously and appreciate their commitment to Strack and Van Til.”

Strack and Van Til is a subsidiary of Central Grocers Inc., the nation’s seventh largest grocery distributor with consolidated annual sales of more than $2 billion. Central Grocers President and CEO Kenneth Nemeth acknowledges the work done by Wilkinson during his career.

“Dave has served his customers, employees and our industry well during his tenure at Strack and Van Til,” Nemeth said. “Central Grocers has enjoyed an outstanding relationship with Dave during his career and we wish him and his wife Donna well in retirement. We thank Dave for the great job he did and growing the company into what it is today.”

No replacement has been named for Wilkinson at this time. Wilkinson intends to stay past his targeted August retirement date if the search for his replacement is not complete by then.

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