Pete's Fruit Market opens north side location

Bronzeville store is second for Tsitiridis family
Posted at 5:46 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 18:47:16-04

As soon as you walk into Pete's Fruit Market, you'll see baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables.

It's an oasis in the food desert that exists in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Milwaukee's north side.

Especially for residents like Sabrina Brown, who lives just two blocks away, but often has to travel five miles to buy produce.

"I'm glad they brought something like this for our community," she said. "It was much needed and now it's going to make our community better."

The store is family owned and operated. It's the second Milwaukee location for owner Pete Tsitiridis, who immigrated to America from Greece when he was 16 years old.

His four children now help run the stores.

"It was a need for them," said Martha Tsitiridis, Pete's Daughter. "To provide actual produce, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and that is our passion, that's my dad's passion."

The store was originally set to open in the spring, but the family says they had a few issues during construction to work out.

They started hiring employees in February who have been training at the first location on the south side until now.

"We're just very happy to be here, very happy to be with this community," said Francesca Asiuras, Pete's daughter. "They so far have opened their arms to us."

The City of Milwaukee also helped the location open. The family says they received a low interest loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation.

The store's location at the corner of North Avenue and Doctor M.L.K. Drive used to house a Walgreens. After that closed in 2013, a Dollar Tree location tried to move in but the surrounding neighborhoods fought against that idea, wanting a grocery store instead.

Ald. Milele A. Coggs, who represents the district where Pete's is located, says very few grocers were interested in opening at the north side location, until the city contacted Pete's.

Pete Tsitiridis said Thursday during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the store that he opened his first location 25 years ago. He started with just an open-air market under a tent.

The family hope their second location will become a vital part of the Bronzeville community.

"I will be forever grateful to the City of Milwaukee," said Tsitiridis. "I love City of Milwaukee."

Right now, the store employs about 30 people. The family says they are committed to hiring employees from the surrounding neighborhoods.