East Chicago native Bill Bach has spent around 37 years in the grocery business. Now a store director at the Strack & Van Til in Munster, Bach attributes his lengthy career in the industry to a love for service.
“The service part of it and knowing that you’re taking care of your customers is probably the biggest thing that’s kept me here,” Bach said. “It’s really exciting to build these huge displays and to watch them sell.”
“Also, to offer a service as far as having the product in stock, people enjoy what you build and what you sell,” he said. “There’s sort of a thrill to the game, I guess.”
Bach grew up in East Chicago where he graduated from Roosevelt High School. It was around that time that he started working as a bagger at a local Thrifty Mart. That Thrifty Mart location ultimately became the Munster Strack & Van Til at which Bach now serves as store director.
“I wish I would’ve started with Strack from the very beginning,” Bach said with a smile. “Personally, they have really taken care of their employees, me being one of them. I would’ve been a lot better off if I would’ve been with them from the beginning!”
“They’re a pleasure to work for and they always have been,” continued Bach. “They’ve taken care of me since I came on with them in 2000 and I’ve been through several stores, and on the Ultra Foods side of things as well.”
Strack & Van Til owns and operates Ultra Foods as well, and, in the mid-2000’s, Bach decided that he wanted to make the switch.
“I asked to go and work on the Ultra side,” Bach said. “I was very interested in working for, what was at the time, the biggest grocery store in Northwest Indiana - Ultra Foods in Highland. That was really exciting for me to get to work there.”
After working in Highland, Bach moved around the region working in three or four different stores before returning to the Munster location in 2008. Since then, Bach has gotten involved in the community with organizations and nonprofits, which is something that Strack & Van Til promotes.
“Another thing about Strack & Van Til is that, as a store director, they want you to get involved in the community,” Bach said.
Bach currently serves as the President of the Munster Rotary Club and Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Munster Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Sandy, were also named 2016 Citizens of the Year by the Munster Chamber of Commerce.
“That was a pretty nice honor,” Bach said. “The Chamber has a committee that picks individuals who qualify for the award and it really comes down to community service, and what you contribute to the Chamber as well. It was nice because my wife does quite a bit and is involved with a lot of the work that I do with the Chamber and in the community.”
The award was in recognition for Bach’s service in the community as well as Sandy’s work in starting the Amanda Forum. The Amanda Forum is a program that strives to prevent and bring awareness of dating and domestic violence. This is a particularly important issue to the Bach’s who named the program in honor of their daughter, Amanda, who was killed in 2011.
The Amanda Forum was started in 2013 and reaches kids through mentoring and educational workshops hosted by adult and student volunteers.
“My experience with Strack & Van Til has just been an awesome one,” said Bach. “They’ve taken care of me and my family through all of our trials and tribulations. They’ve always stood behind me.”