Ultra Foods Layoffs, Store Closures Coming after Failure to Find Buyer

Terminals and cash registers

Ultra Foods to Lay Off  Employees in Highland, Indiana

Two Ultra Foods store locations are closing after the chain’s parent company, Central Grocers, Inc., failed to find a buyer for the struggling grocery stores. The Joliet, Illinois-based Central Grocers, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, announced that the company will be closing its Ultra Foods supermarkets in Highland, Indiana and Kankakee, Illinois.

The company filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) document with the State of Indiana, stating that the store closures will result in layoffs.

Central Grocers was looking to sell the two grocery stores but failed to find a buyer. The Highland store is closing in September. Following the store closure in Highland, 139 employees will be cut loose.

At the Highland store, 67 clerks, 21 utility clerks, 18 deli/seafood clerks and 10 bakery clerks will be receiving pink slips. Four meat wrappers and three salaried employees are also among the 139 employees being laid off at that location.


Central Grocers was forced into bankruptcy by its creditors in May. The company had $225.0 million in debt, with major claims from General Mills, Inc.The Coca-Cola Co, and Mars Incorporated.

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Central Grocers started shutting down stores that failed to attract buyers. More than 2,000 employees have lost their jobs in the process.

The century-old Central Grocers was organized as a cooperative that owned and supplied grocery chains like Strack & Van Til and Ultra Foods. The company owes its financial woes to stiff competition in the grocery retail industry.

The American retail sector is witnessing an overall downtrend in nearly all sectors—including clothing, household goods, automobile, and grocery. Many retailers have filed for bankruptcy, closed stores, and laid off employees.


 Ultra Foods to lay off 139 workers in Highland,” NWI Times, July 24, 2017.