Inside the newest Sendik’s: A hydroponic garden, humidor, popcorn station and more

The 18th Sendik’s Food Market, which opened Wednesday near Milwaukee, features an expanded retail foodservice department as well as other innovative, experiential shopping options from the family-owned grocer.
Co-owner Ted Balistreri at Sendik's Food Markets in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Co-owner Ted Balistreri at Sendik's Food Markets in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, which includes a nearly 10-foot tall hydroponic garden in the produce area. / Photo courtesy: WGB

Family-owned Sendik’s Food Market opened its 18th store Wednesday, a classy, highly experiential store at 1450 Olympia Fields Drive in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, about 35 miles west of Milwaukee. 

Owned by the Balistreri family, Sendik’s has been serving the greater Milwaukee community since 1926, but the newest store includes some interactive offerings not seen at the retailer's other locations.

"We’re so grateful and happy to be here in Oconomowoc," Sendik's Co-Owner Ted Balistreri said during Tuesday's media tour of the store. "From the city officials to our neighbors, they have all been very supportive and they’ve been so welcoming. We can’t wait to open the doors and show them everything."

The 60,000-square-foot grocery store features the grocery chain’s usual items, but includes several new features as well. An almost 10-foot tall in-store hydroponic garden is centered in the produce area. Balistreri said the hope is to use it for the store’s salad bar.

"It's pretty cool," he said. "It takes about four weeks for it to fully mature. We've never tried it before, but we're excited for what it could do."

Expanding its retail foodservice items, the new store will have Sendik's first make-your-own sandwich counter. The store also features an on-site popcorn station that produces cheese, caramel and regular popcorn.

The store includes one of the area’s largest meat and seafood, gourmet cheese, and wine and spirits departments, as well as a humidor for cigars.

Sendik’s staple home department that offers an ever-changing assortment of flowers and arrangements, gifts, home decor, clothing and seasonal items is also at the Oconomowoc location.

Pandemic-related supply chain issues did pop up during the new store's construction. The biggest concern was getting refrigerated cases, Balistreri said, but his team remained "very, very creative and persistent."

“Those are really hard to get right now,” he said. “We had some held in reserve and we were able to scrounge the marketplace to get some others. We ordered them in March for delivery in September and we’re really happy they came.”

The new Sendik’s is part of the Olympia Fields development and will employ 150 people. Co-tenants of the new location will include Planet Fitness and Pet Supplies Plus, Balistreri said.



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