By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Nov 10, 2007 at 5:20 AM

Sendik's Food Market celebrated Halloween this year with the grand opening of its new Franklin location at 5200 W. Rawson Ave., marking the upscale grocer's first store on the southern end of the Milwaukee metropolitan area.

The 62,000-sq.ft. store is an anchor for the Fountains of Franklin development project, a mega mixed-use center consisting of upscale retail and professional offices located directly west of I-94 interchange at Rawson Avenue. Sendik's will eventually be joined by Bank Mutual and DQ Grill & Chill restaurant.

Franklin is the sixth Sendik's location locally owned and independently operated by four generations of Balistreris, with stores already in Whitefish Bay, Wauwatosa, Mequon, Grafton and Elm Grove, which opened on Sept. 5.

Ted Balistreri, who owns Sendik's, along with brothers Nick and Patrick, and sister, Margaret Harris, says 150 new positions were filled to staff the Franklin store.

"We're proud of our quality employees, and were pleased with the quality of applicants who wanted to join the Sendik's family," he says. "We filled both full-time and part-time positions to staff every area of the store."

Coinciding with the Franklin opening, Ted Balistreri also worked with the Betty Brinn Museum to create the Sendik's Food Market exhibit, which debuted to the public on Oct. 25.

The pretend child-sized grocery store, modeled after a real Sendik's Food Market, is now a permanent addition to A Trading Place, the Museum's popular area that helps children learn how a community works.

"We were familiar with the facility because we have young families and knew what a great job they do," says Balistreri of the Betty Brinn Museum. "As a community oriented business, we looked at this as an opportunity to give back to residents of the Milwaukee metropolitan area in a positive way -- helping young children develop skills that will help them succeed in school. What could be better than that?"

The exhibit features role-play and hands-on learning opportunities where children can make-believe they are the customer or the cashier, produce manager, baker, florist, deli worker, stocker or delivery driver.

Activities like this help young children develop a variety of academic and social skills, including basic math, problem solving, financial literacy, early literacy, and fine and gross motor skills.



Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”