Company Name: Sendiks Food Market

Headquarters: Milwaukee, WI

Company URL:

Leadership: Ted Balistreri

Founders: Tom Balistreri

Founded: 1926

Industry: Food And Beverage

Product Line: Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods,general grocery, meat, pharmacy,produce, seafood, snacks

Annual Sales: $61 million (estimated)

Locations: 14 Locations


In 1926, Tom Balistreri immigrated with his family to Milwaukee from Santa Elia, Sicily. They began selling quality fruits and vegetables in a horse-drawn wagon. It all began on the Northeast side of Milwaukee, where Tom Balistreri seemed to be perfectly content with his horse-drawn wagon for the first few decades of the company. It wasn’t until he expanded to Oakland and Downer Avenue that he realized the potential full potential of Sendik’s. In the 1970s his two sons, Ted and Tom Jr. joined the business and ended up taking over operations in 1975, which is when the store expanded to include groceries, meat, deli, dairy, bakery, and wine and spirits. In 2001, Sendik’s entered into the third generation of family owners when Ted’s sons – Ted, Patrick, and Nick – purchased Tom Jr.’s portion of the company. This portion dealt specifically with the Whitefish Bay store.

With only three locations until 2001, Sendik’s has recently expanded quite rapidly, with locations in Bayside, Elm Grove, Franklin, Germantown, Grafton, Greenfield, Hartland, Mequon, New Berlin, Wauwatosa, West Bend, and Whitefish Bay. The grandchildren of Tom Balistreri have come together to keep the tradition going, by ‘combining quality products with exceptional customer service to offer the best grocery shopping experience, period.’

The name Sendik’s has a story behind it as well, as a new immigrant to America, Tom Balistreri was purchasing a stove for his house. He told the clerk to “send it” to him. The clerk wrote Sendik on the order because of the miscommunication. The delivery person asked some neighbors where to find “Mr. Sendik”, they knew Tom Balistreri was expecting a fridge and pointed him to the right house. The neighbors would never stop calling him Mr. Sendik, and the name stuck for history.

In 2015, Sendik’s expanded to included Sendik’s Express in which customers create an order online through the Sendik’s website, the order is put together by the Sendik’s staff and the customer is able to pick up the products from the local store for a small fee. This service utilizes the Fresh2GO products that are available at the local Sendik’s. Along with Fresh2GO, Sendik’s allows its customers to sign up for a Wine Club which allows them to receive one to two emails a month with extra special wine and spirit deals available to those members. Sendik’s also has a Fan Club that allows members to receive weekly emails include a link to the weekly ad flyer in addition to special deals for Fan Club members.


2015 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Choice Award in Grocery Store Category, 2015 UW-Milwaukee Community Partnership Award, and 2015 Top Work Placed Benefits Award Winner are just a couple of the various awards earned by Sendik’s over the past year. The community aspect has always been important to Sendik’s; it began with Grandpa Tom who was friendly in his neighborhood. Sendik’s prides itself on ‘not only our ultimate customer satisfaction and high-quality products, but also the benefits and opportunities we provide to our associates.’
Sendik’s has continued to strive to be the best place to work at for its employees. Its employee benefits include health, financial, career, and social. With a variety of associate events such as Bowling leagues and Brewers Tailgate events, Sendik’s offers plenty of options for its employers to enjoy being apart of Sendik’s.
Sendik’s is very active in social media, posting on a variety of topics. They’ve also created a Where in the World program that allows customers to email pictures with the red Sendik’s bag from around the world to Sendik’s and they’ll post them on an interactive map on the Sendik’s website.

Take Away

Sendik’s has been around for over 90 years purely because of how well they treat their customers. A new immigrant near the beginning of the twentieth century, Tom Balistreri, came to the United States and started with a small horse-drawn wagon selling fresh fruit and vegetables. When Tom decided it was time for expansion, it went fairly smoothly. When his sons joined the family company, they decided to make a brick and mortar style and have been able to expand throughout southern Wisconsin quite rapidly along with the famous red bags finding themselves around the world.