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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Expanding grocery options

Photo by Joseph Schamber
Sendik’s has been serving Marquette’s campus and the surrounding neighborhoods since 2017.

In 2017, Sendik’s Food Market opened a Fresh2Go location on Marquette’s campus providing fresh and convenient options for students and the surrounding community. Prior to this, the USDA had identified a food desert in the neighborhoods North and West of campus. In urban communities like Milwaukee, the USDA defines a food desert as an area in which at least 33% of the population is living more than a mile from a grocery store providing fresh food.

Establishing a grocery store on Marquette’s campus was intended to remedy this issue, but many people believe Sendik’s Fresh2Go was a disappointing choice by the university, complaining that its steep prices keep them from frequenting the store.

It is true that students, particularly juniors and seniors without meal plans, need cheaper stores close to campus to buy from, but much of the hostility towards Sendik’s is underserved.

When the location first opened, the Marquette Wire did an investigation into how prices stacked up against other stores. It found that prices were at least the same or significantly higher than other nearby supermarkets, and my own observations determined this difference has only increased.

I compared Sendik’s prices to Pick ‘n Save on East Lyons Street and Metro Market on Van Buren Street and found only a few items on sale at Sendik’s that were cheaper than the other stores, but other items like milk were significantly more expensive. The cheapest whole milk was priced at $2.99 per half gallon, while at both Pick ’n Save and Metro Market, the cheapest whole milk was $2.99 for a full gallon.

Eggs were also considerably more expensive at Sendik’s where the cheapest eggs available were $3.89 a dozen, while at Pick ‘n Save they were only $1.59 per dozen. Prices for meat products were similar across each store, but Metro Market and Pick ‘n Save had bulk deals that were more economical for customers.

Understandably, this information could make consumers upset with Sendik’s, and I have already heard many people attempt to accuse the grocer of unfairly manipulating prices and taking advantage of the lack of competitors in this area.

However, this is not the case, because prices at Marquette’s Sendik’s are no higher than those charged at other stores across Milwaukee. Instead, this cost can be explained by two key factors.

Firstly, Sendik’s Fresh2Go locations are modeled off convenience stores and are meant to be quick and compact, so the one on Marquette’s campus will not be able to provide the same variety of bulk options and deals that a full-fledged grocer has.

Secondly, Sendik’s Food Market is a smaller private company, while grocery stores Metro Market and Pick ‘n Save are owned by the largest supermarket operator in the United States, Kroger. Sendik’s is not able to compete with the massive cost advantages Kroger can acquire due to the sheer scale of their operation.

For that reason, I believe anger towards Sendik’s is misplaced, and people fail to see the good the store has done for the community. Marquette’s Fresh2Go location acts as a key employer for students and members of the surrounding neighborhoods, and the company has won Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Top Workplace award for 11 consecutive years from 2012 to 2022.

The store has served as a temporary remedy to the lack of fresh food in this area. Individuals facing food insecurity can use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits at the Sendik’s on campus, as well as coupons and rewards programs to aid shoppers on a budget.

Regardless, Sendik’s should not be the only option we have, and it is reasonable to expect some cheaper supermarket options located near our community. Ultimately, it is up to local governments to recognize the need for these options and encourage operators to serve our community. However, we can still do our part by supporting Sendik’s and proving that grocers will be successful in this area.

This story was written by Joseph Schamber. He can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Joseph Schamber
Joseph Schamber, Executive Opinions Editor
Joey Schamber is a sophomore from Downers Grove, Illinois studying journalism and will serve as the Executive Opinions Editor for the 2024-2025 academic year. Outside of the Wire he enjoys cooking, drawing and skateboarding. He is excited to be writing stories and to be active in his community!

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