It all started with quality fruits and vegetables
At the turn of the twentieth century, the Balistreri Family of Santa Elia, Sicily immigrated to the United States and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The family began peddling quality fruits and vegetables by horse drawn wagon on the northeast side of the city and eventually opened fresh produce markets on Oakland and Downer Avenues. In 1949, Thomas Balistreri purchased property and opened a third Sendik’s fruit and vegetable market on Silver Spring Drive in the heart of Whitefish Bay. The store became known for honesty and integrity in treating customers and suppliers with courtesy and respect.
The business flourished. Before long, Tom was joined in the business by his two sons, Ted and Tom Jr. and, in the early 1970’s, the brothers took over the operation. In 1975, the store expanded to include groceries, meat, deli, dairy, bakery, and wine and spirits. During this time of growth the store’s reputation for quality products and customer service grew drawing customers from all over Milwaukee and surrounding communities.
A New Generation of Balistreris
By the turn of the Twenty First Century, a new generation of owners was ready to take their turn at running the business. In 2001, Tom, Jr., sold his interest in the Whitefish Bay Sendik's to Ted’s sons, Ted, Patrick and Nick. The three brothers, along with their sister, Margaret, have continued the expansion of the business and now own and operate the Sendik’s stores in Whitefish Bay, Wauwatosa, Mequon, Grafton, Elm Grove, Franklin, Greenfield, Germantown, New Berlin, West Bend, & Bayside. Together they carry on the tradition set by Grandpa Balistreri of combining quality products with exceptional customer service to offer unparalleled value in the marketplace.
What does "sendik" mean?
The name Sendik’s is derived from a simple misunderstanding. As new immigrants to America, the family needed to acquire many household items. While attempting to purchase a stove, Great Grandpa Balistreri, through broken English and a thick Italian accent, asked the sales clerk to “send it” to him. To the salesman, it sounded like Great Grandpa was saying “Sendik” which is the name that was written on the order. When the stove arrived, the delivery person asked some neighbors where he could find “Mr. Sendik.” They pointed him in Great Grandpa’s direction because they knew he was expecting a stove. Great Grandpa became known as Mr. Sendik and the rest is history.
From humble beginnings, the Balistreri family continues to build on the foundation laid down by the founders so long ago. The tradition of providing quality products and exceptional customer service remains the hallmark of Sendik’s Food Markets.