Jeff Strack Receives Thomas K. Zaucha Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence

February 26, 2023

NGA bestows prestigious honor upon northwest Indiana independent grocer

Las Vegas, NV –  The National Grocers Association, the trade association representing the independent grocery industry, has presented its Thomas K. Zaucha Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence to Jeff Strack, president and CEO of Indiana-based Strack & Van Til.

The award, sponsored by Mondelēz International Inc., recognizes an independent retailer that demonstrates persistence, vision and creative entrepreneurship.

“Since 2009, NGA has presented this award to independent grocers that embody the characteristics of a true entrepreneur. I’m excited to see Jeff Strack join this impressive list,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “Since becoming president and CEO in 2016, Jeff has strengthened Strack & Van Til with innovative ideas and a resilience that is a hallmark of independent, community grocers across the country. I congratulate Jeff on receiving this award and look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the years to come.”

Founded in 1959, Strack & Van Til began when Ernie Strack and Nick Van Til joined their grocery stores in Northwest Indiana. Now, over 60 years later, Strack & Van Til grocery stores are the backbone of communities throughout northwest Indiana and northeast Illinois.

Not long after Strack was named president and CEO of the grocery chain in 2016, its then-parent company filed for bankruptcy. Strack organized a successful effort to buy his family’s company out of bankruptcy to preserve its local ownership. He has since worked to ensure Strack & Van Til can continue serving its hometown community.

The Thomas K. Zaucha Award, presented by Mondelēz International and named after NGA’s first president and CEO, has been presented annually to recognize an independent grocer that exemplifies persistence, vision and creative entrepreneurship. This award is one of the most prestigious honors awarded to independent grocers.


Additional Media Resources

Click here for a photo of Jeff Strack receiving the award.

The NGA Show has been where independent grocers gather for more than 30 years, connecting supermarket retailers and wholesalers, food manufacturers, and service providers worldwide to share innovative solutions and best practices that support and strengthen the independent supermarket channel. The NGA Show is produced and managed by Clarion Events as part of the Food & Beverage Group in partnership with the National Grocers Association (NGA). For more information and to register, visit

Clarion Events operates over 180 events in 50 countries from 15 offices in the UK, the US, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, UAE, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands. Clarion can trace its roots back to 1947 and takes great pride in being one of the oldest independent event organizers in the UK. The firm has recently developed an international portfolio of brands. It is interested in several global vertical industries, including energy, security, defense, hospitality, electronics, technology, fashion, retail, gaming, and marketing. The teams at Clarion create uniquely effective and stimulating environments that can serve as a platform to build businesses, enhance customer relationships and accelerate product awareness.

The National Grocers Association (NGA) is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating in a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is accountable for about 1.2 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating more than $250 billion in sales, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages, and $36 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers located in every congressional district across the country, as well as state grocers’ associations, manufacturers, and service suppliers. For more information about NGA, visit