Time’s up for Port’s lone grocery store

Sanfilippo Sentry set to close this weekend, then work will begin on renovations for new Piggly Wiggly market expected to open later this year

THE SHELVES AT Sanfilippo Sentry on Port Washington’s north side are almost bare, as a lone shopper discovered Monday when she shopped. The store is closing Sunday, and will be replaced later this year by a remodeled Piggly Wiggly. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

It will be the end of an era Sunday when Sanfilippo Sentry in Port Washington closes its doors for the last time.

“If we have anything left, we’ll be open Sunday ... but hopefully we won’t,” Sentry owner Joe Sanfilippo said Monday, noting he originally planned to close on Wednesday instead. 

Port Washington’s only grocery store has been winding down its operations throughout February, with sales peaking this week at 60% off.

“Things are going good,” Sanfilippo said. 

Sanfilippo will retire with the closing of the store, which he and his brother Santo have operated on the city’s north side for 14 years.

The store has been the city’s lone grocery for that time, so last year when Sanfilippo announced his retirement and the fact he would not be renewing his lease, city officials and residents were worried.

The city and SuperValu, Sentry’s supplier, searched unsuccessfully for a new operator for the store for months. 

Then, in late January, Paul Butera — owner of the NorthPort Shopping Center and chairman of Piggly Wiggly Midwest — announced he would open a Piggly Wiggly in the 47,000 square-foot Sentry space.

He said he was looking for a franchise operator, but is committed to opening a corporate store if need be to keep a grocery in the community.

Butera said at the time that after the Sentry store closes, the city will be without a grocer for 90 to 100 days as he renovates the space.

“It’ll be like a brand new store there,” he said, noting it will be a sizeable investment in the center.

Sanfilippo said work on the Piggly Wiggly is progressing.


“They’ve had people in looking at the refrigeration, measuring things,” he said. “It looks like they’ve got a plan going.” 

 That makes it much easier to enter retirement, Sanfilippo said.

 “I’m happy about that. It would be extremely sad if we didn’t have another grocery store coming in,” he said.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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